MAIDSTONE LOOK TO EXPAND GROUND

Ryman League Division One South club Maidstone United are looking at expanding their ground, just months after moving in.

Since their summer homecoming, after 24 year of exile, the Stones have surpassed attendance expectations - averaging 1,650 at league games at the Gallagher Stadium.

The club's co-owners Terry Casey and Oliver Ash are looking into increasing the capacity of the stadium, as well as adding a second bar and building more class rooms.

Casey said: "It’s gone so well and given us the best problems you could possibly imagine. We’ve got loads of different ideas – as many ideas as we have fans.

"We have a bit of a problem making sure everyone can see clearly and it’s something we must try to address. We can extend the terracing at both ends and also raise them by putting in more steps.

"The big one would be to extend the main stand and add another 200 seats. It’s quite complicated and would cost about £500,000 but it’s on the agenda. Another issue is the bar isn’t big enough for the number of people using it so we need a second bar.

"The club shop has also been successful but has operated out of a tent and then one of the classrooms, so we need to do something about that.

"The other big problem is the academy. It’s proved such a success that we need more classrooms. We’d like to accommodate 100 students [the club currently cater for 65]. We’re looking at our options but we don’t want botch jobs.”

The Stones' New Year's Day match against Sittingbourne attracted a crowd of 2,291, which is slightly over the official capacity of the ground.

And with crowds expected to rise during the club's promotion push, they are likely to ask local authorities to increase the capacity, although no building work will be done before the end of the season.

Posted on 25/01/2013