Stones chairman: Next seven days are important for club

Sunday 26th March 2006

Maidstone United – in a two horse race with Beckenham Town for the Kentish Observer League title – are destined to have some good news on two counts this week, writes Stephen McCartney.

Bourne Park, the ground of Southern League Division One East club Sittingbourne, is being inspected by FA officials tomorrow and chairman Paul Bowden-Brown is expected to sign a lease for their new stadium in the county town at James Whatman Way. 

The biggest crowd of the Kentish Observer League campaign gathered at Bourne Park yesterday when 573 witnessed their 1-1 draw against Beckenham Town.

Leroy Huggins, who came off the substitutes bench for 36-goal striker Mo Takaloo, scored on his Maidstone debut with 12 minutes left, having signed from Ryman League neighbours Tonbridge Angels earlier in the week.

Huggins, who played for Beckenham last season, cancelled out Ryan Martin’s 58th minute opener. It is clear with this level of support the Stones should be allowed to play Ryman League football next season, and current Southern League sides Chatham Town, Dartford and Sittingbourne should be allowed to move across to give the Ryman League first division plenty of Kent interest next term. 

Bowden-Brown wrote in his programme notes for yesterday’s top-of-the-table clash: “Well the next seven days are looking as if they are going to be the most important for Maidstone United Football Club since I took over the club some 14 years ago.

“The ground is being re-graded on Monday by the FA after all the minor work was finished, and finally my personal timetable to conclude the signing of the MOD lease is due and comes up during next week.

“The FA Grading and the signing of the lease are totally within my hands and I am confident that we shall meet both.

“This would mean so much for this club especially if we are to progress on our journey home.

“Once again it is only the first step, but a step I have been looking to take for 14 years.”

Although Beckenham Town can reclaim top spot if they win at Erith Town on Monday night – albeit on a superior goal difference as both sides would be on 57 points with five games to play – the Stones can reach the final of the Kentish Observer League Cup on Wednesday.

Lloyd Hume’s men defeated Hythe Town 2-1 at Reachfields Stadium in the first leg and are favourites to reach the final, which will be played at Folkestone Invicta’s Buzzlines Stadium on 29th April against VCD Athletic.

Vickers have also reached the Kent Senior Trophy final, where they'll tackle Tunbridge Wells at Welling United’s Park View Road ground on Sunday, 9th April.

* will be previewing the game between Maidstone United and Hythe Town - as well as covering Wednesday night's game.