Flippin’eck, we’ve created a monster! We’ve only been online for one month and we’ve already seen our 10,000th visitor. Thanks to everybody for paying us a visit. I trust we’ll be in your bookmarks now and you’ll pay us regular visits as the season progresses.
So, what have we seen so far this season? A pretty mixed bag, if we’re honest. A hugely encouraging performance in the opening game against Huddersfield was soon forgotten as we lapsed into some of the depressing form we showed last season.
The difference between this season and last year’s debacle showings is the noticeable level of effort being put in. Our squad is a poor relation when compared to the last squad we had at this level, back in 2000, no doubt about that – but it does seem the collective spirit is moving towards that unshakable belief we saw so clearly in the boys of 2000.
Thankfully a few defeats, and a few chants of Scally Out later, we’re back on the rails, so it seems. A superb team performance against Doncaster Rovers at Belle Vue meant even the double handicap of losing Danny Jackman to an early red card AND the not insignificant fact that Big Rich was in the ground couldn’t stop the Gills posting something of an historic away win.
But the key, as we all know, is to follow up a good win with another one – and in League One, that’s easier said than done. We needed a big game, and for the Gills, Millwall’s always a biggie. It’s the nearest thing we have to a local derby these days, and the players responded magnificently, despite some of them clearly being knackered, to record our second home win of the season.
The sideshow that has accompanied events on the pitch has, as if I needed to tell you, been the increasing tension between the Gillingham supporters and chairman Paul Scally.
Now I’ll admit I’ve been vocal in my criticism of the chairman. You can’t just spend £9m on a stand that was budgeted to cost £3.9m and expect to blame it on everyone else. But that’s what he wants us to believe.
According to our leader, our financial situation was due to the ‘arrogance and negligence of others’. One can only assume, then, that these mysterious ‘others’ signed off all that over-priced building work on our ground without Scally’s say so, gave a manager who was out of ideas a lucrative new contract, allowed our commercial team to disintegrate and was evasive and rude to shareholders in the AGM.
Regardless, Scally has polarised the fanbase, with some fans saying he should go and others saying he should stay. Whether those who say he should stay actually trust him, or whether their opinion is based on the fact that we have no idea if anyone will save us if he leaves is anyone’s guess.
The fans who have dared to criticise the man who has taken us into over £10m of debt have apparently been told to throw away their computers, which has obviously led to the BMH team becoming rather concerned at the prospect of losing our loyal readership.
But we have another idea. Before you consign your PC to the bin, why not stay with it? Stay online, read the varied opinions you’ll see on the various message boards. You’ll have to sort the wheat from the chaff, for sure, but in amongst all the crap you’ll find that a sigificant number of the Gillingham fanbase are clued up and are certainly nowhere near as naive and uninformed as our chairman would have you believe.
Regardless of who you believe put us in the shit, the issue of whether Scally will get us out of it remains to be seen. What we’re left to deal with at the moment is some sort of strange reality where normal laws seem not to apply. After all, we can’t afford a loan striker yet we’re looking to build a new stadium. Go figure.
One thing is simple enough to understand – Scally needs to pull a Digby-sized rabbit from his hat if we’re to get out of the brown smelly stuff. Effectively he’ll need to sell Priestfield (aka Operation Debt Restructuring, perhaps?) to cover the debt and get third party investors to finance the new stadium, virtually in its entirety. It’s not impossible, but it’s not exactly easy. If he does it, and delivers on his promise that he’ll leave us with a new stadium and on a sure financial footing, then he’ll deserve a huge pat on the back, regardless of what’s gone before.
Whether the fans believe he is capable of delivering on that promise is another matter – and more importantly, will the bank and their solicitors even let him try?
Hold on people, it’s going to be a bumpy ride…