Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Business end of the season

Terry Casey
We are getting to the business end of the season and also the latter stages of the building of our new stadium.

On the field, which is a lot less stressful than the events concerning the stadium, I feel we have done remarkably well to stay in the hunt for a play-off place. It is a credit to Jay who, despite the cutting of his budget, has managed to keep the players motivated and focused. It is simply in our hands now in that if we win both matches then we make the play offs. I think Bognor will be playing for the title on the last day of the season so it promises to be an exciting day.

Off the field we are making great progress and next week we will be laying the 3G carpet. I read that one of our local councillors reported to a local newspaper that he felt by laying this pitch showed a lack of ambition. While he is of course entitled to his opinion, the fact is that without the 3G surface we would not be able to offer the facility for over fifty hours each week to our community, children’s and disability teams. 

It may be that Maidstone United change the face of lower league football if the FA accept the 3G surface at Conference level. It is ironic that CSKA Moscow can play Real Madrid on this very same surface but Dorchester Town cannot play against East Thurrock in the Conference South.

Our decision to spend more money on the east stand looks as though it will be vindicated as we have almost sold out of the VIP seats earning us much-needed revenue. Advance sales on advertising and season tickets are also very encouraging which will mean that our predicted crowds for next season of 800/1,000 will be an achievable target.

We have made some staff appointments in advance of the opening of the stadium that will make sure that the ground and its’ facilities will be professionally managed which will go some way to making sure that the business opportunities will be successful.

The capacity of the stadium has been reduced by the authorities, which has been a disappointment, but we intend to develop a good relationship with the fire and police departments and demonstrate that we will have the systems and facilities that can cope with larger attendances. Bill, who now regards Gus Poyet as “a close personal friend”, has worked a miracle in getting a Championship side like Brighton and Hove Albion to The Gallagher Stadium and it is clear that we will sell out of the 2,000 tickets that have been allowed. Charlton Athletic have said that they will give us date for a friendly, as they also want to be part of the return of the Stones.

I cannot thank enough those people who continue to express their support both financially and in their efforts behind the scenes for what we are trying to achieve - it means a great deal to Oliver, Bill and myself.