Published: 00:00, 15 May 2019
Joe Pigott believes Jay Saunders should be back in charge at Maidstone.
Pigott was "absolutely gutted" to see his hometown club relegated to National South after climbing through the leagues under Saunders.
But there's only one man for Pigott, the former Stones striker now at AFC Wimbledon, and he's just taken over at Margate.
He said: "The right man to take Maidstone back up the pyramid is Jay Saunders.
"Jay would be the perfect man to get the Stones back up.
"The fans love him, he always had the players' respect, even through bad patches, and players wanted to play for him.
"Every player who's played under him will feel the same as well.
"Everyone loved playing for him and his record speaks for itself.
"To achieve what he did with all the promotions and to keep the club in the National League for two seasons on the budget he had is a tremendous job. I can't see past him."
Saunders revived Pigott's career after signing him from Cambridge, giving him the platform to return to the Football League.
The striker, a Stones fan, has kept a close eye on affairs at the Gallagher Stadium and took their relegation badly.
Pigott said: "I loved it there - I was absolutely gutted to see them go down, especially in the manner they did, 18 points adrift, so that was pretty tough to take.
"When I joined on loan we had such a good run towards the end of the season to keep us up under Jay.
"That was a great six months, one of the best periods in my career and I enjoyed that so much. To see them go down was really tough.
"I kept a real close eye on it. I still speak to a few people there and it was just such a shame to see them go down.
"There were some big mistakes made. You can't have 60 players in a season - it's absolutely unheard of."
Pigott, whose 18 goals helped AFC Wimbledon stay in League 1 this season, believes it will be difficult to get out of National South at the first attempt.
But he still sees big potential at his old club and an opportunity to reach the Football League.
He said: "National South is such a tough league to get out of. Only two go up and it's going to be one hell of a rebuilding job to get them straight back up.
"But it's always going to be an attractive club because of the fans and, realistically, the club could be anything.
"You look at Fleetwood, Maidstone's a much, much bigger club than that and they're in League 1.
"With the right guidance, it could be a really good Football League club."
At 25, Pigott's career is taking off after a prolific season at Kingsmeadow but he hopes to be back at Maidstone one day.
He said: "It's something I would 100% love to do and fingers crossed I can.
"Maybe Maidstone will be in the Football League at some point.
"That would be a dream to come back and play for the club in the Football League."
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More by this authorCraig Tucker