The ‘Stones’ round here don’t refer to Mick Jagger et al.
Nor do the initials MUFC mean anything about Jose Mourinho’s grand bores of the North.
Here, at Maidstone United, the biggest worries they’ve got is the chewing gum.
Presumably the ban on chewing gum inside the Gallagher Stadium is to ensure they don’t get the stuff on the pitch, with the 3G surface one of a handful of National League sides to have installed the artificial turf.
There’s queues to get in, which may take some by surprise – a Tuesday night fixture in August against Leyton Orient is seemingly a big draw for those who live in Kent, the garden of England.
Through the turnstiles you’re handed your ticket – or rather, a charming little token that proves you’ve paid your £15 entrance fee.
It’s probably not deliberate, but the token is the perfect size to wrap your chewing gum in before chucking it in the bin.
For those who didn’t want to pay the entrance fee or skip the queues, there’s a tidy little mound that a couple of fans decided they’d pitch up at for the game. It’s swings and roundabouts – you can drink in view of the pitch, but probably don’t have a great view of either goals. Some people will always prefer the lash, I suppose.
On the pitch, being so close to the action means you can hear virtually everything the players say to each other – it’s not uncommon in the National League of course, but there’s still an element of surprise when you hear the striker telling the left-back to ‘f***ing play it to feet’ when they went long instead.
All in all it’s a pleasant atmosphere – the crowd is loud enough, the blokes standing nearby are reasonable when it comes to the referees decision making, and not one person is eating any chewing gum.
8/10, will come again.
- Remembering when Leyton Orient, for some reason, played against India in a friendly
- What is it like to live inside a football stadium?