It’s time for our next pre-match opposition interview (I assume this match will actually go ahead!). This week it’s the turn of Chris Bechervaise from internet radio station @stoneslive to chat about Maidstone United:
Before we discuss your football team, can you tell us about the Stones Live radio station please?
Stones Live has been going for 10 years and we broadcast live commentaries, news and music shows via the internet. We were one of the first 24/7 club internet radio stations and we have also helped fans at other clubs set up similar radio stations e.g. Chester and Millwall. We are run by volunteer supporters who have a background in professional broadcast radio.
The club have climbed up the non-league pyramid after the original ‘Maidstone United’ went bust in 1992, how gratifying is it to be close to League football again and have the fans always stuck by the club?
After going bust in 92 the original club’s youth team was kept going and had to start 10 levels below the EFL in the Kent County League Div 4. Not surprisingly only about 100 supporters continued to follow the club but by 2004 the club has obtained senior status in the Kent Senior League. But that is when the club had to move grounds and started an 28 year ground sharing period with Sittingbourne and Ashford. There was always a latent support from the EFL days and when we returned to the town at the Gallagher stadium they seem to have reappeared. I started supporting Maidstone when they were in the Conference in 1986 so for me it is now parity and we are back where we belong.
What have been the highlights of the current campaign so far?
Reaching 3rd in the league by mid November which was the highest league position since 1989, and beating Cheltenham 4-2 in the FA Cup.
You have been struggling recently, what’s been going wrong on the pitch and are you confident that results will improve?
Our poor run started with terrible home form and we kept conceding silly goals through errors which cost us dear. We have faith in Jay Saunders as he has brought us here and all the players love playing for him. I believe the squad is strong enough to survive.
Which Stones players should we be looking out for this Saturday?
Alex Finney in defence, Jack Paxman and Jai Reason our midfield maestros, and Lee Worgan in goal.
Have you got the right man in charge and what tactics does he employ?
Yes see above
What’s your views on the current owners, are they ambitious for the future of the club and to achieve promotion into the League?
Yes they are ambitious, but very patient for success. First and foremost they are business men and will only cut their cloth accordingly which fans are pleased about considering the heartache we all went through in 1992.
How good was it to finally have a stadium of your own in the form of the Gallagher Stadium (opened in 2012), and what’s the atmosphere like at home games?
It was fantastic. The opening friendly game against Brighton was attended by a then capacity 2300 fans and everyone thought that regular league crowds at step 4 would be about 700 but they stayed at about 1800 for the rest of the season. The Gallagher has everything and now that we have our new large terrace the atmosphere is great.
The loyal Yellow Army always attend away fixtures in numbers (despite our terrible results!), what welcoming pubs would you recommend near the ground for refreshments?
Real ale lovers can try The Flower Pot, there is also the Hare & Hounds near the ground. A few hundred yards further away you have the Wetherspoons at The Society Rooms. I believe there is an outside bar at your segregated end of the ground too.
And finally, we travel to Kent desperate for 3 points – give us your prediction for Saturday’s match and what do you make of our current predicament?
If you’re going to get 3 points, you’ve got to fancy your chances on Saturday. But the Stones have been unlucky of late rather than playing poorly. Your team have to avoid complacency if you are to get anything at the Gallagher. I predict a 3-1 win for the Stones.
Thanks for answering our questions Chris and it’s inspiring how Stones have made it back up the non-league ladder after all these years. Here’s to a good game on Saturday (ok I’ll take a scrappy 1-0 to be honest…)!