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Page last updated at 11:51 GMT, Thursday, 4 December 2008

Maidstone United put up for sale

Paul Bowden-Brown, Maidstone United chairman
Bowden-Brown took over Maidstone after the original club folded in 1992

Ryman Premier League side Maidstone United have been put up for sale by chairman Paul Bowden-Brown.

Bowden-Brown bought the club 16 years ago and made it his mission to bring the Stones back to Maidstone from Sittingbourne, where they ground-share.

But the former League club's bid for 1.2m of Football Association money, for a new stadium, was rejected.

Bowden-Brown told BBC Radio Kent: "I don't think this is the beginning of the end but we've got to be sensible."

He added: "All I can say to the supporters is as long as I've got a bit of breath left in my body Maidstone United will still be there and it'll still be fighting.

"Whether it's in a different shape then so be it but Maidstone United Football Club will be there.

The question I ask now is do the people of Maidstone really want a football club back in the town?

Paul Bowden-Brown
Bowden-Brown took over the Stones in 1992 when the original Maidstone United went out of business.

He obtained planning permission for a new development at James Whatman Way, on the outskirts of Maidstone town centre, in 2004.

But the club struggled with financial and legal obstacles and in October the Football Association and the Football Foundation turned down an application for funding.

Bowden-Brown said the current financial climate had forced the decision to sell.

"Reality has had to sink in and I had to take stock of the whole thing, in the last 16 years I've had many kick-backs and I've just jumped back and fought on but this time it didn't happen.

"Maybe it's down to age, maybe it's down to not being too well.

Early interest

"But if this club's to continue on its rise and be secure I ought to give someone the opportunity to take over the reins.

"The credit crunch has hit everybody. Our gates have dropped down, our supporters can only spend a certain amount and if they haven't got it then they can't do it.

"The question I ask now is do the people of Maidstone really want a football club back in the town? I know my supporters do, but does the county town of Maidstone want it?"

Mr Bowden-Brown confirmed their has been some early interest in the club but said shareholders have agreed to fund it on a revised budget until a new owner is found.

"I'm not a millionaire, I never will be a millionaire, I don't want hundreds of thousands for the club, what I want is to secure the club for the future and ensure my investors get their money back," he added.

The Stones - who are sixth in the Ryman Premier - host Heybridge Swifts at Bourne Park on Saturday.

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see also
Stones dealt ground funding blow
15 Oct 08 |  Non League
BBC Non-League Show
21 Jul 08 |  Non League

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