With the notable exceptions of Bury and Macclesfield Town, very few clubs and their supporters will understand the devastating impact of when a football club goes out of business.
Maidstone United were in that position in 1992. It is not a position the current owners will allow on their watch.
To safeguard the football club’s existence, the directors, with the support of the first team manager, have been left with no option but to furlough contracted players and office staff to prevent the club becoming insolvent.
This was a difficult decision, especially as it impacts lives and livelihoods, but this is the only way of supporting those players and staff in the short term, while protecting the club and all those proud to be associated with it in the long term.
As has been stated previously, the club agreed to start the 2020/21 season after funding reassurances from The National League and the Government-negotiated grant, via Camelot, to compensate for lost gate revenues when supporters were not allowed to return that October.
Due to the way the grant was allocated by The National League’s Board of Directors and with no contingency once the funding finished at the end of December, the club now have a significant revenue shortfall and are not prepared to gamble the future of this much-loved community asset by taking out a loan or mortgaging the stadium. Such action, at a time of continued uncertainty, would merely be a sticking plaster over a deep wound.
Maidstone United’s directors urge National League member clubs who have not voted on the outcome of this turbulent season to do so as a matter of urgency. Every day that ticks down to 28 February is piling more and more pressure on several clubs across the three divisions.
In the event the vote goes in favour of continuing, with sanctions placed on those who cannot through no fault of their own, Maidstone United will look to field a team of non-contract and loan players – all of whom will represent the club for no payment.
The club will contact season ticket holders and sponsors in the coming days to outline options in the event the season continues or is curtailed.
It took years of dedication from loyal supporters and significant investment by the current owners to rebuild Maidstone United on and off the pitch. It is for all those and the generations to come that tough decisions must be made today for the club to be here tomorrow and on into the future.
Chief Executive, Maidstone United FC