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Maidstone United bosses John Still and Hakan Hayrettin celebrate a year in charge

Hakan Hayrettin says Maidstone are making progress as he and John Still celebrate a year in charge.

It's been a busy 12 months for the pair, rebuilding the side after relegation and now challenging for a National South play-off place.

Hakan Hayrettin and John Still have been in charge for a year Picture: Steve Terrell
Hakan Hayrettin and John Still have been in charge for a year Picture: Steve Terrell

Hayrettin accepts there have been mistakes along the way but the head coach feels they are on to something.

He said: "When we first came in we said it would take a couple of seasons to get where we wanted to be.

"This is our first full season and to sign 18 or 19 players and be in touch with the play-offs is good.

"There are certain times we could have done a lot better and there are times we've done ever so well.

"We're a year down the line and the club has made progress.

"We've brought empathy back for the badge, which is important, and we're laying the foundations in the right way, which is very important.

"I'm pretty sure we're going to be strong next season but there's still a hell of a lot to play for this season.

"I love this club. I think it's a fantastic football club.

"The job was to rebuild and we're going through the process.

"We know some of the recruitment hasn't been right but the majority has.

John Still and Hakan Hayrettin direct proceedings on the touchline Picture: Sean Aidan
John Still and Hakan Hayrettin direct proceedings on the touchline Picture: Sean Aidan

"I look at young lads like Saidou Khan, Ibby Akanbi, Zihni Temelci, and then experienced players like George Elokobi and Gavin Hoyte, and the nucleus is there.

"There may be bits I wish we'd done differently, like in any industry, but the support has been unbelievable.

"I love every single one of our fans for their efforts, home and away."

Maidstone are four points off the play-offs, with two games in hand, going into Saturday's home clash with Oxford City.

United won the away game 4-1 last month and another three points would set them up nicely for Tuesday's rearranged Kent derby at local rivals Tonbridge.

There's no pressure from owners Terry Casey and Oliver Ash to deliver promotion this season but that won't stop Maidstone trying.

Hayrettin said: "The owners have been very good.

"We had a fantastic cup run, which was important for the profile of the club, and the owners have invested wisely in the things they've done here.

"They've done everything the right way, they're two top business people, and if you cut Bill Williams, the chief exec, he bleeds amber and black.

"The club has given us the opportunity to build the foundations.

"There's a mutual respect and trust on both sides and hopefully that will continue."

Read more: The latest sports news in Kent


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