Neil Harris wants positive momentum to carry on into the 2023/24 season.
Using the cliché of describing Gillingham’s season as a rollercoaster campaign probably wouldn’t do the amount of highs, dips, bumps, and bends justice.
Goal droughts, remarkable unbeaten home runs, three Premier League opponents in the cups, relegation certainties to incredible promotion form, American takeovers, power cuts and the team bus being stuck in gridlocked traffic whilst the players arrived for an away fixture on foot... the season has seen almost everything.
After finishing on a high with an impressive 1-0 victory over play-off bound Salford, Harris gave his assessment on one of the most eventful seasons at ME7 ever.
“I can break the season into three,” reflected Harris after the final whistle of the final game. “The first half of the season was my most difficult spell in professional football and I even doubted myself, it was a disaster, I give that a 0.5 out of 10. The second half of the season has been outstanding, 41 points, where does that leave us in the league table, probably second. It’s a big score maybe an 8 or 9 out of 10. And then there are the cups, we had Leicester on live TV in the FA Cup and it was a great experience for the boys and we should have beat them. The Carabao Cup was outstanding, to win at Brentford, that gave us belief and hope that there was a bright future.”
The future certainly seems bright, since January the Gills have taken scalp after scalp, enjoying a great defensive record, scoring freely and having a major influence on league standings at the top end of the table.
“We have shown that with the group we have got we are a top seven side,” said Harris. “We beat Leyton Orient, we were miles better than Carlisle, Stockport we conceded in the last minute, we should have won at Bradford and now we have won at Salford, so it shows that we are competitive.
“We don’t want to stand still, I want to develop and improve the group, I want players that can go into the starting eleven and the club are going to try and support that with their business over the summer. I want us to keep moving forward and keep getting better. We want competition for places and I want us to start well. I want to carry this momentum that we have built at the football club on the pitch into next season.
“We have seen Orient celebrate on our pitch and we have seen Salford celebrate today, we want to taste that, that’s why we are in the game.
“I want to enjoy what we have achieved since January and enjoy what we have built but I want to take a break and then really focus on next season.”
The 22/23 Sky Bet League Two season has now been consigned to history, but the memories of both the highs and lows are likely to live on for a long, long time.