A packed Priestfield will be vital to helping the club succeed next season, says Gills boss.
Neil Harris has spoken of the importance of having a full and atmospheric MEMS Priestfield Stadium on a regular basis throughout the 2022/23 season.
Attendances at the ground were in the ascendancy following the manager’s arrival on January 31, and season ticket sales are strong as pre-season quickly approaches.
The Gills boss, who spent time on loan as a player from Nottingham Forest in 2005/06, says it is important Priestfield becomes a difficult place for other teams to play.
Speaking to the club website he said: “It’s crucial [strong season ticket numbers] because the more tickets we sell the more money I get to invest. I’d like to think I understand what the club is and what the fans want to see. We won’t make 3000 passes before having a shot on goal next season because the fans don’t want to see that!
“It’s been a tough period for everybody – staff, players that were here, the Chairman, but in particular the fans who just want to see their team be successful and see a team they can be proud of and I think season ticket sales are up because they can see us moving in the right direction – it will take time for us to develop as a group but the project I talked about when I took over is the long term future of the club.
“I came for two-and-a-half years for a reason, to help build the infrastructure and stability of the club and sometimes moving players and staff on is for the best of the Football Club, and bringing new players in is key.
“There is an excitement to it, but there’s also the unknown. Filling the stadium as early as we can is vital because when you’re in the 85th/86th minute, as we were against Cambridge last season for example, and you need that roar from the Rainham End to suck the ball into the back of the net it makes a difference and it carries the players through – it helps me to do my job, gives me confidence in what we do and ultimately the biggest aim is having a packed Priestfield as often as possible, which means success for us.
“On the pitch it brings people through the turnstile, but also smiles on faces.
“Friends of mine who are season ticket holders, they come and bring their children – they go home happy [if a game is won] so they go to work on Monday happy and their kids go to school happy and it means in years to come we build our fan base, and that’s the aim.”