8th October, 4.00pm
Maidstone United Football Club is now under new ownership.
Shareholder Oliver Ash and local businessman Terry
Casey took full control of the club today (8 October)
from outgoing chairman Paul Bowden-Brown. They will
own the club 50-50 and direct it as a trio together
with Bill Williams, who becomes chief executive.
Ash and Casey met several months ago and have decided
to work together to ensure the club's survival and long-term
growth, which includes delivering the new stadium by
the end of next year.
The new owners' priority is to bring financial stability
back to the club before taking the challenge to Maidstone's
residents and business community to bring The Stones
home after an absence of more than 20 years.
Ash, who originally bought a 25% stake in the
club in February 2008 and invested £120,000,
said: "It is an honour for me to take charge
at Maidstone United and in particular to do so together
with Terry Casey and Bill Williams. We all share the
same ambition, which is to get the club playing (and
winning) at our own ground as soon as possible.
"At the same time I cannot forget that we are
taking over from Paul Bowden-Brown, who has been totally
dedicated to the club over many years. He has been
synonymous with Maidstone United. "He ensured
its survival when needed and then took it forward
with passion. Now however it's up to us to try and
Casey, who has been a life-long supporter, added:
"I believe strongly that the only way for the
club to survive and prosper is to return to play at
our new ground in Maidstone as quickly as possible.
"To achieve that target the club will, in addition
to our own financial contributions, need to attract
new investment. We are confident we can attract good
people to join us as partners to help make that ambition
The new owners will elaborate on the details of this
project over the next few weeks. Already they are working
on new designs and costings for the ground at James
Whatman Way and acknowledge they will have to pay off
as much inherited debt as possible in order to make
the business a more attractive proposition for new investors.
In the next few weeks, they will produce a business
plan demonstrating how, with a new ground in the town,
the club can be run efficiently and successfully on
and off the field. They will then market this plan to
potential new investors. The objective is to get the
new ground up and running at the latest by the end of
Ash added: "Terry, Bill and I want to
put the club on a solid footing once again. The only
way to achieve this will be to get back playing in
the town. We are confident we will be able to attract
further investment in our project and indeed some
people have already come forward.
"The club is lucky to have fantastic supporters
and we believe the supporters have to get involved
directly in its future. We are intending to reduce
our shareholdings in due course to bring new people
on board, supporters and local business people with
ideas, passion and, of course, some capital. As soon
as possible we must get to a situation where the club's
regular income matches its costs."
With this in mind it is intended to put in place a
new commercial plan to attract partners and sponsors
back to the club and also to increase transparency so
that the club's website becomes a real market-place
Casey added: "It's up to the supporters
to continue to show their support for these initiatives.
We need them to come along in great numbers, not only
when we open the new ground but also now, over the
next few months, when we are still at Ashford and
it remains tough on the field. We are going to have
to invest a lot of money so we need an increase in
support to alleviate and share the burden."
The owners will announce the make-up of an executive
management committee that will be running the club on
a day-to-day basis next week.
Meet the Board of Directors
Oliver Ash, a chartered surveyor and economics graduate
from St Andrews University, is managing director of
Richmond, a private property investment and management
He is also director and shareholder in CA Brive, a
French First Division rugby club, and Goodform Ltd,
a UK sports marketing company with a stadium consultancy
venture in partnership with Wembley.
Oliver has lived and worked in Europe almost ever since,
living in France, Italy and Germany and more recently,
between 2005 and 2008, in Saltwood, Kent, when he first
became involved in Maidstone United.
Terry Casey has a range of business interests, including
land and property development. He has lived and worked
in the county town nearly all of his life.
Terry has been a Maidstone United supporter since he
was a boy. The first Maidstone match he ever watched
was in 1956/57 season which was the club's first ever
game in the Isthmian league. The match at the Athletic
ground was played in front of more than 2,000 people
but we lost 3-2 to a Wycombe Wanderers side that went
on to win the league.
Over the next ten years he watched hundreds of matches
and in the mid-sixties played for the Maidstone United
Youth team and reserves.
Terry is keen to help lead the project to develop a
new ground for Maidstone United in the town.
Bill is vastly experienced in all aspects of business
and football management within the UK and overseas.
He is a former professional footballer with Portsmouth,
West Bromwich Albion and Queens Park Rangers.
Bill has managed professional teams on three continents
registering more than 1,500 games.
He was the general manager of the original Maidstone
United when they gained promotion to the Football League
and has worked as a project manager with CNN in the
States and GKN Sankey in South Africa.