Maidstone is of course a European cultural metropolis of unrivalled influence and as such it has inspired a serious literary canon. The most famous reference to The 'Stone is arguably in “The Pickwick Papers” by Charles Dickens, although this narrow, sensationalist piece of work has subsequently been eclipsed by a series of modern books, many of them inspired by the primal force for humanity that is Maidstone United.
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The book tells the story of Maidstone United’s incredible history from the mid-1980s, when the team was known as ‘the Manchester United of non-league football’, through the dizzy highs of winning the Conference and reaching the Division Four play-offs, to the depths of the Woodcut Farm Stadium saga, the doomed takeover bids and the painfully slow rebirth in Kent County League.
Exodus is not a conventional football story: it reads more like a thriller than a history book, with political intrigue, treachery, pyramid schemes and even attempted murder, before the triumphant return to the County Town in 2012.
Written by a lifelong Stones fan – the author and journalist Fred Atkins – the book contains archive photos, quotes and interviews with a host of players, managers and directors past and present and represents a warts and all account of the most turbulent quarter of a century in Maidstone United’s history.
The first copy was purchased by Stones Chief Executive Bill Williams, who said: “This is not as good as my book, which is still available by the way. Joking aside it’s an exceptional read and I say that as someone who’s lived and breathed many of the moments that Fred describes in such vivid detail.
“It’s a must for every Stones fan but it will also appeal to anyone with an interest in football. If this was a drama script they’d say it was far-fetched but this really is the story of Maidstone United in those 24 years away from the town.”
Exodus is available from the club shop or www.maidstoneunited.co.uk
WHEN I WAS JUST A LITTLE BOY ...
A one-off Plastic Passion Special, by Garth Paxman, telling the story of Maidstone United’s rivals and rivalries: Bearsted, Beckenham, Cray, Dartford, Dover Athletic, Gillingham, Gravesend & Northfleet, Margate, Ramsgate, Snodland, VCD Athletic and more ...
WELCOME TO KENT(SORRY ABOUT THE RACISTS)
Welcome To Kent is the story of The Maidstone Express: officially 'Britain's Shittest Paper' for the fourth consecutive year, according to a Guardian survey. It churns out stories about killer pot holes, custard powder shortages and newsagents that sell out of date pasties. The editor is suicidal, the
chief reporter is a racist and there's a sex offender running the sports desk.
When they accidentally libel a local surgeon the Express is on the brink of collapse, until it's rescued by a billionaire buy-to-let tycoon from South Africa. He installs a technology consultant, two talented but suspect executives and bankrolls a circulation war with the Express's reputable rival, the Maidstone Herald.
The Herald's Star reporter Mo Godwin once dreamed about getting a job at the Daily Mail and coming up with a story so ludicrous it would shut the paper down. Now he's trying to track down a girl who vanished into thin air during a school trip, with local radio DJ Peter Pope the chief suspect. Godwin becomes convinced his former employers at the Express are hacking his stories but his bosses think he's making excuses.
When the local priest's adopted daughter is abducted and no one seems interested in finding her he has the chance to solve both cases, save his newspaper and his career – all while trying to stop his best friend from marrying a piece of American trailer trash twice his age. Welcome to Kent is tale of prejudice in the deep south ... of England, set as a satire of the disintegrating local newspaper industry.
Welcome to Kent is available in paperback and for Kindle from www.amazon.co.uk