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Published: 00:00, 22 August 2014 |
Twenty-five years ago this week, Maidstone United played their first game in the Football League.
They lost 1-0 at Peterborough in the old Barclays League Division 4 on August 19 1989 but it was a day people involved with the club will never forget.
The build-up to the season was frantic as United worked to get Dartford’s Watling Street ground ready for league football.
Then, weeks before the season, Conference-winning manager John Still was replaced by Keith Peacock.
The goals of Mark Gall and Steve Butler fired United to the play-offs, losing 3-1 on aggregate to Cambridge.
Stones spent three years in the Football League but the decision to refuse planning permission for a new stadium at Hollingbourne was the beginning of the end and, with mounting debts, the club went bust on the eve of the 1992-93 season.
Legendary striker Mark Gall shares his memories of that opening game and Stones’ Football League days.
I can't believe it's 25 years since that Peterborough game. I didn't think I’d got that old but obviously I have!
We should have won with the chances we had but we gave a good account of ourselves.
It was a big occasion for Maidstone to be playing in the Football League and it was a proud day for everyone associated with the club - players, staff, supporters - and the town.
I wasn't a player who worried about the step up from the Conference because I always believed in my own ability, no matter who I was playing against.
That went back to when Maidstone signed me from Greenwich Borough.
I always thought if I could do it for the Boro, I could do it anywhere and I had the same attitude when Brighton signed me from Maidstone in the old Division 2.
The only thing on my mind when I played was how I could help Maidstone get three points.
I always knew the type of footballer I was - getting the ball, running at defenders and trying to cause as much havoc as I possibly could for however long I was on the park.
I always got on well with Steve Butler and we scored a lot of goals together.
It wasn't something we worked at on the training ground – we just clicked as a partnership.
He was a hell of a striker with a great first touch, awareness and he scored goals even I admired.
See Friday's Kent Messenger for our 25th anniversary special
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