On Saturday two of Jim Ward’s double-winning sides go head-to-head in a benefit match for former club captain Paul Foley.
Ward’s Maidstone side of 2001/02 take on his Ramsgate team from the 1998/99 season. He will be in the Rams dugout on the day, while his brother Danny and club legend Steve Butler take charge of the Stones.
It has taken a lot of phone calls but Ward, who’s also managed at Sittingbourne and Whitstable Town, is delighted with the response from his former players.
Ward said: “The response has been smashing – all the lads couldn’t do enough to help. At the end of the day we all want to raise money for Paul. We’ve got a raffle going on and an auction afterwards. It’ll be great to see all the old faces from the Maidstone days and Ramsgate of course.”
Foley, who also played for both clubs, was diagnosed with a brain stem cell tumour in September 2012. He had six weeks of intensive radiotherapy, followed by two full courses of chemotherapy. Sadly, his condition has deteriorated to the point of severely limited mobility.
He said: “I was a very fortunate manager to have Paul Foley in my team at Ramsgate and then also with Maidstone. He was a consummate professional.
“That double-winning team of Maidstone’s was the start of the club going places. I know there was a lot that went before and also a lot that happened afterwards but we really set the seal and Paul was a major contributor in all that.”
During the Ward era, the Stones were groundsharing at Bourne Park and Jim is looking forward to taking a game at the Gallagher.
He said: “I am really looking forward to coming back to the club and having the chance to manage at the Gallagher. The ground was talked about in my time but unfortunately didn’t happen until much later.
“I wish Jay Saunders and Maidstone all the best. I’ve nothing but admiration for what Jay’s done at Maidstone, he’s done a great job and long may it continue.”