Martin Allen says team have tried to incorporate fans as much as possible during the season
Martin Allen says he is proud of the positive relationship that he, the management and the players have created with the supporters during the course of the season.
The Gills clinched the league title in front of a sell-out crowd at MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Saturday afternoon in a 2-2 draw with AFC Wimbledon, and Martin praised the fans for the impact they have had on the club’s promotion season.
He said: “Fans are vital, it’s their club. I think the players should, at the end of every game, clap the supporters and thank them for coming.
“It only takes two minutes to do it and it shows respect for the supporters who have paid all the money, which isn’t easy to come by at the minute. But for the people that buy a ticket I think you should respect them whether you win or draw.
“The other bit, which very rarely happens to us, you should still do it. Even if they are giving you abuse, you should still do it. The fact that so many supporters have been on the bench, on the team coach, in the hotel, involved at the training ground or in my office to find out what goes on behind the scenes is unique.
“It doesn’t happen at any other club in the Football League and obviously not the Premier League but we have had people in our dressing room non-stop and at our training ground all the time.
“It’s always been open and I’ve tried and wanted the public to come in, feel it and join us for what we do. It’s hard work at times but do I regret it? No. It’s been magnificent; we have picked people up on the side of the street and took them on the bus to go in to away games.
“We’ve had them in the dressing room and on the pitch – I love doing that and it makes those people’s lives very special and it’s a great feeling.
“I need to have honesty and openness and that’s what they will get.”
Martin admitted he will need some time off to relax and reflect on what has been a successful season, and revealed what his short term plans are.
He said: “I do need some time now to get the team together and build for next season. I want to challenge and make it good for our supporters and players.
“We want to continue the roll we are on. Norwich and Southampton went from Division One to the Premier League and I don’t think we should set our vision for the future any lower. We have done very well I believe with the budget we have had this year.
“We have saved huge amounts medically on scans and injuries and loan players. Hopefully, once we have had good chats with Mr. Scally, who has been very positive about adding – he thinks the same as me, we will go again.
“We play Burton Saturday, we have the `Player of the Year` event on the Sunday, we go to Benidorm on the Monday and we have three days there.
“On the Thursday I’m on a training course to improve my education and learning, and then on Friday I will talk to each player every 15 minutes during the day, and every member of staff to review their performance through the year.
“The next day I am hoping to go away on holiday for a week to ten days to relax, play golf, get some sun, read a book and smile!
“You can imagine after all these years of working and doing what I do – I have had so much upset, so much disappointment, so much sadness, heartache and being unemployed for so long.
“To get a medal, can you believe what that feels like? This time last year I was unemployed and I do need an income to pay my bills. To actually do this and turn it around from where I was, it’s an amazing feeling.”
To watch Martin's interview following the Wimbledon game click here.