Headitorial: September 2006

Oh dear, it isn’t going well is it? Friday night against Scunthorpe saw a significant proportion of the Rainham End calling for Scally to go in no uncertain terms – the rest of Priestfield wasn’t slow in joining in either. “We want Scally OUT” and “Fuck off back to Millwall” along with that old favourite “ITV Digital” and the new anthem “He’s short, he’s bent, and all the money’s spent! On his house, on his house…” tends to suggest the admirable patience of the rapidly dwindling and utterly miserable Gillingham support had finally snapped.

The fact that we had five great chances to score and missed the lot before falling to two sucker punches against an obviously poor side just before half-time just summed up the situation at the moment. We simply can’t score goals, we can’t take chances; we are allergic to propelling the spherical object into the onion bag and are prone to conceding laughable goals – not a happy combination I’m sure you’ll agree!

The end result of the weekend’s fixtures saw the Gills sitting non too proudly in 23rd position above only Rotherham United who began the season on minus-ten points having gone into administration at the end of last season… Having beaten Huddersfield in stirring fashion on the opening day the Gills have subsequently slipped to a string of not too impressive results. Missed chances and a soft goal at Brighton, 2-0 up and a collapse at Bradford, mugged by Northampton’s only attack, blighted by errors at the back at Millwall, denied in the dying seconds at Blackpool after an alarming wobble and then mugged again by Scunthorpe.

The blame for the results can be directed at many people, the players; too many individual errors (at least one cataclysmic one per game), too many individuals under performing, the management; we all know certain individuals can do better. MAKE THEM DO SO! However the bottom line is as ever with the chairman and chief executive, who as you will all appreciate at the Gills is one in the same person, a certain Paul Scally. Our debt (at least £10 million and growing) has basically hamstrung us. We can’t afford to pay decent wages let alone pay transfer fees so our best talent leaves at the end of their contracts for fuck all (Nosworthy, Brown, Byfield), we can’t sign top quality replacements, have to raid the bargain basement and then with the inevitable decline in results due to having to employ poor quality replacements (and not very many of them at that) that are not up to the job, crowds dwindle and the deathly spiral continues towards oblivion.

Scally is clearly doing his best to keep our heads above water with the bank but without significant investment either from him (no sniggering at the back) or from outside it looks like administration could be on the cards sooner rather than later. The attendance of 5,749 against Scunthorpe (it looked more like 4700) might have been as expected on a rearranged Friday night but with 4000 season ticket holders our ongoing income isn’t going to cover the interest repayments for long – especially without anyone at all employed during August in the commercial department!?! With the executive seating deserted, the sponsorship pages devoid of sponsors and the replica shirts contriving to be unbelievably ugly, uncomfortable and scratchy, the short term cash flow isn’t going to be great – especially with fans not exactly clamouring to watch that shite at £23 a pop in the Rainham End!

Now I’m sure the vast majority of our usual readers will have enjoyed the cathartic effect of calling for Scally’s head at Priestfield for the first time without the risk of being shouted down, away fans have already done it with great gusto and no little originality at Colchester and Bristol City, but it was really just a gesture. It was significant in that it marked a point whereby the crowd finally volubly turned on our chairman of the last eleven years (rather than voting silently with their feet – 4000 missing and counting), the taboo was broken, the line crossed, but as ever they were still torn between backing the players as they strived manfully to pull a goal or two back and abusing the individual they hold responsible for the fine mess we now find ourselves in.

Villa fans will no doubt tell us they have been calling for Doug Ellis to go for twenty years and it didn’t have much effect until some Yank investor called Randy came along with an offer too good for him to refuse. We could be grumbling and calling for Scally to go for the next twenty years (now there is a sobering thought) but until an alternative investor comes along willing to splash the cash or the Bank of Scotland calls an end to our borrowing and the administrators are called in Scally will probably want to stay given his ambitious dreams of a 24,000 stadium elsewhere – although with no site, no investors, no money, no permission and no good will left he might struggle to realise his ambitions (three to five years minimum for such a venture even if it go the green light today) before we find ourselves having gone full circle and starring the Conference and or oblivion in the face.

If we find ourselves losing at home to Millwall in a couple of weeks the crowd reaction could get very lively indeed… what the reaction of Scally will be is unclear – he will probably point to three new stands, two promotions and five years in the Championship and call us ungrateful bastards but the reality is of gross mismanagement of the redevelopment of Priestfield, no significant financial investment in the team since the summer of 2000 (King, Hope & Shaw) which is now six long years ago. The squad has been in decline since 2001 and we are now seeing the natural result of such a policy. It might be heart-warming to see Akinbiyi, King and Henderson gracing the Premiership but we would kill now for a striker with even 1% of King or Akinbiyi’s ability to score a few goals right now.

Friday wasn’t the end for Scally, it might not even be the beginning of the end for our bespectacled Millwall loving chairman, but it does mean that he will no longer get a free ride from the remarkably patient and some might say gullible Gillingham support. From now on he is going to have to start to turn things round and quickly or will have to get used to Priestfield reverberating to some less than complimentary anthems. His luck might just have begun to run out… and so might ours.

Up The Gills!

The Binman

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8 Responses to Headitorial: September 2006

  1. Jon says:

    What I always loved about BMH… An excellent summary of what’s going on.

