Maidstone United Football Club hopes to raise £1.6m for a new stadium at James Whatman Way by April this year.

The club’s current owners plan to invest £400,000, with a further £150,000 from a Football Foundation Grant.

The rest will be financed through investors buying shares in Maidstone United Ground Ltd, which will not give them any stake in the football club itself.

Terry Casey, co-owner and director, said: "Investors will feel totally involved in the running of the football club as well as the ground operating business but they will be sheltered from any real risk in the football club itself.

"Instead they have a share in a business which we forecast could be highly profitable. And if that were not enough they will know they are helping an entire community - including the various pan disability teams we manage - by providing excellent new local sports and social facilities. It's the perfect option for them really."

Maidstone is asking for a minimum investment of £160,000 which would give them a 6% stake in the company.

It will also be the first football ground in the country to feature a 3G pitch from its conception.

Club chief executive Bill Williams, added: "It’s a bold move but we believe that for the non-league game to survive in the future, other clubs will opt for this high-quality synthetic surface.

"The majority of non-league clubs cannot survive on matchday revenues, sponsorship, advertising and other commercial activity. Using an artificial surface gives us the opportunity to make the business financially viable and provide excellent facilities for our own teams.

"Equally importantly we have a venue that community groups, schools and others can hire to play sport and maintain a healthy lifestyle."

Posted on 18/01/2011