I remember watching numerous Ryman Premier matches wondering when we would field a team that deserved to be playing at that level. It seemed to me that almost every game we played we struggled to dominate or even compete on some occasions.
This season so far, apart from Margate, we have played well enough to justify our position and fully deserve to be where we are in the league. This constitutes real progress on the pitch and Jay and his squad supported by Bill should be congratulated on their achievements.
Because of our position it is inevitable that we are now gazing upward to the possibility of promotion to the Conference South. From what I have watched there is no doubt in my mind that we have the playing squad, the infrastructure and the leadership that could challenge for promotion. Oliver, Bill and I are already looking at the requirements for entry into the Conference South.
The most high profile and obvious battle we face is getting the Conference to agree to playing on our 3G surface. The arguments for clubs at our level playing on 3G have been eloquently put by Oliver and I feel confident that the work he is doing will eventually win the argument and common sense will prevail.
One of the reasons put by the Conference opposing 3G is that it would create problems for Conference teams gaining promotion to the Football League. Our response is that Conference South clubs like Boreham Wood (average home attendance 208) and Hayes and Yeading (average crowd 180) must be more concerned about survival than getting promotion to the Football league.
Promotion to the Football League would also come at enormous costs for clubs as there is a requirement for a minimum capacity of 5,000 and 500 under cover seats. If Maidstone United achieve promotion to the Conference South we have enough covered seats (the requirement is 250 we have more than 400) but we must increase our minimum capacity to 3,000 with the potential to raise the minimum capacity to 4,000 for further upward progression.
To achieve these increases in capacity we have asked our advisors to look at developing the Loucas End into a three tiered stand that could increase standing and seated capacity. To achieve this ambition will require further substantial amounts of money and whilst it is on our wish list we are not going to abandon our business principals and start trading beyond our means.
We can honestly look into these possibilities because we are the biggest non-league club outside of the Conference and we have a greater following than any club currently in the Conference South or North. We can genuinely consider thoughts of expansion and development as we have the potential to go a lot further up the pyramid.
We will continue to strive to change the face of non-league football with our 3G campaign and we will continue to look to ways that we can maximise the potential of the football club.
If our fantastic support from local businesses and individuals continues then there are no limits to what we can achieve.