Saturday, October 07, 1989

Maidstone United FC

Maidstone United 1 Burnley 4 - Football League, Division Four

The town of Maidstone in Kent is six miles downstream from where the River Medway, having flowed in a generally west-east direction, is joined by the Rivers Teise and Beult at Yalding and changes its course to a northerly one. During the English Civil War, the Battle of Maidstone took place in 1648, resulting in a victory for the Parliamentarians. Andrew Broughton, who was Mayor of Maidstone in 1649 (and also Clerk to the High Court of Justice) was responsible for declaring the death sentence on Charles I, and today a plaque in Maidstone Town Centre memorialises Broughton as 'Mayor and Regicide'. Paper mills, stone quarrying, brewing and the cloth industry have all flourished here. The paper maker James Whatman and his son invented wove paper (Whatman paper) at Turkey Mill from 1740, an important development in the history of printing. The two railway routes are not principal ones, in spite of Maidstone being the county town, due to an accident of history. There are two principal stations: Maidstone East, the more northerly of the two, on the secondary line from London to Ashford, and Maidstone West on the Medway Valley Line.

Watling Street

The original Maidstone United played at the Athletic Ground on London Road. However, London Road did not come up to Football League ground grading requirements so the club left their ground in Maidstone, selling the land on which it stood to MFI in 1987/88. They then switched to ground-sharing with Dartford at Watling Street for their home matches. This caused average attendances to fall from around 2,400 to 1,400. In an attempt to return to Maidstone, the club's board purchased a piece of land east of the Town in Hollingbourne. However the council rejected the club's planning application to build on the purchased land, claiming the refusal was down to the site being in a conservation area. 

This Pieman travelled to Watling Street by train from London Bridge to Dartford. Visitors Burnley proved far too good for Maidstone United, running out 4-1 winners.

Attendance: 3,762
Programme: 70p

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