THE RECKLESS GUIDE TO...
The Vanarama National League
Tuesday 9th April 2019
Kick Off: 7.45pm
Stadium: The Gallagher Stadium, James Whatman Way, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 1LQ
Telephone: 01622 753817
Club Colours: Amber and Black
Nickname: The Stones
Familiar names – John Still is currently Head of Football with Hakan Hayrettin as Head Coach.
John Leonard Still needs no introduction to Bees fans as he was the manager at Underhill from June 1997 to February 2002 and at The Hive for the first half of this current season. Hak is a dear friend and was a Bee for 4 seasons and was part of the brilliant Conference winning squad of 1990-91. For the reunion party a few years back in the Durham Suite, 'H' was the first to answer my emails and texts to the players.
The original Maidstone went bankrupt in 1992 and Maidstone Invicta, the youth set-up filled the void. Starting back in the Kent County League they have progressed steadily through the pyramid.
Brief Directions by Road:
These directions courtesy of MUFC. Leave the M20 at Junction 6 and take the A229 towards Maidstone. Go straight across two roundabouts and on entering Maidstone at the third roundabout (where there is a large white office building on your right-hand side) take the third exit into James Whatman Way. You will now see the stadium right in front of you. At the T-junction turn left and the stadium entrance is further down on the right.
No parking at the ground but various pay and display areas are close by for around £4.50 to cover the game time. Town centre also has plentiful parking and that is a short walk away from the stadium.
Directions by Train:
A London Victoria train runs to Maidstone East which is 10 minutes walk to the ground.
Eating and Drinking locally:
The Spitfire Lounge behind the main stand admits visiting supporters. The Flower Pot is the local pub on Sandling Road. In the town centre, the Society Rooms is the better of two Wetherspoons outlets. The Reckless Recommendation is the really nice Swan pub on County Road close to Maidstone East station it is 10 minutes walk from the ground.
The ground opened in 2012. The Main Stand, extended in 2015, seats around 800. Opposite is a flat uncovered standing area. The North Stand is a very impressive terrace with room for around 1800. Part of this area is normally allocated to visiting supporters along with a small section of seats in the main stand. To the south is a shallow seven step covered terrace. The pitch is 3G.
Seating - Adults £18.00, Concessions £15.00
Terrace - Adults £15.00, Concessions £12.00
Our Last Meeting & Memories:
Our last meetings were way back in 1992 in League Division 4. Mark Carter scored in the away 1-1 draw, while Carter again, Harry Willis and Paul Showler netted in a 3-2 win at Underhill. Regular meetings were had in the 1970's and 1980's in the Southern, Alliance and Conference Leagues with Barnet only winning once away from home in March 1988 with Nicky Evans scoring both in a 2-1 win. Nicky scored all three in the draw at Underhill the previous season, so I rest my case.
Barnet wonder fact:
Maidstone offered Bees legend Les Eason a contract in 1969, Les was at the peak of his goalscoring powers then, at allegedly thrice his wage at Barnet. He turned it down because he loved Barnet playing too much alongside Bill Meadows, Paddy Powell, Gerry Ward, Barry King, Ben Embery etc etc. Great man is Les.
The area doesn't overflow with Celebs I'm afraid although one of my childhood heroes Vision On and Take Hart TV artist Tony Hart was born here as was actor Noel Howlett who played the Headmaster Cromwell in the brilliant 1970's sitcom Please Sir!
Two ex-Bees were born in these parts too, Adam Birchall and Duncan Horton.