Simon Day – My Greatest Gills XI (with a difference)

As anyone who reads our blog regularly is aware, RainhamEndViews has done a couple of features on fans’ best Gillingham sides based on their time watching the club, using the very original hash tag of #MyGreatestGillsXI.

On this occasion, however, the feature has been done with an ever so slight twist courtesy of Simon Day.

Simon has been an avid Gills follower since 1993 having been taken to his first game by his dad at the age of seven, and hopes for a strong end to this campaign and hopefully a real Play Off push next season.

He he has set his side up in a traditional 4-4-2 formation because, and we quote here, ‘Mike Flanagan would be in charge and not know any better’.

So what is the twist you ask??

Well the clue should come from the Flanagan quote already mentioned.

The difference from any other #MyGreatestGillsXI features that have previously been done is that Simon has kindly (a description we may not agree with after reading through his team) put together his worst ever Gillingham side.

A collection of absolute shockers (in his opinion) who have somehow managed to pull on a Gills shirt and disgrace rather than grace the club.

We would say enjoy the read, but…………… oh what the hell here it comes.

Tony Bullock – Signed as part of Neale Cooper’s “Scottish Revolution”, Bullock came with a decent pedigree. His last match before joining was the Scottish Cup final.  Sadly, that said more about the standard of Scottish football than Bullock’s ability.  He played six times for the Gills, but that included an horrendous 5-0 defeat at Layer Road and that game at Burscough.  On both occasions, Bullock showed a reluctance to dive, catch and perform many of the other functions required of a keeper.  Some keepers are said to have a fear of crosses, Bullock took that a step further, he had a fear of shots.

An unfamiliar sight, Bullock making a save.

Marvin Hamilton – Absolute dross, the fact he played 14 times for the club helps explain our 2008 relegation.  The nadir was the appalling 5-0 defeat at Swindon aka the worst ever Gillingham performance I’ve witnessed (a bold statement given the competition).  A half decent team would have put 20 past us that day, but thanks to woodwork and Swindon ineptitude we kept it to a handful. Or one less than a handful if you’re from Swindon.  Hamilton looked like a man who’d won a competition to be a pro footballer – regularly skinned, regularly on his arse and regularly shanking the ball.  The fact he stood out as being bad on that day is a pretty damming verdict!

Paul Hague – A favourite of fans who like to hark back to the bad old days.  For all the Scally era failings and poor players we’ve witnessed, it could be worse. We could have Paul Hague at centre back.  Hague lacked coordination, defensive ability and a footballing brain.  His highlight in a Gills shirt was a 25 yard lob against (I think) Barnet. Unfortunately it was at the wrong end.

Tony Sinclair – During his career, Sinclair has played for footballing heavyweights Beckenham (twice), Maidstone, Fisher and currently Dulwich Hamlet, yet for one season Andy Hessenthaler saw fit to make him a regular in the Gillingham defence.  It’s not that Sinclair made loads of blunders or scored own goals, he was just very poor at defending. No pace, presence or aerial ability made him look exactly what he was.  A non-league player out of his depth.

Sinclair – Not one of Hess’ greatest ideas according to Simon.

Brian Statham – Tony Pulis is my favourite ever Gillingham manager, but even he made a few faux pas in the transfer market.   A rugged (aka dirty) defender, he had a worrying inability to keep the ball on the pitch and balls down the line would invariably end up in the Gordon Road.  He also got sent off twice in the first half of the 1996-97 season, once for starting a brawl in his own penalty area at Brantford. The subsequent red card and penalty didn’t help our chances that evening.

Aaron Brown – A tough choice between him and Barry Cogan for a place in this side.  Both were signed in the last knockings of Ronnie Jepson’s time in charge.  Both were wingers, neither weighed more than about five stone and neither possessed any pace or skill.  In fairness to Cogan, he has actually found a decent niche for himself with Dover in the Conference. Brown now plays for Hungerford Town in the Evo-Stick Southern League.

Andy Ramage – The worst Gillingham player I’ve ever seen.  An awful midfielder from the Flanagan era.   Some midfielders are passers, some are dribblers and some are tacklers. To this day I’ve no idea what camp Ramage fell into.  He was just there, watching the ball go round the pitch and chugging after it to no effect.  Once got booked and the referee accidentally put his name in the book as “Damage”.

Steve Lomas – Easily the best player on this list and trumpeted as a massive coup for the club.  Sadly his best days were long gone when he signed and keeping up with the game was a task that proved beyond him.  His debut at Cheltenham ended in a red card, and after a few games it was clear that he was shot. The nadir came during a woeful 4-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest, the 4th goal saw Lomas give the ball away in midfield, then make no attempt to chase back or do anything to help stop Forest strolling in for another goal.  He just stood with his hands on his hips, possibly contemplating a move into management!

Lomas was well past his best when he arrived at Gills.

Stuart Thurgood – Some of Mark Stimson’s non-league signings worked (Jackson, Nutter, Miller, Fuller) some were hit and miss (Oli, Julian), then there was Stuart Thurgood.  Signed from Grays Athletic, Thurgood’s “if it moves kick it” style may have been a success in non-league, but in League 1 it just made him look like a bit silly.

Christian Lee – Peter Taylor undeniably has a great eye for a talented player, so I can’t imagine what he’d been drinking when he decided to sign Christian Lee.  Three appearances at the start of 1999-2000 resulted in zero goals and zero clue.  The only memorable moment was a missed open goal against Oxford that my nan would have been embarrassed about.

Steve Hislop – Another Cooper classic.  He played as a striker, but Hislop’s heat map would have resembled that of a goalkeeper.  If the ball was booted straight to him he’d make a token jump at it.  If it was anywhere that required a bit of effort to get to, he wasn’t interested.   He managed no goals in eight games for the club and I can’t recall him having a shot. Or entering the penalty error. Or running.

Apart from his lack of movement, shots or goals, Hislop was half decent.

NB – Mark McCammon was in the running to be included, but there was a game at Saltergate in the Play Off season where he was almost unplayable.  He scored a brilliant header and the Chesterfield defence couldn’t get close to him, so he misses the cut.

So next time you see Luke Norris fall over in the penalty area, Doug Loft over hit a cross or Gavin Hoyte sky a clearance, just sit back and relax, happy in the knowledge that things could be a lot worse.

You can follow Simon on Twitter @siday38

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