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Terry Casey

Directors’ blog: Still grounds for optimism

Stones co-owner Terry Casey on last season and optimism for the forthcoming campaign…

It’s difficult enough when the business you run struggles after so many successful years but when that business is the football team that you support, it makes life almost unbearable.

I know how the fans have felt over the past three years in the National League and although we enjoyed the feeling of relief when we stayed up in the first year, since then life as a supporter of the Stones has been testing at times.

As owners we have felt the financial impact of trying to stay in the National League. In previous years we have carried our profits into the next season and used the money for building works and improving the facilities.

We did, however, make a miscalculation when we increased playing budget by about 20% at the start of the 2018/2019 season. We felt this would guarantee our survival at this very competitive level, help to sustain attendances and see us push on to mid table and maybe even flirt with the playoffs.

The reality, as we now know, was the polar opposite, with a miserable season ending in relegation.

We have learned from our mistakes and will continue to learn.

Our business model will never be in a position to compete with the likes of Salford and Leyton Orient. In previous seasons, we have also been plagued with trying to compete against clubs who have thrown money into a playing squad and inflating the financial expectations of players.

While we are desperate to win matches for ourselves and the supporters it cannot be done at all costs, which would put the club’s long-term stability at risk.

I have absolutely no doubt that John and Hakan will bring the Gallagher back to life and bring a team together that we can be proud of.

The players we have signed so far have all demonstrated the same eagerness to play for Maidstone United, with one of the big reasons for signing being the reputation of the supporters.

I was humbled by the support and kind words I have received and the massive optimism that supporters show despite everything we have had to put up with.

Here’s to 2019/2020 being a season to remember for all the right reasons.