Maidstone United prepare to open Emirates FA Cup fifth round schedule on Monday night

Monday 26 Feb 2024
The Emirates FA Cup trophy paid a visit to Maidstone's Gallagher Stadium ahead of their fifth round tie with Coventry City

The Emirates FA Cup fifth round kicks-off on Monday evening with Coventry City set to take on Maidstone United, and the competition’s famous trophy visited the Gallagher Stadium in Kent ahead of the historic tie.

The National League South side’s run began back in September 2023, and they have unbelievably made it through seven rounds in the months since to set-up today’s match against the EFL Championship high flyers.

The lowest-ranked side in the competition have defied the odds to overcome Steyning, Winchester City, Torquay, Chesham, Barrow, Stevenage, and most recently Coventry’s rivals for promotion, Ipswich Town.

Coventry City v Maidstone United
  • Emirates FA Cup fifth round proper
  • 7.45pm, Monday 26 February 2024
  • Coventry Building Society Arena
  • Live on ITV4

The Stones have equalled history by becoming the first team outside the top five divisions to reach this stage since Blyth Spartans in 1978, and their manager George Elokobi spoke glowingly about his team’s campaign and the game ahead.

“It’s an incredible achievement, not just for ourselves, but for the community, Maidstone United, and our fanbase. We've also gained so much admiration globally for how we have gone about our FA Cup run.

“It’s historic and a lot of the people around the city and elsewhere who aren’t even connected with Maidstone have told me their new team is Maidstone United. That shows you what the players have done.

Maidstone manager George Elokobi speaks to the media

“It’s a huge moment for myself. It’s a huge moment for my community back in Cameroon. For Africa as well.

“The FA Cup is regarded as one of the best competitions in the world and for Maidstone to be in the fifth round, against a Championship side in Coventry, a club full of history, it’s an inspirational moment for myself and I’m ever so proud to be the leader of Maidstone United Football Club.”

This season’s edition of the competition has been especially memorable for Kent, with Sheppey United and Ramsgate also enjoying their own runs to the first and second rounds respectively, and receiving widespread plaudits in the process.

If Maidstone United were to progress again, the club would receive £225,000 from the competition’s prize fund in addition to broadcast payments and fees from previous rounds, and the manager added that re-investment could be transformational locally.

“It gives me goose bumps already thinking about the enormity of the situation and now we can also provide a lasting legacy for the club and the whole community.

“We might be able to lay a new pitch and put down new turf which is something for the whole area.”

Coventry versus Maidstone will be broadcast live on ITV4 and ITVX tonight at 7.45pm, and further broadcast details for the fifth round are available here.

By Tom Everett