Gills Boss Martin Allen has won the LMA League Two Manager of the Year Award

Good Evening

I am thrilled, honoured, shocked and surprised to be named the Manager of the Year for League Two.

It was only a year ago I was looking for different career options and was hoping Talksport or Sky Sports would give me an opportunity, or maybe a place on the after dinner speaking circuit, after Barnet had told me I was not going to be offered a contract.

I still have to pinch myself that all this has happened so quickly and, without sounding like a big time Oscar winner, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people that have made this happen.

First and foremost it was Mr Scally who gave me this opportunity last summer. He has backed me with several new players, new staff and let me get on with managing in my style and in my way. He has been very supportive, even if we only drew a game!

Next without a shadow of a doubt all the players that have been with me this season have been an absolute credit, not only to the club but most importantly to themselves and their families, and I include the players that have left for other clubs. I have tried my best to help them and I am grateful that they have responded positively. We have got a very special group of men and I am very, very lucky and can’t thank the players enough for their magnificent achievement in becoming champions.

Next all the supporters that have followed us at home, and away. The passion, the spirit, the camaraderie and the respect shown, even if, at times, the results weren’t ideal. There is a special bond building between all the supporters and this group of players, as I know, the supporters from their visits to the training ground and performances on the pitch have shown total commitment to the club. And they all deserve, in my mind, to be Champions.

Next I must thank all the staff who have helped me, supported me, guided me, challenged me and at times have been kind to me. Special thanks to John Schofield, Carl Muggleton, James Russell and Gary Hemens. They don't get the credit they deserve. They work long hours and they do everything they can to make it the best for our players, and they all appreciate how lucky we are to have a job in football and that it is not a 9 till 2, 4 day week job. They have made my job so much easier and I am so grateful. And they are all Champions.

Next all the staff behind the scenes. They quietly go about their business in the background; they have helped me, looked after me and supported me. They play an important part in making this a good football club. I am so grateful to all the people behind the scenes that have found that bit “extra” to help make us Champions.

Just over 18 months ago I won a Manager of the Month award and the very next day I was told by my bosses that they were not happy. From that day I have worked improving, learning and a few truths about myself. It’s been the biggest challenge not only in my career but probably in my life.

I have worked privately with a coach/tutor/teacher/mentor to improve myself as a person, a partner, a parent and a manager, through reading books, listening to CD’s, testing tough questioning, reviewing the ups and downs, and trying to find a better way forward. My extra work is on-going and so to now be a Champion is, as you can imagine, very, very special to me personally.

Lastly, my partner Lisa, who has the toughest job of all and that is looking after me as you can imagine! She deserves the Manager of the Year award more than anybody.

Thank you all once again
Manager of the Year
Top Dog
And Champion