Capacity: 3,000 (Seats 750)
Address: James Whatman Way, Maidstone ME14 1LQ
Telephone: 01622 753817
Club Nickname: The Stones
Year Ground Opened: 2012
Home Kit: Amber and Black
The Gallagher stadium is a very modern one, having been opened in 2012. On the approach to it from the town centre, there is little to see as the stadium is built into a hillside. Even from the main Club car park, there is not much to be glimpsed of the interior. Once inside though it is a different matter. On one side is the smart looking Main Stand. This all seated stand has a cantilevered roof, meaning that there are no supporting pillars to contend with. It is also raised above pitch level, meaning that spectators have to climb a small set of stairs to enter it. This Main Stand was extended in 2015 so that it now has a capacity of 750 seats. Oddly the team dugouts are not located in front of the Main Stand but on the other side of the ground. This side has no facilities for spectators as such, just a small flat standing area, behind the perimeter fence. The team dugouts almost seemed to have been an afterthought as they receded into the standing area. With just two small covered terraces at either end (one of these the Loucas End is just seven steps high), then the ground is very much an open one, with plenty of surrounding trees and greenery on view.
The stadium has an artificial 3G pitch and the Club have been at the forefront in lobbying for its wider adoption in the Football Leagues. They have seen some success in that artificial surfaces are now allowed at Conference level and for FA Cup ties, but the Football League is still resistant to the idea and currently only allows grass pitches for its member clubs.
The Club have announced plans to build a new covered terrace at the North End of the Gallagher Stadium. This terrace would have a capacity of 1,768 and can be segregated between home and away supporters. In order to 'future proof' the stand and also giving an insight into the ambitions of the Club, then the stand will be built in such a way that if need be it could be easily converted into an all-seated stand. The Club are currently fundraising to finance the new stand. It is hoped that the construction of the terrace could begin sometime during this season.
The Gallagher Stadium being still almost 'shiny new' has quite good facilities for supporters. If segregation is in force then all or part of the North Terrace (towards the Main Stand) is allocated. In addition around 100 seats are made available in the Main Stand to away fans. The usual array of Cheeseburgers (£3.25), Burgers (£3), Hot Dogs (£3), Chips (£2), as well as Chicken Fillet Burgers (£3.25) are available inside. Plus if fans are not segregated then behind the Loucas End is the 'Pie Hut,' which offers locally produced pies. For £4.50 you can have your choice of pie with mushy peas, chips and gravy. Maidstone are a well supported Club as this can make for a good atmosphere on matchday.
Please note that smoking is not allowed within the stadium (I guess just in case a loose cigarette end damages the pitch!). Fans are allowed out into the car park at half time, if fans need a cigarette.
There is a large supporters club at the stadium itself (located next to the main entrance) called the Spitfire Lounge which welcomes visiting supporters. This also has the benefit of having BT and Sky Sports Sports to view the early kick offs. Also close to the stadium on Sandling Road (just off the main roundabout by the stadium) is the White Rabbit pub and restaurant. A few minutes walk further along Sandling Road is the Flower Pot pub, which is listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide. The stadium is only a ten minute walk away from the town centre, where there are plenty of pubs to be found, including two Wetherspoons outlets. The closest of these is the Society Rooms on Week Street, which is also in the Good Beer Guide.
If you require hotel accommodation in Maidstone then first try a hotel booking service provided by Late Rooms. They offer all types of accommodation to suit all tastes and pockets from; Budget Hotels, Traditional Bed & Breakfast establishments to Five Star Hotels and Serviced Apartments. Plus their booking system is straightforward and easy to use. Yes this site will earn a small commission if you book through them, but it will go to help with the running costs of keeping the Guide going. The Hotels listing also includes details of how far away the accommodation is located from the centre of Maidstone.
Access their Maidstone Hotels and Guest Houses pages.
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.
There is no unreserved car parking available at the stadium itself. There is a small amount of pay and display parking on James Whatman Way itself, although it is free during the week after 6pm, on Saturdays it costs £4.40 for four hours, or £3.30 for three (although I would doubt if you would find a space at 2pm). The stadium is very close to the town centre, so it would be a case of using one of the many shoppers car parks available. There is a fair sized car park located at Maidstone East Railway Station, which on a Saturday costs £3.50. The station is only five minutes walk away and on using the car directions above, rather than turning right at the third roundabout turn left instead and you will see from there, that the station is well sign posted.
