Gills Captain thanks fans, management and players after winning Player of the Year.
Gills skipper Kyle Dempsey ended his first season with the club as the Supporter’s Player of the Year earlier this month, and he said he was delighted to win such a coveted award.
Dempsey, who signed from Fleetwood Town last summer, scored eight goals and grabbed five assists during the 2020/21 season, playing an instrumental part in helping Steve Evans’ side achieve another top ten finish.
The midfielder credited his excellent form to the supporters, who spurred him on throughout the campaign, and is delighted that his consistent and hard-working performances have received recognition.
“Since I’ve come through the door, they’ve been top class with me, and I think it has pushed me on week in and week out to go out and put a performance in for them," he said. "I’m gutted that they’ve not been there to witness me playing week in and week out.
“To receive that award, it’s a massive honour for me to have the recognition from all of the fans that I’ve played well this year. It’s been a really good year for me.”
After joining the club in the summer, the 25-year-old was named club captain after an impressive pre-season. In a season that was full of highs, there was only one moment that would come out on top for Dempsey.
“A personal highlight for myself was being named captain of the club. I think for me that was a massive honour because I’ve come down here in my first year, don’t know any of the lads.
“You’ve seen game in and game out that I’ve taken it in my stride. I felt with the captaincy, you’ve got to put in consistent performances and lead the lads on, and I think that’s what I’ve tried to do, and done.”
After the 2019/20 season, the Gills squad was a depleted following a number of departures. The club started the pre-season not being able to field a full starting XI. Despite this, Dempsey and co were in the play-off hunt until the final two games and missed out on the top six by seven points. The Gills captain was proud of what the squad was able to accomplish, considering the majority of the players had never worked with one another before the season.
“If you look at the start of the year, we didn’t have many players in the building. It was a full rebuild of a squad. I didn’t get there until two weeks before the season started, and if you look for what we’ve achieved and how far we’ve come, and to be within touching distance of the play-offs.
“I think it’s a massive credit to the club, the coaching staff and the squad because I don’t think there would have been many teams from the start of the year that would have been able to do this from a full rebuild.”