This is a copy of the letter that RainhamEndViews sent to our Chairman on January 16th 2015:
Dear Mr Scally,
Before we go any further I would like to say that as a supporter I appreciate the opportunity to write in with any views I have on a potential new Manager/Head Coach for the football club
I know that some ‘fans’ will sadly look for some kind of ulterior motive, but as you are aware that is the nature of the beast with this great game.
Before I go into who I think should be contenders for the managerial vacancy I want to put on record that I thought Peter Taylor was doing a decent job this season with a very young group of players.
Like yourself, from what I have seen in the local press, I did not always agree with his choice of tactics or personnel in certain matches, but I am intelligent enough to know that he was a lot more qualified than me to pick a team on a regular basis.
It is, in my opinion, a shame that the actions of a small minority led to him being relieved of his duties.
Anyway, what is done is done, we move forward.
There are a lot of names being chucked about in the press and on social media, but judging by the altering prices of many individuals on a daily and hourly basis I am pretty sure that the bookmakers have a similar level of knowledge as to who the new man will be as I do.
However, you asked for fans opinions, so I will give you mine.
Firstly I think it may be time now for a clean slate with regards to the whole coaching staff of the first team squad.
I am a massive fan of Andy Hessenthaler – always have been, always will be – who will rightly go down in history as one of the Gills’ greats, as well as perhaps your best ever £235,000 (ish) spent.
But I believe it may be time for him to move on or take a step into the background.
He has served this football club wonderfully for the best part of twenty years, and my biggest worry for him now is that his legacy may end up being tainted somewhat.
Regarding the roles of the remaining trio of our current management committee – Darren Hare, Mark Patterson and Steve Lovell – I am sure they can continue with their current jobs within the club.
My personal choice would be to see someone younger come in, someone who with you can set out a clear plan for the future and be given the time and the tools to implement that plan, and based on those criteria I have three individuals I would like to be seriously considered.
Adrian Pennock (age 43)
He is doing a fine job at Forest Green Rovers in the Conference, and has earned his stripes in the lower leagues at Welling United.
He has a win ratio of around 48% from his two coaching roles, he knows this football club inside out, and would surely be a big hit with the fans.
He will also have plenty of connections in the Premier League due to his time at Stoke City, and also through another of our ex managers in Tony Pulis, who has managed at three different Premier League clubs.
Justin Edinburgh (age 45)
Played the game at the very highest level with Tottenham Hotspur, he is another who is at the right age and is successfully working his way up the managerial ladder.
He did a fine job at Rushden and Diamonds – all on a very tight budget – until they sadly went out of business in 2011, reaching the Conference Play-Offs in the 2009-10 campaign.
He has gone on to enhance his reputation further at Newport County, and since his appointment in October 2011 has taken them from the lower echelons of the Conference to the upper reaches of Football League Two, as well as reaching an FA Trophy Final at Wembley.
Paul Jewell (age 50)
Around the managerial game a lot longer than the previous two mentioned, but he is still at a good age at only 50, and he is proven at this level or with so called smaller clubs.
In his first managerial role he took the unfancied Bradford City to the promised land of the Premier League, and against the odds kept them up on the final day of the 1999-00 season.
A short and unsuccessful spell at Sheffield Wednesday followed, and he has since had stints at both Derby County and Ipswich Town, but I think his work at Wigan Athletic is what needs your careful attention.
In just six years in charge he took them from the old Division Two (now League One) all the way to becoming an established Premier League outfit, and he also reached the League Cup Final in the 2005-06 campaign.
During this spell at the club his win ratio was 43.6% from 291 games, and his vast amounts of contacts – having been in the game for around thirty years – can surely only be of benefit to the club moving forwards.
As I have previously touched on, I feel that Peter Taylor was doing a sterling job with a very young squad, and whoever takes over will inherit a group of players who want to learn and can surely only get better.
To a man they have always put in a shift, and even when things haven’t been going so well they have kept trying to do things the right way.
It has been a tough campaign to date, but the overall performances I have witnessed against the likes of Swindon (2-2), Newcastle United (0-1), Peterborough (2-1), Leyton Orient (3-2 & 1-0) and to a degree in patches against Preston (0-1), Crawley Town (1-1) and Bristol City (2-4) show that there is much cause for optimism.
What I think is needed, which I am sure you will discuss with whoever you appoint, is a clear vision of where we want to take the football club, and how we want to get there.
In players like John Egan (22), Jake Hessenthaler (20), Josh Pritchard (22), Luke Norris (21), Bradley Dack (21) and Brennan Dickensen (21) we have a group of individuals who have been in and around the first team squad from a very young age, so yes they will make mistakes.
However, on the flip side, if they are looked after and nurtured correctly then they could become the cornerstone of the side for many years to come.
Added to the more experienced heads of Stuart Nelson (33), Joe Martin (26), Leon Legge (29), Doug Loft (28) and Cody McDonald (28) and there is a nucleus of a very promising squad.
As fans we always want the Chairman to splash the cash, that is obvious, and I am no different.
However, having followed the club since before the dawn of social media (where people can now far too easily target individuals) I will always say one thing to those who think you are running the club incorrectly.
‘If it wasn’t for a Mr Paul Scally then myself and them would not have a Gillingham Football Club to watch every week.’
I appreciate you taking the time to read my thoughts, I look forward to any potential reply (I am available to take over at a fraction of the cost of those I have championed), and I wish you luck with the managerial appointment.