    The real test of the anti-Scally campaign is if we beat Millwall… Will everyone still sing it if that’s the case?

    I’ve never been one to start chants, but I’ll be joining in when I hear it… But I get the feeling that we’ll all get shouted down when it’s Gillingham 3 Millwall 0…

  2. bish_bosh says:

    Lovegod is a slapnut

  3. chiefbuyer says:

    the fact is most of us dont feel the need to go mental at the players its Scally that needs to sit up and listen.
    even if we are three up at half time i will still be calling for the munchkins head on a spit.
    there is only so much the average man can take and i have passed that level. how many times can we put up with ” i will have some good news soon” if it isnt the new stadium ( hahahahahahaha ) it is our finacial situation and how the bank has restructured it AGAIN.
    he is the most arrogant pratt i have spoke to in my life and this is why he was so ” shocked and horrified” when we started to chant last week.
    i just want an end to this either way. i want to be able to just go for a beer and then watch the game without the feelings of hate and sadness that i have at the moment.

  4. Richard Green's Hair says:

    Well, this is the moment when Scally’s chickens come home to roost – if he hadn’t always been ready to blame someone else when something went wrong, if his public relations had been better, if he’d been more open regarding our financial situation then I would feel some sympathy for him. However as it stands the buck stops with him and I feel at the very least he has to put the club up for sale to at try and flush out some potential investors.
    That could of course reveal that there is no interest in taking on a football club with a £10m debt but Scally could then claim that he had done something to sort the situation out.
    He’s had 10 years to get other investors though with no joy so I won’t go holding my breath….

  5. Elvis_t_king says:

    Scally definitely needs to put his money where his mouth is now. He’s used this club for 11 years to massage his ego, it’s easy to run a football club and cash the money when everything’s going well. Now when the tide turn’s where’s his investment? Fans at any other club in the country wouldn’t have put up with this situation for so long with pie in the sky talk of new grounds in Gravesend for fecks sake!

    It’s time for Scally to go, my worry is that we’ve left it too late, and there’ll be no body willing to take a small town club like Gillingham into today’s footballing climate.

    And we mustn’t forget to back the players, we’ve had bad results, but realistically there playing well, just need to cut down on the two or three silly mistakes and start taking our chances, I think it will come on the playing side, luckily we have a bit of time. It’s off the field where things are ‘really’ a mess.

  6. Jon says:

    “A small town club like Gillingham”

    Another reason for Scally to go. Because we’re not a small town club. We have a massive catchment era and Scally has not even tried to tap into it. I have never lived within a 30 mile radius of the club and probably never will do. It’s not so bad now, but there was a time when it seemed that Scally believed every fan of the club lived around the corner – putting tickets on sale to personal callers only at silly times and so on.

    He even once said – a Valley Express jibe – that all clubs should only get fans from a 10 mile radius around them. Paul, you have a whole county from which to get your fans, and although Carlisle are one exception that springs straight to mind, I can think of very few other clubs with 60 odd miles of a county to one side and 30 miles to the nearest club on the other… The potential of the Gills is massive, but Scally has killed a lot of that… I see Charlton doing things down my neck of the woods and don’t think “Bloody Charlton stealing our fans” like Scally, more “Why the hell aren’t we doing this?”.

    Scally probably doesn’t even know where Whitstable is, let alone want fans from there.

  7. Elvis_t_king says:

    Jon: Totally agree with your post it really winds me up hearing Scally bleating on about Charlton when he’s doing nothing to counter act it, and only serves to come across as a bestpectacled twat! I couldn’t believe we didn’t have a stand at the last two years County Shows every little kid in there was walking around with a Charlton sticker on their shirt it makes you sick to think of all the lost potential Scally never tapped even when the club were doing well – and he thinks he can fill a 20,000 seater stadium – FUCK OFF!!!

  8. Major MM says:

    I agree with many of the sentiments posted here, Scally has let “his business” as he see’s it spiral out of control, to the detriment of the emotional owners of GFC us – the fans. The massive issue however is that there is no knight in shinning armour, with £10m+ to buy our debt out, and move the club on. Scally knows this, we know this. (hell he even offered to let someone else buy the club if they gave him £xmillion a few years back in the absolute knowledge that there was no such person).

    So where does that leave us? I hear administration being muted – Scally is too bothered about how this would effect his own personnal standing, not financially, but as he is seen by the public, bankers, local businessmen etc…he wouldn’t be able to hold his head up in Kent ever again – you COULD say in that particular issue, it is the right way to do business?! – (Look at ex Mr Publicity Sheepshanks at Ipswich since they did exactly that, you hardly ever see him anymore, he has lost all credibility) But it is his mismanagement that has got us here.

    Either Scally carries on and he pulls it round, but with NO investment on any front (players, merchandise, marketing, or nice pies!) the more likely scenerio is that he doesn’t and we sink slowly into oblivion, as more and more sponsors, banks etc pull the plug, and we drop down the league.

    Our only real asset is the ground, and that isn’t worth £10m, even if we got a residential planning permission on it, and I am sure RBofS have a charge over it anyway to secure the debt.

    I thought that I might find jotting my thoughts down cathargic, however now I feel really desperate.

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