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Maidstone United co-owner Oliver Ash reveals relegated National League side will post financial loss for season 2022/23

Maidstone co-owner Oliver Ash has revealed the club are set to make their first loss in 11 years after relegation from the National League.

The Stones have posted a profit every season under Ash and co-owner Terry Casey.

Maidstone United co-owner Oliver Ash. Picture: Steve Terrell
Maidstone United co-owner Oliver Ash. Picture: Steve Terrell

But, writing on the club website, Ash admitted that's about to change for the first time since the club returned to the county town, although the club will still be investing in the ground during the close season.

"Thanks to the Stones faithful who have jumped on the early-bird season ticket bandwagon!," said Ash. "Can we achieve 1,000 season-ticket sales this season, which would be a fantastic show of support.

"It really helps cash flow, too, which is very tight at present. We are still paying wages to players with no matchday income.

"It looks like we will make a loss in 2022/23 for the first time in 11 seasons. This doesn’t mean we are less ambitious to rejoin the National League.

"We still believe we can do so and succeed but we now know there is no margin for error.

"It just underlines how hard it is for us to stay profitable the higher up the pyramid we go.

"This in turn means we cannot accumulate reserves - as we did in the first few years at the Gallagher Stadium - for capital projects such as the away end washrooms and control office.

"After trying to put off this expensive project as long as possible we have now bitten the bullet and will carry out the works, although it will mean a further injection of capital we could have done without.

"We are also still considering a new TV gantry, while we can get part-funding help from the Football Foundation."

On the much-talked about Covid funding process which saw the National League directors criticised for their distribution model, Ash added: "People have asked me what has come of the National League Covid funding debacle.

"In short there has been no direct compensation paid out to clubs who were shafted and no apologies or resignations from the NL board for the abuses of power.

"The FA have also ignored the scandal and stuck their heads in the sand.

"We are now concentrating on being an active part of Fair Game, a powerful lobbying group of 35 clubs from NL to Premier League, campaigning for better governance of football in the interest of fans."

After what Ash described as a "nightmare" season, as the Stones finished bottom of the National League with just 25 points in 46 games, the co-owner is looking forward to life under George Elokobi at Step 2.

"It’s good to be looking forward again rather than being stuck in the long nightmare that last season became," he said.

"[We’re] very excited by the players George is retaining and signing. George, Zach [Foster-Crouch] and the recruitment committee have certainly been busy. Poor George didn’t realise he was never going to be able to take a holiday.

"One or two more key positions to fill then we have the framework of a competitive squad. Quality not quantity this time. Here’s hoping the gods of injuries are kinder to us this season and we can rediscover the joy of winning a few football matches!"

Maidstone's summer recruitment continued on Sunday with the signing of left-back Chi Ezennolim.

The 21-year-old spent the past two seasons with Welling in National League South, winning both players' player and supporters' player of the year at Park View Road in 2022/23.

Former Millwall youngster Ezennolim has decided against a move to the National League in order to join Maidstone.

Stones boss Elokobi said: "With the likes of Sam Bone, Sam Corne and Reiss Greenidge, we’ve got National League-standard players and I now include Chi in that.

"I know he could have made the step up this summer but I am delighted that he has chosen Maidstone United and he is buzzing to be part of what we want to do next season.”

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