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Page last updated at 14:22 GMT, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 15:22 UK

Stones dealt ground funding blow

Paul Bowden-Brown, Maidstone United chairman
The original Maidstone United FC went out of business in 1992

Maidstone United's hopes of returning to the town from Sittingbourne have received another blow after they failed to secure funding for their new ground.

The Ryman Premier club wanted 1.2m from the Football Association and the Football Foundation to help develop the proposed site at James Whatman Way.

They have now been advised to apply for a stadium improvement grant - which will provide a maximum of 150,000.

But chairman Paul Bowden-Brown said he thinks they will be back home by 2010.

He told BBC Radio Kent he now hopes to get the project off the ground with the grant and help from his main investor Oliver Ash, who is the managing director of a French real estate and investment company.

"It will be a much reduced standard, it won't be third-rate, it'll be what you call do-it-yourself," he said.

I just can't understand why we don't get more support

Paul Bowden-Brown
"It will be done professionally and it will meet all the criteria that's required.

"I'm sure and I hope the supporters will support me because the main thing they want to do is start playing football in Maidstone."

Planning permission for the development on the outskirts of Maidstone town centre was granted in November 2004.

And Bowden-Brown added: "It's very difficult when you see Dartford with their fantastic ground... and you see Canterbury City Council giving a million to Canterbury City Football Club.

"Without Maidstone Borough Council lending us the money to buy the lease we wouldn't be where we are.

"I just can't understand why we don't get more support - not just for the football club, but for sporting things in the area.

"After all we're the county town of Maidstone."

The Stones are currently eighth in the Ryman Premier Division and are through to the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup, where they will face AFC Wimbledon at Bourne Park on 25 October.

see also
BBC Non-League Show
21 Jul 08 |  Non League

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