Adam Bird

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Thursday, 8 March 2007

Feeling Blue

I tend not to write too much about life as a Gills supporter, purely because I find other people manage to sum things up a lot better than I can.

In particular the boys at Brian Moores Head whom have made the transition to traditional fanzine production to online "blogging" with relative ease. The match reports and "headitorials" more often than not capture the mood of the moment and pretty much sum up the events of a particular game or event in a nutshell.

With the current mood amongst the supporters being of doom and gloom the following articles (here and here) were posted recently and cover a lot of what I have been witnessing at Priestfield over the past season or two. They also prompted a lot of my own thoughts on current life as a Gills supporter.

I sent those two articles to my mate Reaso, who is forever a Gills optimist and he wrote back" don't worry, we will be fine, I can feel it". But I couldn't quite find his level.

I am actually deeply worried about the future, even as far as wondering whether I will ever get the chance to take Oliver to see the Gills! Pessimistic I know, but there is so much negativity around at the moment, and so little official information coming out of the club.

Mr Scally is holding a fans forum, offering supporters to put questions to him about issues that many supporters have been feeling, most of which are detailed in the articles above. I hope to read of a good response from the people who go, but again, I am not holding my breath on anything.

The issue of a new stadium is a long and complicated one. But it does appear that it is the final roll of the dice as far as saving a long term future for the club. Priestfield now is an amazing stadium in comparisons to the Priestfield stadium of ten years ago, and if the money situation was not quite so precarious, all would be needed is a new Brian Moores Stand and the transformation would be complete. We are not a well supported club, which again has contributing factors, but the fact remains that Priestfield, fully developed and the club on a safe financial footing would have quite easily catered for our needs for the not to distant future.

The ultimate aim is Premier League football, at least this is the dream set out by Mr Scally, first when he took over and again more recently in the press in relation to the new stadium. But in all reality is this dream ever going to be fulfilled? I can put my hand on my heart and say that I will never expect to see Gillingham play in the Premier League, not in my lifetime. Even when we were in the championship never did I see Gillingham taking a one step further.

I mention being a pessimist, but is this an ultra pessimistic view? Right now, the club is further away from the Premier League than it has ever been, with the debts and current playing squad in need of major surgery.

Teams like Watford, Ipswich Town and Wolverhampton Wanderers are championship clubs who flirt with the Premier League and yo yo between the two leagues. As a football club comparison Gillingham are nowhere near them, and yet a small section of Gills supporters seem to think that because we played five seasons in the Championship we should be comparable with teams like those!

The club needs to reunite the club with its supporters, which for some people is going to be a near impossible task, but once that relationship has been founded it needs to time to grow and a new trust to be built.

The club needs to be given time to make amends for it's mistakes, I say the club, and not Mr Scally, because I am not a believer in one man being the sole responsibility for a businesses actions. If Virgin overcharged me on my credit card bill do I blame Richard Branson?

Some of the supporters need to have a reality check, and realise that we are not a Watford, not an Ipswich and simply don't have the support, the stadium or the money to be able to be in a certain league by default.

It's going to be a struggle to the end of the current season, and we will be having a few more seasons like this one coming up. But the best thing about being a Gillingham fan is this; the same supporters who watched that Halifax game are the same ones who thought the Gills would never play again after Torquay away in 1995. They are the only things that remain the same from the Pulis promotion team, the two trips to Wembley and our seasons in the championship.

Life as a football supporter is never dull, or at least not for a Gills fan!

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