Stones fans' walk 14 miles to Tonbridge to raise funds for homecoming
MAIDSTONE UNITED supporters are doing all they can to raise money for the club’s new stadium - as they bid to raise over £5,000 by walking 14 miles to Tonbridge on Saturday, writes Stephen McCartney.
Club chairman, Paul Bowden-Brown, appealed last week for support to keep the Ryman Premier League club going and to bring them home to Kent’s county town.
Speaking at the club’s open meeting last Wednesday, at the Orchard Spot, Bearsted, Mr Bowden-Brown said that £32,000 was needed to see the club through to the end of the season - and £740,000 to build the new stadium at James Whatman Way.
“The club is facing a rocky road and although I know it is going to be difficult, if we can all pull together and I can get a bit of financial assistance, I am prepared to keep going until we either get out of this situation or someone else comes along,” Mr Bowden-Brown told www.bringingfootballhome.co.uk.
General manager Bill Williams, meanwhile, outlined plans to launch a major fundraising campaign in February to support club and commercial activity.
“A great deal of work has already taken place behind the scenes on the first two categories - club and commercial activity - but the community aspect is relatively unexplored.” said Mr Williams.
“Yet given the club’s current position and the state of the economic climate, it is the category which we feel could have the greatest impact on fundraising.”
The club have formed a fundraising committee to lead on and oversee the campaign. This will be bolstered by a number of people who put their name forward on the night to assist.”
Supporters have flocked to the fans’ forum at www.smtwtgh.co.uk to discuss ideas to raise money for their beloved club.
And one of them, Richard “Butch” Nott, 37, has organised a group to walk fourteen miles from James Whatman Way to Longmead Stadium, in time of the massive west Kent showdown between arch-rivals, Tonbridge Angels and Maidstone United on Saturday.
LETS BRING THE STONES HOME: Maidstone United need to raise £740,000 to return home - and build the stadium at James Whatman Way
Plans courtesy of www.bringingfootballhome.co.uk
“I was hoping over 20 supporters will be joining us on Saturday,” Nott told www.kentishfootball.co.uk. “This year the sponsor forms have been available from the website www.maidstoneunited.co.uk.
“We will be leaving Whatman Way in Maidstone at 8 o’clock in the morning and walking to Longmead Stadium, Tonbridge and hopefully arriving at the pub on the top of the hill by 12:30, then walking down to the ground by two o'clock.
“This year we are raising money for two causes’ Maidstone United Supporters’ Club and Demelza House, a children’s hospice in Sittingbourne that covers Kent and London for kids. We involved Demelza because I felt we would raise more money.”
Mr Nott feels his beloved club are “dying slowly”, so fellow supporters are doing every thing they can to support their chairman.
“I’m not sure what’s going to happen to the club I love,” he said. “I went to the open meeting last Wednesday, feeling that Maidstone United is dying slowly.
“The chairman now needs our help, but he needs more money than we could ever raise, but we must try.
“When Maidstone United went out of business many years ago, the fans couldn’t do nothing about it, but at least we can try and do something about it (now).
“They have formed a fund raising committee and we will meet on the 19th (January) to start getting things sorted.”
First-team managers, Lloyd Hume and Alan Walker have been forced to release a number of players in recent weeks and supporters that only travel to away games are urged to support the club at Bourne Park, Sittingbourne.
Mr Nott urges all supporters to attend tomorrow night’s Kent Senior Cup Quarter-Final tie against Bromley - and the remaining games at Bourne Park - as that will pay their players’ wages and get the wheels in motion in getting back home.
“As Paul Bowden-Brown said in the media about the fans’ that don’t come to Bourne Park, why give the away teams our money,” he said.
Saturday’s game at Longmead Stadium, between two sides that occupy play-off places in the Ryman Premier League, is a game that all supporters of both clubs must watch - for football and passion both on and off the pitch.
“I do feel we do have a very good away following and we know how to sing and have a good time,” added Mr Nott.
Visit Maidstone United’s websites:
Maidstone United v Bromley
Kent Senior Cup Quarter-Final
Tuesday 13th January 2009
Kick Off 7:45pm
At Bourne Park, Central Park Stadium, Eurolink, Church Road, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10 3SB