The pandemic has impacted so many in our communities, costing people their lives and livelihoods.
Win, lose or draw, football has been one of the few welcome distractions this past year and all of us privileged enough to be involved in the game realise the important role our clubs play in our local communities.
At Maidstone United, our owners are determined to achieve success but quite rightly will not risk the future of the club. We know more than most what can happen if a football club doesn’t live within its means.
That is why this summer we all understood the need to radically reduce our playing and staff budget. We had to operate within a viable budget based on reasonable assumptions for the season.
We, like many other clubs, put our trust in the powers that be to deliver a viable funding package whilst fans were absent. That was the basis on which clubs agreed to start the season. Sadly, as we all now know, that has not happened and so the club has been left with no choice but to furlough all first team players and reduce expenditure to an absolute minimum in order to ensure our survival.
Simply failing to fulfil fixtures may not be a viable option should the clubs vote to continue the season and the league confirms it will sanction clubs who refuse to do so.
As a result, we are now beginning the process of recruiting players who will play at no cost to the club, so that we can put out a team and avoid those fines.
Everyone at the club is devastated that we have been forced to take this step.
Those in decision making positions at the National League and DCMS ought to take a long hard look at themselves.
We now have a situation where the cost to government has increased via furlough, and the sporting integrity of our league is now undoubtedly compromised. Some clubs have said they will be unable to fulfil fixtures at all, others will take similar steps to us, which will inevitably have an impact on the competitiveness of the sides that will be fielded.
As manager of this club, I feel most for my players and staff and of course our fans. We have a great group of lads and I have an incredibly dedicated staff. I’m very sad to say that today’s announcement means that we are not able to retain Terry Harris at this time. Terry has been a crucial part of my team and I sincerely hope circumstances allow him to re-join us in due course.
We have been and continue to be determined to bring success to this club, but we all know that its future survival is of paramount importance.
This situation is not of our club’s making and should never have been allowed to happen but my staff and I will do all we can to ensure the club survives to fight another day.
To our fans, I ask you to stick with us as you’ve done until now. Your support is more important today than perhaps at any time since 1992.