Gillingham chairman Paul Scally delivers his latest set of programme notes.
Until Colchester’s 98th-minute equaliser against Barnsley last weekend it looked like that today’s game wouldn’t have an awful lot riding on it, but their goal deep into stoppage time has given us another chance to try and clinch our second season target.
It’s great to be in this position, everyone at the club has been in a positive frame of mind during the week and with a capacity crowd expected it makes for a very exciting afternoon of football.
We produced one of our best performances of the season to defeat today’s opponents in the reverse fixture in December, and if we can get anywhere near that type of display today then I’m very confident that we can clinch all three points, extend our season and be back at Priestfield on Saturday for the first leg of the play-offs.
That confidence was for everyone to see at our annual Player of the Year awards which took place in the Great Hall last Sunday evening. It was fantastic to see so many people gathered inside the venue, and within Factory, to celebrate the successes that we’ve had during the 2015/16 season.
I am delighted that the club has once again made great progress this year, occupying a top six slot for the vast majority of the campaign and achieving a likely improvement on our league position for the fifth consecutive year. My thanks go out to our Manager Justin Edinburgh for the way he has kept up a strong promotion push with an exciting brand of Football.
A number of awards were presented on the night but I don’t think anybody could argue with Bradley Dack clinching the main prize. He has been absolutely brilliant all season, sadly we lost him through injury at a key time but he thoroughly deserves the accolades he has received.
That includes the Sky Bet League One Player of the Year which was presented to him in Manchester a few weeks ago, and I said to him last weekend that he may need to build himself a bigger trophy cabinet!
John Egan and Max Ehmer also picked up awards, and rightly so. Emmanuel Osadebe claimed the Goal of the Season for his superb effort against Bury and he’s certainly made a name for himself in his first season of professional football.
I was also pleased to present trophies to Rachel Ahem and Courtney Shanley who both play for our Ladies team. Manager Jack Wheeler has done a terrific job and I’m encouraged with how things have developed since we took the ladies under our wing two years ago.
Justin then took to the stage and gave a very motivating speech and it just showed how together this football club is at the moment. Everybody at Priestfield is working together to achieve our goals and I’m very proud of what we’ve been able to do over the last 12 months.
I’d like to say thanks to all the staff who helped organise the evening and enabled things to run smoothly on the night. We couldn’t do it without them and that goes for the office staff as well who have worked tirelessly throughout the year.
I also extend my thanks to title sponsor MEMS for their continued support of the club and we look forward to maintaining our fruitful relationship with them for many years to come.
The awards were streamed live into Factory, which is going from strength to strength since we opened earlier in the year, where a number of fans assembled to cheer on our players, who then made the trip into our bar and restaurant facility where they signed autographs and had pictures taken with their trophies.
One of the staff in attendance was kit man Malcolm Stedman who, as you may have read, is retiring at the end of the season after nearly a decade of loyal service. Suffice to say he has done a fantastic job during his time here and he will be missed.
Up the Gills!
Paul D P Scally
* The full version of these notes first appeared in the Gillingham - Millwall matchday programme on Sunday, May 8th.