Local rivals share new lease of life (EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW)

Monday 03rd April 2006
www.kentishfootball.co.uk brought you the news late on Friday night that Dartford’s return to the town following their 14-year exile has been put on hold until the “second week in September,” after archaeologists delayed work at Princes Park Stadium.


Building work on the all-covered stadium, which will hold a maximum of 4,100 fans with seating for 750, started on 14th November 2005, and Jeremy Kite, Leader of Dartford Borough Council, admires what Maidstone United chairman Paul Bowden-Brown has done for his club.

Although Dartford Football Club officials are ironing out the terms of their lease at Princes Park, Mr Browden-Brown announced he had signed a 99-year lease from the Ministry of Defence for land off James Whatman Way, where their new stadium will be constructed.  Maidstone Borough Council has loaned the club the money to acquire the site.

However, which of these rivals will have the better stadium is open to debate.

“Princes Park Stadium is for others to judge how it ranks with others and I am not interested in beating other clubs,” said Mr Kite.

“What I am keen to do is to use it as a way of explaining to other clubs that if you’ve got the systems, drive and ambition you can achieve this kind of stuff.

“I’m not into having the best club and thinking its better than Maidstone or better than this or that.  I think what Maidstone are doing is absolutely tremendous, Mr Paul Bowden-Brown has done a tremendous job and you want to shake that guy by the hand.

”It’s not a question that our stadium is better than he’s, it’s a question Kent football needs people like him.

“It’s not about having the best stadium, it’s about giving the best offer to people and encouraging other people to do the same somewhere else.

“I’m not competitive in that way but it’s lovely to think we’re inspiring other clubs to go out and do it.”

But fans of both clubs would, deep down, relish the chance to see both clubs playing each other – hopefully in the Ryman League  – in their home towns.

“It’s great for both sets of fans and I think it’s wonderful,” said Mr Kite.  “It’s not about tribalism.  It’s about the sport bringing people into it and community pride and I wish Maidstone the very best of luck.

“I think they’ve got a tremendous club, I love the design, I love what their doing with the facility and I think it’s going to be a marvellous place to visit – just like Princes Park.”