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Maidstone United boss John Still would rather make his own stars

By Craig Tucker

John Still is happy doing things his way at Maidstone.

Havant are favourites to win National League South after a summer of investment.

Ebbsfleet trio Danny Kedwell, Andy Drury and Sam Magri are the latest signings - and they won't come cheap.

Maidstone head of football John Still with head coach Hakan Hayrettin Picture: Andy Jones
Maidstone head of football John Still with head coach Hakan Hayrettin Picture: Andy Jones

Maidstone have added experienced heads in George Elokobi, Gavin Hoyte, Jake Cole and Clovis Kamdjo but recruitment has mainly focused on promising youngsters.

That's the way Still has always worked and, at 69, the club's head of football isn't about to change.

He said: "Our budget is obviously different from last year but I think I have enough knowledge and experience of finding the right players to know where to go.

"I feel we have chosen a decent bunch.

"The young ones have got to get better, and we understand that, but we saw Justin Amaluzor get better in a very short period of time last year.

"We've brought in a lot of pace going forward, which is what we looked for.

"Ingredients-wise we're quite happy. It might take a bit of time to get it going properly but I think we've found some players we can help develop and along with the men we’ve got, I’m hoping we’ll really push on.

"Havant have probably got enough money to go and get the finished article, which I understand, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Maidstone have signed promising young lads such as Ibrahim Olutade
Maidstone have signed promising young lads such as Ibrahim Olutade

"But sometimes you can make the finished article who turns out to be even better.

"Lots of these boys have got lots of improvement in them, I know they have.

"It’s how quickly that comes out but I’m not banging the door down for it to come out tomorrow.

"I’ve always been one over the years to look for young, hungry players.

"I’ve built my teams on that so regardless of our situation, why would I stop doing it that way?

"That’s the way I know, that’s the way I like, that’s the way I trust.

"If I hadn’t done that I wouldn’t have found Dwight Gayle or Craig Mackail-Smith or Marlon King.

"Sometimes you have to go, ‘hold on, you have potential to be special' and that’s what I look for.”

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