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Maidstone United owners focus on keeping club afloat amid coronavirus pandemic after posting 2018/19 financial figures

Maidstone have announced a small profit for the 2018/19 season as attention turns to keeping the club afloat during the coronavirus crisis.

The Stones made a pre-tax profit of £9,739 during a campaign which included two managerial changes and relegation from the National League. Turnover was £1,764,840.

Maidstone United were relegated from the National League last season Picture: Sean Aidan
Maidstone United were relegated from the National League last season Picture: Sean Aidan

Compare that to profits of £289,000 in 2015 and £211,000 in 2017 and it’s clear Maidstone were left counting the cost of a tough season which saw the playing budget up 15%, while attendances dropped as the team struggled.

They were also hit by a restructuring of the academy but a seventh successive year of profits is not to be sniffed at in an industry notorious for clubs living beyond their means.

Just this week, Barnet revealed they were losing £100,000 a month after placing all non-playing staff on redundancy notice.

Maidstone face a whole new challenge to keep the club going during the coronavirus pandemic with no matchday income and 3G pitch hire - key to the club’s business model - on hold.

Co-owner Terry Casey said: “The forecast for 2019/20 was for a similar result to 2018/19 but now this is all up in the air and our only focus is to enable the club to survive in the face of a dramatic loss of income streams.

Oliver Ash, left, and Terry Casey, second right, with club sponsors Pat Gallagher and Stephen Gallagher
Oliver Ash, left, and Terry Casey, second right, with club sponsors Pat Gallagher and Stephen Gallagher

“We also hope and pray for the health and welfare of the thousands of people connected to the club – players, staff, volunteers, supporters and business partners.

“We made public a few weeks ago that we were looking for additional or alternative investors who could strengthen our business by bringing in further capital.

“We had a few conversations under way but nothing concrete is likely to come of this in the current climate.”

Fellow co-owner Oliver Ash said: “We are pleased to have been able to remain profitable for the seventh season in a row.

“However, all this pales into insignificance given the scale of the challenge we now face. Public health and well-being are paramount today.

“Football as we know it is many weeks away from returning.

John Still was Maidstone's third permanent boss last season, after Jay Saunders and Harry Wheeler Picture: Andy Jones
John Still was Maidstone's third permanent boss last season, after Jay Saunders and Harry Wheeler Picture: Andy Jones

"Even before the Covid-19 crisis many smaller pro or semi-pro clubs were facing desperate times due to overspending or mismanagement. Now some may struggle to survive.

“Despite the crisis facing us we have the duty to look ahead to areas within the game where clubs could strengthen their finances and reduce their risk of bankruptcy.

“We should no longer look gift horses in the mouth.

“The simple win is obtained by relaxing the ill-conceived EFL/NL rule which obliges clubs promoted to the EFL to remove their 3G pitches immediately at great cost to them and to the environment.

“If a two-year grace period, before having to replace a 3G pitch, was allowed in League 2 it would encourage more National League clubs to switch to a 3G pitch, reap the financial rewards and thereby protect both club and supporters.”

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