Martin Allen is the new manager at Gillingham ahead of the new season and having narrowly missed out on the Play-Off positions last season, he will be looking to improve on his new side’s previous exploits. They have one of the stronger teams in League Two with Chris Whelpdale being a notable figure.
It’s Round and It’s White got the lowdown on the side’s chances of promotion this season with Gills supporter Liam Batch (@LiamBatch
How did last season measure up, compared to your expectations?
With the signings we made last season I thought play offs would be the worst possible finish with automatic promotion being the likely position, how I was wrong… A hugely frustrating season where we finished the highest scorers in the league and still finished eighth, I’m firmly pointing the finger at the defence.
What do you think of your club’s summer transfer activity, are there more arrivals/exits on the horizon?
Martin Allen has made some astute signings which I’ve been relatively pleased with. Veteran striker Deon Burton should give us vital experience to a relatively young side whilst young Tom Flanagan on loan from MK Dons is apparently a great prospect. The squad certainly isn’t finished and I am expecting that by the time this article has been posted that a few new signings have been made in the form of another defender and hopefully a winger, two positions desperately in need of strengthening.
What would be a dream new season for you?
Promotion, automatically to be precise, if Allen gets the squad playing to the best of their ability then this should be a realistic goal. A decent cup run with a trip to Old Trafford would also be great but as long as it’s in tandem with promotion.
What would be your worst nightmare?
Another frustrating season which see’s us narrowly miss out on the play-offs for the third season in a row. I know finishing eighth is a position a lot of teams would bite your arm off for but this club needs to be pushing for promotion.
Who will be your most important player/s this season?
Charlie Lee is a great leader on the pitch and if he performs the way the Gills fans know he can, then he will undoubtedly drive the team onto great things. He reads the game superbly, reminds me of the great Andy Hessenthaler in many ways and certainly could play at a higher level. Other than that I’m not a great believer in most important, they’re all as important as each-other. To gain promotion the whole squad need to pull together and play as a team, it’s a squad game after all!
Any players you would happily see the back of?
Martin Allen has successfully rid the squad of the dead wood during pre-season and I hope that every player can prove useful through out the season.
Do you have the best manager for the job?
Martin Allen (Mad-dog) is slowly convincing me he is the man to take us up. I’ve been thoroughly impressed by his disciplinarian approach in tandem with a rigorous and meticulous training regime which has seen the players fitness levels drastically improve. Wherever Allen has gone in recent years he has got the best out of his players and I hope that trend continues into his time with Gillingham. He’s made some reasonable signings, he’s funny, knowledgable and is already beginning to create a positive response from the players and supporters alike. Ask me after 46 games and I hope my opinion remains the same!
Opposition players that you respect?
Tommy Lee – Chesterfield. I’m surprised that they have managed to keep hold of him after suffering relegation, looked a top keeper when I saw him play the Gills, kept a clean sheet and in my opinion won them the game. Another good season and I suspect he will be in demand from other clubs.
Opposition players that you despise?
Izale Mcleod – Besides the fact he seems to always score against Gillingham, he generally seems not a nice chap at all and was responsible for severely injuring one of our players last season, I still maintain it was deliberate. Currently clubless after being released by Barnet, I hope he gets his wish to play in a division above so I don’t have to put up with him scoring hat-tricks against us!
Best away fans/ground in your league?
Apart from our fans who I really believe are fantastic, Accrington Stanley of course have the ‘Stanley Ultra’s’ who make a bit of a racket and Bristol Rover’s fans are also a bit noisy. In terms of grounds… League 2 isn’t blessed with many great ones but I always enjoy visiting Spotland, a proper old fashioned ground and generates a good atmosphere.
Which teams do you really want to beat this season?
Rotherham. Any team Steve Evans manages is for me the team we must beat. Sorry Millers fans, nothing personal against your club just your manager! Apart from them I always get a grin when we beat Northampton and Dagenham.
Finally, where do you honestly think you will finish?
I’m going to be a bit more pessimistic than usual and say 5th, the last two seasons I have predicted automatic promotion and it hasn’t come to fruition. Hopefully I am wrong this year for the right reasons!
Gillingham fans, do you agree or disagree with Liam’s comments? Why not sign up and have your say in the comments section below?