Martin Allen reveals his pride in the players after clinching league championship
Martin Allen said he felt proud and privileged to have been the Manager of the League Two Champions after clinching the title against AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.
The game finished 2-2 after goals from Danny Kedwell and Deon Burton in the first half, and although the visitors scored twice after the interval to snatch a point, the Manager praised his players for their commitment and dedication since the first game of the season.
He said: “It’s amazing, absolutely amazing. Ten months of hard work since we started – thankfully we’ve got a fantastic group of players, really good staff behind the scenes and they seem to have just kept going all the way through.
“It’s the first time Gillingham have won a Championship for 50 years so to be the manager on this special day is a magnificent feeling and the best highlight of my career there is no doubt.
“To get a promotion after being known as a manager that just keeps clubs up, last minute dot com to then be champions after a year is unbelievable.
“It’s great for the club and for the supporters and now we need to build on it and get going. It’s a great feeling and I’m very proud of all the players.
“It’s a lottery win – it's Christmas day and the lottery in one day, money can’t buy that. It’s priceless, absolutely priceless. It’s about the players and the supporters, and in my job you try and do it to the best of your ability and you need good support and help from your staff.
“I’ve had fantastic help from the senior players, and then from above Mr. Scally has been very helpful to me and never criticises me.
“I feel privileged and proud to be the Manager of the Champions of this division.”
Martin stood back on the winner’s podium and allowed the players to take the plaudits after months of tireless effort and determination, and said he felt the applause needed to be aimed towards his squad.
He said: “They deserve it; I stand back and let the players do their bit. I train them and work them but they have to go on the pitch and do it, and they have done it.
“They deserve the accolade, the players have been the most important thing in the club and Mr. Scally has backed me to bring in these players and it’s nice to walk round and wave to everybody but the bottom line is that players are key.
“I think you have to give some credit to AFC Wimbledon – I wrote in my programme notes that they are unique to start a new club, I knew they were going to fight to the end and at 2-2 it was tricky and tense.
“They had chances to go 3-2 and it was scary for the last 15-20 minutes for me as a Manager with the Championship within our fingertips and they were threatening, but I knew they would because over the last few years they have fought every season.
“They have tremendous backing from their supporters, but thankfully we held on and it’s a good point for us. Probably a good point for them and I sincerely do hope that Neal Ardley, his team and their club stay in the football league because I feel they deserve to as a football club.”
To read our official match report click here.
To watch the opening part of Martin’s press conference to the written media click here.