Monday, 10 June 2013

Building for the future

Maidstone United co-owner Terry Casey
During the close season Oliver, Bill and I have been working hard to make some significant improvements to the stadium. 

We had a limited amount of money that we could spend but we wanted to show that we are listening to our supporters and also demonstrating that we are not going to become complacent about the extraordinary support that we have had in our first season back in the town.

We are also working closely with Jay and, as you can see with the signings we have made, we are not going into the Ryman Premier to simply make up the numbers. As a football club we have the support that cannot be equalled until we look at the attendances in the Conference so we must be looking at involvement in the play-offs at the very least by the end of the 2013/2014 season.

In terms of the building works we have had the usual immense support of our business partners, notably Gallagher Group and Britelite, which have enabled the club to make so many improvements to the ground. We have also had the support of the BTSH committee who have made a substantial contribution to the developments.

Our first requirement was to spend money to satisfy some Ryman league requirements. Next on the list is the addition of another terrace at The Loucas End (town end) which will be installed towards the end of July. All the measures undertaken should increase the capacity to about 2,500 but this is subject to verification.

We need to clear some areas around the pitch and also to add some catering facilities at the Henry Reeves & Co Stand (Springfield end). At the beginning of July we will be laying a tarmac hard standing area on the river side of that terrace which will mean that we can put the six a side goals away during match days and also stand a permanent catering van on the site.

There has been a shortage of toilet facilities and we are installing a toilet block (the same as we already have at the town end) which we be sited between the fire escape steps and the storage building. Fortunately we have installed drainage in that area so there will be a minimum amount of disruption.

We are also creating a further hard standing area in between the changing rooms and the main stand. We have been overwhelmed by the numbers of children who want to have their birthday celebrations at the stadium and this area will accommodate those children and families.

We are also installing a building at the south end to serve as our second bar as we have reached capacity in the Spitfire Lounge and we are aware that many supporters are going elsewhere to have a drink. Our partner and supplier, Shepherd Neame, has recognised the need for further bar facilities and have been highly supportive in the installation of the building.

Finally, we are also installing another building again at the south end that will serve as a club shop. This will not be a permanent shop but will be an improvement on what we have used in the past.

Despite the generosity of the Gallagher Group, Britelite, Shepherd Neame and the BTSH association, these improvements will cost the football club more than £50,000 and whilst I appreciate they will not go far enough for some of our supporters we have to draw a line in the spending somewhere.

We have had the most wonderful season and we are re-investing in the infrastructure and the future of Maidstone United. I know that by continuing to improve the facilities is an investment in the future of the club but we are also aware that we must continue to serve up football that entertains and excites and is successful or the facilities will not be needed.

Thanks for all of your support.

Terry Casey