Date:Wednesday May 2 2012
On May 1st 2010, Gillingham celebrated victory over former Premiership outfit Southampton at the Priestfield Stadium in front of a capacity crowd.
Two years on to the day, the Saints are back in the big time, while the hosts are now begrudgingly getting prepared for another season in the fourth tier of English football. How fortunes change.
I suppose from their point of view, Southampton will say that they are back where they belong, more power to them. But what do us as Gillingham supporters through thick and thin, really have to say?
I started supporting the club in 1996. The club was as they are now, in the fourth tier. As a kid of eight years old I guess it can go either way. Your dad, brother, cousin etc. can drag you along to your local team`s ground kicking and screaming because you would rather stay at home and watch Man United or Arsenal, or, football mad as I was, you can just get unbelievably excited to be going to watch any kind of match in the hope that you`d see goals and incidents galore.
My first game was a 1-0 defeat. I cannot even remember the opposition. But I was immediately hooked. This is a feeling that I have not relinquished even to this day. Anyway, leaving memory lane for a moment and heading back to reality.
The point I will attempt to make here is in fact a question for those Gillingham fans who like me have witnessed the ups and downs since the Paul Scally regime began. As we prepare for another season in League Two, I pose to you the question….is this our level?
We spent some glorious years in The Championship and played some top teams in cup competitions, causing some upsets along the way. But are we a fourth tier team? Were we punching above our weight in all those years in the early 2000`s? I guess I use the Southampton example, not only because of how staggeringly recent it was, but also because it just shows what the correct investment and drive can do to a football club as a whole.
Do not get me wrong, this is not a personal vendetta towards anybody associated with the club. The point of these blogs is to create debate, not single out failure. But you have to wonder if recent showings in both leagues one and two have provided us with an idea of where we are heading. I draw attention to league one under Mark Stimson in which we failed to win a single away game. Sure, at home we beat some top teams, Leeds and oh look, Southampton mentioned again. But the inability to pick up anything on the road and be bowled over time and time again was nothing short of embarrassing.
So the imminent managerial change after relegation happens. Fortunes improve on the road, but at home, performances are inconsistent, wins are decidedly harder to come by, and too often we are seemingly `bullied` by league two teams who, in the vast majority, are stronger both physically and mentally and are able to rise to the occasion.
I guess maybe a lot of fans all over the country lives in a fickle Football Manager kind of world and therefore expectations get raised. In the times where foreign investment is rife in the game, every club dreams of excelling into the limelight of the Premier League and testing themselves against the best teams in the best league in the world. But for us supporters of Gillingham, we must remain realistic and accept that we remain in League Two for several reasons.
Pinpoint them in your own time. You could call it lack of investment, players simply not good enough, tactical ineptitude etc….but as one disappointing season bows out on Saturday; we have to face facts that whether we should be or not, we have no choice but to look forward to the traditional pre-season buzz before we give promotion another stab in 2012/2013.
Written by TTSN
Date:Wednesday May 2 2012
COC Draw: Déjà Vu For Gills (Tuesday June 18 2013)
Pre-Season: Ipswich Added (Friday June 14 2013)
A Payne Of A Deal! (Friday June 14 2013)
Capital One Cup: Gills Miss Seeding (Thursday June 13 2013)
Martin Closes In On New Deal (Wednesday June 12 2013)
Looking To Keep Trio (Wednesday June 12 2013)
Midfielder Arrives (Tuesday June 11 2013)
Birmingham Eye Payne Move (Thursday June 6 2013)
Extended Deadline (Tuesday June 4 2013)
Lee And Birchall Transfer Listed (Friday May 31 2013)
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