16. Steve Lovell (1986-1993)

“Loves” was a hero at a time when the Gillingham lineup was fundamentally lacking in such people. He arrived during the latter part of the 86-87 season from Millwall for £20,000 as back up striker for the injury-prone Shearer and with the departure of Cascarino he soon assumed the mantle of chief goalscorer.

He notched a magnificent twenty-seven goals in his first season. He put four past Southend in the 8-1 win although amazingly then failed to score even one a week later in the 10-0 win over Chesterfield.

The following season saw Steve score in the opening seven games but he added only ten more during the relegation season. In the Fourth Dividion Lovell continued to score on a regular basis in a team which struggled badly for goals. In a depressing era he was often the only hope of scoring, particularly on our travels up north. Suddenly he’d burst through and slide the ball past the keeper or head one in despite the towering hulks around him. He was a genuine “finisher” of chances, a real penalty-box man with a flair for putting away the “bits and pieces” goals. That is not to say he couldn’t do the spectacular, his 35-yarder at Lincoln and 25-yarder at Doncaster still remain vivid memories. What he really brought to the team and the fans during desperate times was hope. Genuine hope of scoring a goal.

275 apps, 104 goals

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