In the latest instalment of RainhamEndView’s ‘Best XI’ series, we recently caught up with Darren Stock to discuss who he feels have been the best players to feature for the Gills on loan.
Please note that Stocky wanted to include only players who played on loan but never signed permanently, but we have allowed him Max Ehmer due to the fact that he wasn’t officially our player when he first started putting this team together about six months ago.
Considering how long this side has been in the making, it best be a good one, and we hope you enjoy the read.
In a traditional 4-4-2 formation, Stocky has plumped for the following:
Romain Larrieu – Signed as cover for the seemingly permanently injured Kelvin Jack, Larrieu kept five clean sheets in fourteen appearances, providing some much needed experience and composure. Has always got a decent reception when returning with parent club Plymouth.
Michael Harriman – An integral member of the squad that secured its League 1 status just a year after we had won the League 2 title, the attacking right back was equally good going forward as he was defensively. His displays earned him Under 21 international recognition whilst with us.
Harriman’s performances lead to international recognition.
Darren Dennehy – Originally signed as cover for others, Dennehy turned into a very good signing. Equally strong on the deck and in the air, he was part of a team which kept seven clean sheets during his 19 game loan spell. It was a shame he could not be secured on a permanent deal the following season.
Max Ehmer – His quality was there for all to see when he arrived at the club in November 2014, and such was his ability that he looked equally adept alongside either John Egan or Leon Legge, and indeed sometimes both, depending on which system the Gills were implementing.
(Editors note – Stocky was convinced we would not get Max back permanently when picking this side, but has since added he will be huge for us in 2015-16)
Max Ehmer – out of Gills’ reach if you believe Stocky. A career in scouting has been put on hold. Forever.
Jay McEveley – Arrived from Premier League outfit Blackburn Rovers and showed a lot of quality in a side that was lacking and looked destined for relegation. Netted a solitary goal from ten games, he has since gone on to have a decent lower league career.
Jordan Obita – He wasn’t with us for long, but this pacey winger netted three times in a six match spell. His direct running always caught the eye, and he has gone on to feature regularly for Reading over the past few seasons.
Johnathan Douglas – Industrious central midfielder who arrived at the same time as McEveley. His class shone through during his time with us, but sadly he arrived too late to save the Gills from relegation. Since leaving he has forged a decent career for himself, most recently helping Brentford into the Championship Play-Offs.
Douglas sadly arrived too late to stave off relegation.
David Wright – Perhaps not an obvious choice, but no frills Wright played his own key role in the 2012-13 League 2 winning season. Featured in a team that lost only once during his seven games, he helped the Gills complete five shut outs. After he left the side never looked quite so strong defensively, and it was a shame he could not be signed on a full time basis.
Tommy Black – Arriving from Crystal Palace, wide man Black was a superb addition, and in his 17 games for us he found the net on five occasions. The tricky winger was equally adept at scoring goals and creating them.
Frank Nouble – The tall, athletic Nouble arrived on loan from West Ham having been shipped out on more than one occasion previously, and he hit the ground running with a debut strike versus Hereford. Sadly he hasn’t really fulfilled his potential, but while in Kent it was there for all to see with five goals in thirteen games.
HIGH FIVE: Nouble netted five times during his time at the Priestfield.
Chris Dickson – A debut treble made Dickson an immediate fans favourite, and the goals continued to flow during his fourteen game loan spell, including a Van Basten-esque volley at Crewe (approx 1min 25 on the video). Sadly his imperious form for the Gills made it inevitable that he would return to his parent club Charlton. Such was his hot streak that he was named in Ghana’s provisional squad for an African Cup of Nations. Sadly his initial loan spell at Priestfield – a second spell proved nowhere near as fruitful – is still currently the high point of his career, but he will always be remembered fondly in Kent.
Not quite the next big star, but certainly a loan hit at Gillingham.
So there it is, a collection of players who (except for Ehmer) only graced the Priestfield for a short period of time, but who all left their own mark.
You can follow Stocky on Twitter @StockyD_14