Due to overspending on the playing budget since the beginning of the season, some below-par performances and a 15% drop in attendances, cash-flow is extremely tight, says Maidstone United co-owner Oliver Ash

Thursday 05th March 2020

MAIDSTONE UNITED co-owner Oliver Ash says the club are running at a loss due to a reduction of crowds by 15% following their relegation from the top-flight of non-league football.

John Still and Hakan Hayrettin’s side have slipped down the Vanarama National League South table in recent weeks and are in tenth-place having collected 42 points from their 31 league outings.

The Stones have extended their winless run to four games and suffered a 5-1 thrashing at Weymouth last weekend, leaving the club eight points adrift of the play-offs with 11 games remaining.

“It’s been a difficult week at the club after that disappointing men’s first team result at Weymouth and the nature of the performance,” Ash said in a statement on his blog.

“We have been spending hours and hours with Terry Casey, Bill Williams, John Still and Hakan Hayrettin reflecting on what is currently not right and how we can fix it. Everybody has their view on what to do and we appreciate this. 

“However, we have the responsibility of doing our best to operate the club successfully and put things right when needed. We know we don’t have all the answers but we are working hard.

“The team struggled on Saturday because we were missing at least five key players and because the team endured a five and a half hour coach journey after a closure on the M25, arriving at the stadium less than an hour before kick-off!  All this puts huge pressure on the team. To his credit Hakan made no excuses for all this but I will.”

Maidstone United welcome Welling United on Saturday (15:00), a side that have hit a good run of form under new manager Bradley Quinton, winning five of his first eight league games in charge at Park View Road. 

The Wings have climbed away from a relegation dog-fight and are now in thirteenth-place in the table with 39 points from their 32 league games.

“This week we know the players and coaches will try their damnedest to get the win, recover some self-respect and give something back to the supporters, having said that it will not be easy.

“Welling are in form and we will still be missing several of our key players. It’s up to the others to show some pride and extra effort for the cause.”

Ash revealed in his blog that Maidstone United are not making ends meet this season due to a cut in revenue.

“More generally we are suffering somewhat off the field as well. Due to overspending on the playing budget since the beginning of the season, some below-par performances and a 15% drop in attendances, cash-flow is extremely tight. This reduces our room for manoeuvre,” said Ash.

“As I say repeatedly, we cannot and will not operate like several other clubs in the National League, where owners subsidise annual losses to the tune of between £500,000 and £1,500,000.

“We believe several clubs in National League South also run at a significant deficit. We can’t match that and sometimes it’s frustrating. 

“We budget to spend less than we produce in income. It’s that simple and it will keep the club alive and kicking when others fall by the wayside.

“As stated previously we are still trying to identify possible investors to help the club grow sustainably faster but for the moment we are no further than several preliminary discussions. 

“We are therefore unable to create financial miracles as we toy with ways of improving performances. 

“We are already considering carefully how to operate next season. Clearly there are choices and changes to consider and we hope to make an announcement about all that shortly. 

“In the meantime, all Terry, Bill and I can do is to thank you for your support and please continue to get behind the team whenever you can, even when things are not going the way we all want them to. 

“The club is a great club and it needs you to push behind it.”

Visit Maidstone United’s website: www.maidstoneunited.co.uk