James and Oliver discuss their team
JM – My name is James, I have supported Maidstone for about 10 years since they moved back home to the Gallagher Stadium.
OA – My associate Terry Casey and I bought the club in 2010 and built the new stadium. Previously we were playing at rented grounds and then stadia around Kent after the club’s bankruptcy in 1992. Terry is a life-long supporter, not so me.
JM – It was such a great season to be involved in. The team worked so hard to achieve promotion and it was fully deserved. I think the secrets to our success are probably the feeling of togetherness between fans and players and everyone associated with the club. Fans work hard in the stands to give the best atmosphere for the players and in turn the players gave us their best and achieved promotion.
OA – We had a really exceptional group of players who got on well and worked hard for each other, together with excellent management. Confidence built up and hard work paid off.
THE START TO THIS SEASON
JM – It’s been a bit of an up and down start to the season a solid draw against Altrincham to start off and then a great win coming from behind to beat York 2.1. Then after that things haven’t gone to plan, losing 4.2 to Dorking the team we pipped to the title last year, and then we went to Wrexham where we lost 5.0. The less said about that the better. But they are a very good side and it would surprise me if they didn’t finish as champions.
OA – It still feels like pre-season to an extent. We haven’t played enough matches for the team to be firing on all cylinders, particularly last Saturday when we never even got the engine started against Wrexham.
JM – We have made some signings so far, with hopefully a few more to come in, but I think the biggest boost for us was to keep Jack Barham signed on as he was an integral part of the squad last season. Hopefully he can prove himself at this level now.
JM – I would say Joe Ellul at the back is a rock and puts his body on the line for the team. I’ve mentioned Jack Barham, so hopefully he can take the step up in his stride. And probably Joan Luque, but luckily for Torquay he is out with a long term injury at the moment and won’t be available for selection.
OA – The key players are everywhere when we are playing at our best. However we have some injury issues to key players right now.
JM – Our manager is Hakan Hayrettin, known as Hak by the fans. He likes a disciplined team and likes to be strong at the back. He demands 100+% effort from he team every game and his expectations are really high.
OA – Our manager is Hakan Heyrettin, ex-Luton Town. We like to play with two wingers subject to player fitness.
JM – I never like predicting line-ups as that is obviously down to the manager and we have a strong team so would be hard to pick an 11. Our keeper has let in 9 goals in the last 2 games though, so could see a change in goal on Saturday.
JM – There is a Wetherspoons right next to the train station and many pubs around the town centre. There are restaurants all around the town along side your favourite fast foods like Burger King and McDonald’s. So plenty of choice for the Torquay fans. The ground is only a 5 minute walk from the town centre
OA – There are plenty of pubs in the town centre, only 5 minutes walk from the stadium. Otherwise we have a bar and food outlet in the away end.
HOPES AND EXPECTATIONS FOR 22-23
JM – I think we just need to concentrate on staying up really. I’d like to say we could surprise a few teams this season but let’s just get to safety and then we can push on next season.
OA – Hopefully to still be in the division by the end of it.
JM – I’m going to go with a 2.0 Maidstone win. I think the team will want to put it right from Wrexham on Saturday and will come out strong from the first minute. It will be a tough test for the stones but I hope we can come out strongest.
OA – I can’t show pessimism so I’ll say 2-1 to Maidstone.