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Home   Maidstone   Sport   Article

Maidstone United legend Mark Gall remembers the club's Football League debut 25 years on

22 August 2014
by Craig Tucker

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.

Mark Gall in action for Maidstone against Weymouth in the GM Vauxhall Conference in April 1989

Mark Gall in action for Maidstone against Weymouth in the GM Vauxhall Conference in April 1989


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.

The Maidstone United squad ahead of their first season in the Football League in 198990 Picture Mick Gell

The Maidstone United squad ahead of their first season in the Football League in 1989/90 Picture Mick Gell

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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