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New owners take over Maidstone United

8th October, 4.00pm

Terry Casey, Bill Williams and Oliver Ash

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 rebuild again."

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 a reality."

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 2011.

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 of information.

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

Oliver Ash

Oliver Ash, a chartered surveyor and economics graduate from St Andrews University, is managing director of Richmond, a private property investment and management company.

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

Terry Casey

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 Williams

Bill Williams

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.

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