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Stones plan for the day football returns

Maidstone United’s directors are stepping up plans for next season.

Ahead of today’s government announcement, which is expected to outline the next phase of lifting the lockdown, the club‘s owners are working up details to fully reopen the Gallagher Stadium and preparing for a second season in Vanarama National League South.

Oliver Ash and Terry Casey may not know exactly when the new season might start, nor whether restrictions on attendances may be imposed, but after much reflection and debate they have confirmed that next season’s squad will continue to train three mornings a week, under manager Hakan Hayrettin.

They’ve also tasked chief executive Bill Williams to oversee the reopening of the stadium, adhering to the latest government and Football Association guidelines.

Bill said: “After an understandable lull, the hospitality, leisure and sporting sectors are starting to emerge from lockdown and we await further details from the Prime Minister later today.

“That in turn will guide the Football Association and National League as to the next steps in our return. The noises coming from both have been encouraging and we’re on notice for a comeback at relatively short notice.

“Firming up the training arrangements will help Hakan with his recruitment plans and I thank Terry and Oliver for making that decision now. Although it is something of a gamble, sticking with three mornings is a statement of intent and it also makes sense from a business and community perspective as we’re able to continue to host other community teams in our evening schedule.

“The three of us are looking to next season with renewed optimism. We’ve got some work to do with Hak on his return but are confident that with the right recruitment, backed up with a solid under-23 squad, we can come back strongly and be ready for the new campaign.”

Further announcements on players, reopening the stadium, season tickets and more will be made in the coming days and weeks.

  • Look out for a blog from co-owner Terry Casey on budgeting and recruitment in these uncertain times, which will be online later today.