Maidstone United Football Club was founded in 1897. Following the demise of the Football League side in 1992, the club was reborn as Maidstone Invicta and joined the Kent County League Division Four for the 1993/94 season. They won the title at the first attempt and also picked up the West Kent Challenge Shield and the Tunbridge Wells Charity Cup.
The Stones were crowned Kent League champions in 2006 for the second time and secured the league and cup double, with the title being won on the last day of the season with a resounding 4-1 win away to Sevenoaks Town. The Kent League Cup was also won again with a 4-1 hammering of VCD Athletic at Folkestone Invicta’s Cheriton Road ground. Promotion to Ryman League Division One South was confirmed at the end of the season.
Construction work started during the 2011/12 season. Although the Stones missed out on the play-offs at the end of that campaign, the £2.6million Gallagher Stadium was completed and 2,226 watched first match between Maidstone and Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday 14 July.
After finishing third in the league in 2015/16, the Stones faced Ebbsfleet United in the Promotion Final at Stonebridge Road. The match finished 2-2 after extra time and Maidstone won the resulting penalty shoot-out 4-3 to win promotion to the Vanarama National League.
The Stones’ three-year stay in the National League came to an end in April 2019 but a return to non-league’s top flight was secured in May 2022 when the Stones were crowned National League South champions in front of a capacity crowd – capping what had been a fantastic season post-Covid. That stay was to last just one season, with the Stones now in their third stint in the South in 2023/24.
The Stones are currently flying high in the league table, sitting in second place with 39 points from 21 matches. They’re fourth in the form table, having picked up 12 points in their last six matches.
They were most recently knocked out of the FA Trophy at the hands of National League side Barnet who beat them 4-0 at The Hive. They have managed an impressive run in the FA Cup, though. Now the lowest-ranked side in the competition after a Second Round win against League Two side Barrow – a Third Round tie at home to Stevenage awaits.
George Elokobi has been in charge of Maidstone United since January when he was appointed as Caretaker Manager. After a spell in the caretaker role, he was entrusted to lead the team on a permanent basis.
Elokobi is a former professional footballer who played as a defender for Wolverhampton Wanderers, Nottingham Forest and Colchester United to name a few. He made over 300 career appearances in the professional game.
Elokobi finished his career at Maidstone after joining the club in 2019 and captaining the side for three seasons before retirement. He then worked at the club’s football academy for three years, coaching and inspiring the next generation, all while gaining his Football Association coaching qualifications before taking over as First-Team Manager.
Former Trinidad & Tobago international Gavin Hoyte has been the Stones captain since the start of last season, taking over from his now manager, George Elokobi.
The 33-year-old made a huge impact after his arrival at Gallagher Stadium from Dagenham in summer 2019. Before the start of the season, Hoyte had featured 124 times for the Stones, scoring four goals.
In May 2014, he was called up by Trinidad & Tobago to play on their South American tour which involved fixtures against Argentina and Iran.
The defender spent the majority of his career in the football league and amounted 159 appearances in the EFL Championship, League One and League Two with seven different clubs, including Brighton & Hove Albion where he was on loan in the 2009/10 season.
Levi Amantchi is the league’s top-scorer with 13 goals in 20 appearances for the Stones in the National League South this season.
The striker has been in scintillating form this term, helping to fire Maidstone up the league table to second.
However, the striker was stretchered off during the Stones’ FA Cup Second Round win against Barrow. He hasn’t featured in either of the two following matches but there is yet to be an update regarding the forward’s fitness.
The Stones bolstered their attacking force with the signing of Timmy Abraham last week, with the length of Amanchti’s absence still unknown.
A familiar face will return to Worthing this weekend as former Rebel, Lucas Covolan will line up in between the sticks for the Stones on Saturday.
Covolan made 66 appearances for the Rebels between 2017-2019 and was a fan-favourite at Woodside Road during that time.
He moved on to then-National League side Torquay United in 2019 before moving to Port Vale in League Two a couple of years later. Covolan joined Maidstone at the start of the season and has helped the Stones to have the joint-second-best defensive record in the league this term.