Gills boss describes his emotions after securing the league title
Martin Allen heaped praise on his players by saying they are the ones who deserve the credit after clinching the league title on Saturday afternoon.
A 2-2 draw against Wimbledon was enough to secure the championship and ensure the trophy was lifted in front of a sell-out crowd at MEMS Priestfield Stadium, and Martin said it was a unique experience.
He said: “As a Manager it’s the first time I have had anything like this. I have coached a few teams and managed a few teams to get out of relegation but this is unique. We haven’t lost two games on the spin all season, we broke records away from home and the players have been an absolute credit to the club on and off the field and it was a special occasion.
“Eleven thousand people and I was delighted everyone stayed until the end. Fantastic first half performance, second half was jittery and edgy. Credit to the opposition for fighting back which was probably expected but the bottom line is that we got a point and that takes us to be champions.
“My personality and character might not be everybody’s cup of tea but I just do my job, work as hard as I can. I’m a seven days a week person and this is without a shadow of a doubt the highlight of my life, except for my children being born.
“I didn’t do anything as a player; this is something special.
“Now I can smile with my shoulders back and with my head up very proud as Gillingham Manager. I don't think anyone can deny it’s a special moment, we haven’t been champions for 50 years and I don’t see any reason why we can’t kick on,
“I had self belief from day one; you can’t do what I have done without being good at your job.
“This one has been different, it’s fantastic for all the players and we have just managed to motor along.
“I could be the best coach in the world but it’s the players that go over the white line and they deserve all the credit – all the young ones, all the ones who have left did great.
“The ones who have been on loan have done great.
“I never have anybody to prove wrong; I am my own biggest critic. I judge myself and I am hard on myself. My Dad always told me to make the best of the ability I have got and that’s how I have always worked as a player, a person and as a Manager.
“I work six/seven days a week, I certainly don’t do nine until two. I graft so this is the reward for the work I have put in and what the players have put in. It hasn’t come through luck or through chance; it has come from hard work.”
The Manager conceded it was a nervy final few minutes with Wimbledon levelling the scores up at 2-2 and then hitting the post, but he said the opponents were always going to be a threat and is already looking forward to life in League One.
He added: “Let’s not kid ourselves the last 15 minutes was testing and tricky and it was obvious they were going to throw people forward. We were edgy and nervy but hey ho that’s going to happen.
“Thank god we held on with some fantastic blocks and tackles but the bottom line is that we got the point we needed and over the year it's what we have been like all the way through.
“It would have been a dream come true to do it last week, that would have been fantastic there but to do it in front of our own supporters it was absolute magic.
“We’ve got medals around our necks shining in the blue sky, my first ever.
“We’ve got to challenge and improve – I don’t think I have been employed by anybody to be mid table, it's always been at the bottom or at the top and I don’t see it any different now.
“Let’s get some good players in and why not set ourselves the target to go higher and better. I don’t see any reason why to aim mid-table, we have a lot of players under contract.
“I think there is room in the budget to bring in players and that’s what we will do.
“There are some good teams and some big clubs coming down that will be absolutely scared stiff of playing us in their first few games because we will be so strong, we will be powerful on and off the field.
“We are a good club and good to people and we have done it with respect for the opposition, the referees and I think we have conducted ourselves with a professional on and off the field manner and with the players who have left I think we have hopefully dealt with them in the right way.
“I wouldn’t want them to leave here unhappy with me.”
For Martin’s immediate reaction following the game click here.
For the thoughts of Captain Adam Barrett click here.
To watch Martin Allen’s post match press conference click here.