Writer: Gillingham Editor
Date:Thursday November 1 2007
Mark Stimson has already enjoyed cup final success three times and a promotion in his short managerial career.
The 39-year-old, who was appointed as the Gills' new manager on Thursday, began his managerial career with Grays and subsequently moved to Stevenage at the start of last season, but resigned a fortnight ago and after being linked with Lincoln and Millwall, he has finally been appointed at Priestfield.
Stimson's playing career was hardly the most successful, but he did make just short of 250 Football League appearances for eight different clubs - including the Gills.
A full-back by trade, he began his career as a trainee at Spurs and it was from them that he joined the Gills in January 1989, and he made 18 appearances for the club, but was unable to help the side avoid relegation that season.
He had already spent time with Leyton Orient the previous season, and after just two senior appearances for Spurs, he was sold to Newcastle for £200,000 in the summer of 1989. He spent four seasons at St James' Park, making 86 appearances before moving to Portsmouth in 1993, having also spent time on loan at Fratton Park the previous season.
He had another loan spell - at Barnet - in 1995 before moving to Southend in March 1996 and finishing his league career at Orient in 1999.
At the age of 31, he dropped out of the league and played for Canvey Island before taking over at Grays in 2003.
He turned Athletic's fortunes round in quick time, avoiding relegation in the 2002/03 season, and then securing a spot in the first ever season of the Conference South in by finishing in the top six the following year.
And it was Grays who won became the first ever Conference South champions, winning the league by 23 points - scoring 118 goals along the way.
To add to that, the Essex club won the FA Trophy, beating a host of Conference clubs along the way.
Among the players that helped Stimson to that success were Freddy Eastwood, Michael Kightly (both now of Wolves), Peterborough's Aaron McLean, Southend's Gary Hooper and Glenn Poole, who has also forged a career in the league with Brentford.
Stimson showed himself to have a good eye for a player, and he repeated the FA Trophy success the following season, while Athletic also performed admirably in the Conference, finishing in third place and losing in the play-offs to Halifax.
But Stimson decided to leave Athletic and move to Stevenage, and after a slow start, he slowly made his mark on Borough and after a strong second half to the campaign, they finished eighth in the Conference, just short of the play-off places.
However, there still was glory for Stimson after Borough won the FA Trophy - the third time in a row Stimson had won the Trophy - by beating Kidderminster at Wembley.
Borough had a bit of a slow start to this season, but soon turned it around and were stopped just short of setting the Conference record for consecutive clean sheets, by keeping seven as they climbed towards the top of the table.
A 4-2 defeat at Torquay was his final game in charge and it left Borough in third place.
Stimson has already tasted success in management and although this level is two steps up from what he is used to, it seems that he gets his teams playing good football and that he has an eye for a talented player - things that are desperately needed at Priestfield after four seasons of disappointment.
While we may not see immediate success, given time to mould his team, Stimson will prove a brilliant asset to Gillingham FC and we here at Vital Gillingham wish him the best of luck in turning the team's fortunes around.
Date:Thursday November 1 2007
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