A bit closer there is a charity car park operated by Maidstone Lions at the nearby Job Centre on Staceys Street. On using the car directions above, then on leaving the A229 at the roundabout (where there is a large white office building on your right hand side) then rather than taking the 3rd exit, take the first exit and at the next roundabout, completely go around and comeback on yourself (back towards the A229) and the entrance to the Job Centre and car park is just on the left. It costs £3 to park there.
There are two railway stations located close to the stadium. Maidstone East which is only a quarter of a mile away and Maidstone Barracks, which is half a mile away. However most fans are likely to end up at Maidstone East as it is served by trains from London Victoria and Ashford International.
Maidstone East is only about a five minute walk away from the Gallagher Stadium. As you come out of Maidstone East Station walk up the station approach to the main road. At this road turn left and then go straight across the next two roundabouts and you will find the stadium located in front of you. Turn left at the T-Junction and the main entrance is down on the right.
Remember if travelling by train then you can normally save on the cost of fares by booking in advance.
Visit the the trainline website to see how much you can save on the price of train tickets.
Click on the trainline logo below:
Over 65's/Students £14
Under 17's £9
Under 11's £4
Over 65's/Students £12
Under 17's £7
Under 11's £2
Official Matchday Programme: £2.50
Gillingham, Tonbridge Angels and Dartford.
3,030 v Sutton United Conference South League, 5th April 2016
2015-2016: 2,208 (Conference South)
2014-2015: 1,846 (Isthmian Premier Division)
If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, please e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll update the guide.
Maidstone United v Sutton United
National League South
Tuesday 5th April 2016, 7.45pm
Sam Bennett (Sutton United fan)
Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Gallagher Stadium?
This game was a stand out from Christmas time, the game had to keep being rescheduled due to our run in the FA Trophy. The game ended up being played at the beginning of April, it was a title decider. I was particularly reluctant to go at first as I heard that could be some trouble there.
How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
We set off for our journey on the train at midday as we wanted to go and have a few drinks before the game. It took us about 1 hour and 45 minutes. A fairly easy journey and the station is about a five minute walk to the Gallagher Stadium.
What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?
We had a few drinks at the pub Hare & Hounds we found by the station. A very nice pub welcoming staff and a fairly nice atmosphere. We hung our flags up outside the pub and were happily drinking. It was about one hour before the game when a group of teenage Maidstone fans walked passed us shouting abusive chants towards us and our team Sutton in general, it was a bit intimidating.
What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Gallagher Stadium?
The Gallagher Stadium doesn't look great from the outside however when I got in I was fairly impressed. Nice facilities and a great looking Main Stand. The game was not segregated which was a bit of a worry in some fans eyes, especially after we had a few problems earlier at the pub.
Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..
The game was a cracker. Two early goals for Sutton snatched the game early on for us we won the match 2-1. The atmosphere was good in our end however there were no acoustics so we could not hear Maidstone and I doubt they heard us. The stewards were friendly no problems inside the ground.
Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
We left the ground in the best mood possible knowing we were a few games away from winning the league. However again a group of about 15 teenagers were hurling abusive and were clearly looking for a fight outside the ground. Everything was alright luckily as the Police quickly moved them on.
Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
Overall this away day was a my favourite of the season a cracking result and an unforgettable atmosphere.
Maidstone United v Oxford City
Conference South League
Saturday 15th August 2015, 3pm
Paul Willott (Neutral fan)
I had been promising myself a visit to the Gallagher stadium since its inception so todays jolly was long overdue. Fans of a certain generation will recall the roller coaster ride of Maidstone United as they became one of the early beneficiaries of the automatic promotion to the football league from the Conference, a brief flirtation with promotion play-offs until several seasons later it all collapsed in a funeral pyre of bankruptcy and the demise of the club following the resignation from the league.
There was then a nomadic existence based in towns such as Sittingbourne and Ashford as I recall from my perusings of the “non-league paper” over the years until the happy news of their projected homecoming was followed up by the opening of the new stadium. So I was eager to get a visit chalked up and today was the perfect opportunity to do so following the completion of “operation catch-up on sleep” after a very hectic week.
