A new football exhibition, which has been a labour of love for lifelong Stones fan John Bunyard, opens at Maidstone Museum today (14 September).
Maidstone: United in Football not only tells the remarkable history of football in the town, it also paints a vivid picture of how the game has been bringing people of diverse backgrounds together for well over a century.
The story of Maidstone football is special.
The town has had a pioneering role in several different aspects of the game. And its football club, as we all know, famously plummeted further than any in history after being ejected from the Football League, yet has since embarked on an extraordinary renaissance.
John, who has been working on the exhibition for some two and a half years, said: “It’s pretty wide-ranging, bringing in the origins of the game, women’s and local-league football, and so on. But, needless to say, it’ll be a feast for every Stones fan!”
The exhibition has exclusive access to a collection of memorabilia compiled by Maidstone United’s former chairman Jim Thompson: a collection that, including its many trophies, mementoes, photographs and cuttings, runs to several thousand items.
Many others of exceptional historical interest are being secured on loan, the highlight perhaps being the Manchester United strip worn by Kent-born David Sadler at the 1968 European Cup final.
Maidstone: United in Football is open from 10am to 5pm on Tuesdays to Sundays from Saturday 14 September to Sunday 27 October, and then on Tuesdays to Saturdays until 18 January. Admission is free of charge.
The exhibition is sponsored by Golding Homes, Gullands Solicitors, iMUSC and Gordon Wallis.
Located on St Faith’s Street, the museum is just a few minutes from the Gallagher Stadium – accessed from Brenchley Gardens, Fremlin Walk or Week Street.