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Bills Bulletin

Bill’s Bulletin: naming names

I’ve always been wary when it comes to naming people. In my end of season notes, I tend to offer a blanket thank you because nine times out of ten, you miss one or two who then could take offence for being missed.

I was recently asked by the KM to name my ‘Greatest Maidstone XI’. That was an interesting task. It was good fun to go back over 40 years, I must have bored Mrs Williams by recounting all my yesteryears – she’s probably heard all the stories several times before!

It’s been interesting to read some of the comments on my selection. And it is just that, my selection. What you look for or see in a player can be polar opposite to someone like me. We’re all wine connoisseurs until we meet someone who actually is!

Our player selection and views will also vary depending on how long we’ve been supporting the Stones. Those who have fond memories from our days at London Road will have players from that time, while those who’ve been with us since the Gallagher Stadium opened will perhaps not even have heard of some of the names I’ve mentioned.

Let me lay down a challenge, while we’re in this latest lockdown. Send me your Greatest Maidstone XI and we will stick a few on the website for others to take a look at. I’ll be amazed if we get two the same.

On the subject of lockdown, we found ourselves with a quiet weekend after the league took the decision to immediately ‘halt’ the North and South divisions for a fortnight.

While I am sure Covid-19 cases, hospitalisations and deaths were a factor, this decision was largely a financial one, or rather a lack of it.

Who said what and when and who knew what and when will be chewed over in the days, weeks and even months ahead. All I know is that there are several clubs, ours included, that are facing significant financial challenges at this time.

We agreed to start the season on the basis that lost gate revenue would be compensated for. That didn’t happen with the grant funding generously offered up by the National Lottery and at the moment, future funding from Government would be in the form of loans rather than grants.

I am sure you will have read the statement that Terry and Oliver put out last Thursday. Our preference was to complete the season but to do so with fair ‘advanced central payments’ from the league, rather than have a loan on our books – a reasonable and pragmatic approach in my opinion.

Let’s not forget that prior to the pandemic, this club was self-financing and had turned a profit for seven consecutive seasons.

We had and will again in the future have a solid business model that supports the men’s first team activities. There are a few hurdles to overcome first.

As it stands, our next match is due to take place a week Saturday, away to Hornchurch in the FA Trophy. That should be followed by a home league match against Dorking Wanderers three days later.

If I had some advice for our league bosses, and to be candid there’s much I could offer, let me say on this one issue, please do your lobbying, get the views from clubs and make a decision one way or the other.

The FA Trophy has continued throughout – despite the leagues below us being suspended – so we can be as confident as we can that this game will go ahead.

If I am a club that’s due to play a league game on the 6th, I want to know sooner rather than later – by the end of this week at the latest – if that is going to happen, so I can prepare my squad and make the necessary arrangements.

This is not a time for kicking the can down the road and I hope a decision will be made in the interests of all member clubs and not just those vying for a place in the Football League or avoiding the trapdoor to North and South.

I will update you later in the week and we will contact our season ticket holders as soon as a clearer picture is available.

Keep well and stay safe.