The Now Extended Main Stand
Maidstone’s new ground has one thing in common with Rotherham; it’s a new stadium located close to the town centre unlike the usual fayre of the more modern grounds some 5km from the nearest train station, bus stop, or pub! As the guide says, the ground is not too easy to spot, being located below the nearest main road (A229) nestling on the banks of the Medway, and if it wasn’t for returning home via Maidstone due to a full closure of the M20 on an evening after a match had concluded and observed the crowds emerging up the hill and the floodlights, I wouldn’t have known it was there. However, don’t fear because as the guide says, the big white office building is a perfect landmark , and if you follow the suggestion of turning left at said major roundabout instead of right and then following the signs for the BR station at Maidstone East where you can park for £3:50, you won’t go far wrong. However, once you’ve turned left off the A229, if you come back on yourself at the very next roundabout, there is a charity car park for £3 which I’ll use from now on for future visits.
The Leafy West Side
After a short walk in a downhill direction, crossing the A229 in the process, one soon comes across the modern Gallagher stadium, and if first impressions count, then Maidstone scores highly. An imposing entrance gate, tidy turnstiles, and a set of security staff and stewards who are to a man welcoming and friendly, made for a very good start.
I paid £12 for the entrance, and was given a ticket that was probably the smallest I’ve ever received ; more in keeping with the ticket you may expect at a model railway show perhaps !! The early impressions of a clean, well maintained and cared for stadium is upheld as you enter that actual stadium.
Once inside I had a little nosey round and was impressed with the selection of food and drink outlets to choose from on the spacious concourse behind the South Terrace/Loucas End , some of which were built in a “conservatory” style in keeping with the major shirt sponsors “Britelite”, and the club shop was in a similar ‘conservatory’ style, where the replica shirts and scarves were being knocked out for £39 and £10 respectively. The other striking aspect was the “jumbo-isation” of the main stand that had only just been completed prior to the start of the season, and a very fine looking job they’ve done on that too. The ground also possesses 4 modern looking floodlight pylons.
The Club Shop
It became clear that a good crowd was going to be in evidence as the build up to kick-off continued; the matchday programme, which is ok for £2, gave the attendance as 2,363 for the midweek encounter with Ebbsfleet, and I’d garner a guess that todays crowd was slightly larger. A large proportion of the fans were happily decked out in replica amber tops and scarves too, which added to the atmosphere and spectacle of a townsfolk solidly behind their local team. Many a club in the top level of the non-league can only dream of such support.
The match got underway and the first 45 minutes were an exemplary model of a game that never settled down ; neither side seemed comfortable in possession, many a good build-up was let down by a poor cross or mis-placed pass, and communication was lacking evidently as many a brilliant pass was made to a player that had long stopped running for the ball. The one thing that couldn’t be faulted though was the effort and endeavour as all 22 players were putting a shift in.
As the second half progressed , the home side seemed to grow in confidence, and chances started to present themselves with abundance and sooner or later I was convinced one would be tucked away………but Maidstone found out what life will be like in the higher division if you don’t take your chances as punishment was duly meted out as Oxford City scored against the run of play. The old cliché of “goals change games” was ably demonstrated as it knocked all the momentum and rhythm out of the home side, and the game petered out and even long before the final whistle there was an air of inevitability about Oxford City holding on to their 1-0 win doggedly for the 3 points.
The Club Are Well Supported
Despite a late flurry of chances in the last few minutes, Maidstone lacked the composure or confidence to tuck one away, and although overall it was a close match, I would have to say the visitors deserved to take the three points. That said, Maidstone should take encouragement in their first season at this level and look to build on their early performances to consolidate at this level. They have a ground and a fan base more than adequate for this league and I’m sure in seasons to come can aspire to climb the pyramid even further.
I thoroughly enjoyed the match and the occasion and hope to be back for more ! An added personal bonus for me on my first visit to the Gallagher stadium was to learn that a certain Mr Paul Gallagher had scored the only goal in a game near Bletchley at Stadium:MK for my beloved Preston North End...
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