The first time Maidstone won the APL, which is now the Blue Square Bet Premier, in 1984 they lost out on promotion via the re-election system, managing 22 votes, ten less than Hartlepool United.
But by the time they lifted it for a second time five years later their was no denying them after automatic promotion and relegation had been introduced a couple of seasons earlier.
The Stones put themselves on the verge of promotion after beating Weymouth in their penultimate game of the season which meant nearest rivals Kettering had to win their last two games.
And when they lost to Enfield two days later with Maidstone in Kent Senior Cup Final action against Welling United, promotion was confirmed.
Butler’s extra time goal at Gillingham’s Priestfield Stadium gave them double cause for celebration with two pieces of silverware on the same day.
He said: “I will always remember promotion at Gillingham’s ground of all places. It was brilliant winning two competitions on the same day I don’t think that has ever happened before.
“We had to go up north for the last game of the season but it was great to win the league on the Monday because it meant we had a weeks grace.
“We were happy enough to win the cup but then the chairman (Jim Thompson) came running over as if he had won the lottery. Everybody was asking him what was going on.
“He said Kettering had lost and we won the league. It was fantastic because I think we had to go to Runcorn or somewhere up north. And it was going to be a tough game to have to win.
“It was a brilliant season and it didn’t seem to matter who we played, we always scored goals. I remember one game we played Kiddersminster who were always a good team and won 7-3.
“A lot of the players we had were better than the league we were in. That is always the case if you want to win the league, you get players who are better than that league.
“Quite a few of the players from that squad moved onto better clubs so we were really playing below the leagues that we should have been in.
“We had better players than in previous seasons, we had good players all over the pitch like Mark Beeney who ended up playing in the Football League with Leeds.
“And even those boys who didn’t go onto play in the League had played at a higher standard or were very, very experienced. John Still put a very good side together, we were really lucky.”
Back row, left to right:
1. Tony Sorrell: He lives in Hornchurch, Essex and has been the director of London Pro Group, Pro Rail Construction and Pro Fabrication Ltd.
2. Paul Collins: He dropped out of the game after a spell with Fisher Athletic.
3. Andy Beattie: He worked for Cambridge Water and for ten years has been a quantity surveyor for a utility sub-contractor and is also a floor manager for Premier League productions.
4. Jesse Roast: Is living in Benfleet, Essex and helps run the family owned business Newhaven roofing.
5. Mervyn Cawston: He worked as a financial advisor until returning to his native Norfolk and works for a food distribution company. Also worked in hospitality for Norwich City.
6. Mark Beeney: Has been Chelsea’s academy and reserve team goalkeeping coach since leaving Gillingham’s Centre of Excellence in 2007.
7. Ken Charlery: Has been assistant manager of Harrow Borough and now St Albans City.
8. Malcolm Stewart: Had interests in pet shops and sportswear. Now owns a property rental and golf business in Spain and Landscaping company in Hertfordshire.
9. Les Berry: Is now running the family wholesale electrical warehouse in Greenwich, south east London
10. Mark Golley: He was a clerical officer with the Metropolitan Police and lives in Croydon. His brother Nigel played for Sutton United.
Middle row, left to right:
11. Mike Mercer: An insurance salesman and has been involved with Kent CCC.
12. Barbara Legg: A Maidstone based mortgage broker.
13. Bernie Holden: Is now retired after working for the club full time.14. Barry Fenn: Is still serving the club as assistant kit manager and is a retired factory worker.
15. John Brooks: Has sadly died. Was a cigarette salesman for British Imperial Tobacco.
16. Frank Brooks: Is now retired after working as a sports therapist.
17. Joe Sullivan: Goalkeeping coach is now living in retirement in Portugal after running a steel business.
18. George Dudley: The assistant manager was a meat porter at Smithfield Market.
19. Jim Dawkins: The vice chairman ran a local building company.
20. David Twiddy: Is now a retired chartered accountant living in Maidstone.
21. Michael Frank: Is still Maidstone’s club doctor.
22. Dennis Berry: A director who was an electrical contractor.
23. Geoff Pearson: A director who was a financier in the City of London
Front row, left to right:
24. Tony Rogers: He is now an executive with a building company in the south east of England.
25. Noel Ashford: An England semi-professional striker now lives in Hamden, Connecticut in the United States and teaches at Hamden Hall Country Day School.
26. David Jacques: Is based in Romford, Essex and he has been running a flooring and carpet fitting business for the past 30 years.
27. Steve Butler: Has been assistant manager of Leicester City, Hull and Stevenage and is now the head coach of Football Showcase Pro Academy.
28. Bill Williams: Is now back at Maidstone as chief executive having managed Dover Athletic and Kingstonian.
29. Jim Thompson: Was also the chairman of Dartford, worked in the advertising industry and was managing director of a newspaper group, he died from cancer in January 2009.
30. John Still: Guided the Stones into the league which he also went on to do with Dagenham & Redbridge who he has managed since 2004, also bossed Peterborough and Barnet.
31. Tony Pamphlett: Lives in Welling, Kent and after working as a carpenter for over 20 years he has spent the last 11 driving a London taxi.
32. Mark Hill: He spent 12 years with Japanese electronics firm Akai but has spent the last 17 working for LG Electronics based in Slough and is hospitality and events manager.
33. Mark Gall: After injury ended his career he went to work in the family bakery in Brixton and lives in Streatham Vale.
34. Dave Mehmet: Has managed and coached Non-League clubs. He now lives in Chislehurst, Kent and runs the football Academy at New Eltham College.
Tagged Maidstone United FC