As any of you who read my blog or follow me on Twitter will know, I have an opinion on pretty much anything football related, and even more so if it involves our beloved Gillingham Football Club.
Yesterday afternoons club statement however – yes you know the one I’m referring to – actually left me speechless.
We had signed a player, given him a contract until the end of the season, and then claimed that we didn’t know of an FIFA ruling meaning we cannot actually play him until next season!
Now I hear you all….. Only this could happen to us!
Yet, in the hours since our statement it seems other clubs have fallen into the same trap, even though the ruling is apparently even present in the popular gaming series ‘Football Manager‘.
So luckily another club are as daft as us to soften the blow ever so slightly.
Anyway, I digress…..
What the whole sorry incident has done is get me thinking about the so far arduous 216-17 campaign as a whole, and where things have sadly gone horribly wrong.
Here are my best – tongue in cheek as to not offend those of a precious disposition – Gillingham disaster moments of the season so far.
The Jamie O’Hara Saga
Remember those sunny days back in August, where we were winning games and all our ‘superstar‘ signings were just settling in on route to guiding us to the League One title? Nah, ok.
Well one big name was Jamie O’Hara, who arrived on a free boasting Premier League and Championship experience with Spurs, Wolves, Portsmouth, Blackpool and Fulham.
What a coup.
He did play for us, honest.
Still only 30, him and his perfectly coiffured quiff pitched up telling anyone who would listen how he felt we were a club ‘going places‘.
Just a few weeks and three small cameos later he had his contract terminated due to injury.
He appeared on The Football League Show – just prior to Christmas I believe – telling all and sundry his was fit and ready to play again, but his most recent club was the one he is rumoured to have fallen out of with his Celebrity Big Brother pal Callum Best.
AFC Wimbledon 2 Gills 0
Where do I start?
This was my third away adventure of the season after Southend on the opening day and Tottenham in the EFL Cup.
I simply wish I hadn’t bothered.
It rained all the way up there and it rained immediately after we had been beaten two zip, meaning I spent the entire journey home wringing out my cap and hoody.
But that was actually the highlight, which leads me delightfully onto our ‘performance‘.
Now it’s difficult to choose what my ‘favourite’ part was.
Was it Jay Emmanuel Thomas’ ‘elephant in cement‘ impression whenever the ball was in the vicinity of his bonce? Swazzy.
Or was it watching our best player go down with another injury inside the first quarter of an hour?
What about his replacement – who bless him had to play without a name or number due to a kit room malfunction – setting up their first goal with a 60 yard blind back pass that sent Dominic Poleon on his jet heeled merry way?
Or our young West Ham loanee being told by the man in the middle to not pull his man’s shirt in the box literally seconds before trying to lay the Smackdown on his candy ass! Cue a penalty and us two down before the half time pies had cooled.
No name, no number, no sense.
Surely that’s enough isn’t it…..? But then this is Gills in 2016-17.
To top all of this, our nameless and numberless boy wonder flicked the middle digit to the home fans in the dying embers of the game and was dismissed.
To quote a saggy faced ex-Premier League gaffer, t’riffic.
Gills 1 Oldham 2
With only one win in nine games, having suffered back to back defeats and had the misfortune of following us to AFC Wimbledon, the visit of the division’s bottom side was a perfect opportunity for the Gills to get back on the winning trail and restore all faith.
All was going swimmingly for the boys in blue, as we lead through a 10th minute Cody McDonald goal and looked generally solid.
Cue Justin Edinburgh turning into the 2003-04 version of Claudio Ranieri, changing the system for reasons unbeknown to everyone expect himself.
Shortly after came the obligatory concession of a goal – I don’t have to go into our clean sheet issues do I – as we surrendered all territorial advantage we had gained in the first period.
Kent’s very own ‘Tinkerman’ then attempted to rectify this by taking off our main creative influence, then change the system again and bring on an additional defender – because that gets you back on the front foot doesn’t it – before you know what happened.
The Tinkerman’s work is complete. 2-1 down.
Yep, we gifted them another goal in the last minute to lose to the worst side in the league.
After this we didn’t win in five before the West Brom Under 12’s graciously showed us some mercy by rolling over and letting us tickle their bellies.
Corner turned, according to Claudio, sorry Justin.
Gills 0 Oxford 1
There are bad performances, and then there are very bad performances.
Then there’s about fifty foot of the brown stuff, and somewhere below that was our display at home to the Oxford.
I am not going to go into details on our display; instead I’ll just let you ‘enjoy‘ my rant in the video below.
But to top that off Mr Edinburgh’s comments after that we were overachieving in 17th place were that of a man on the edge.
Nerves shot, confidence gone, what proved to be his final show of mindless defiance was as incredible as it was quite frankly stupid.
Paul Scally clearly felt the same, and Justin was sent packing the very next morning.
The Bondz N’Gala Saga
So to yesterday afternoon, when that magical moment arrived.
Notification on Twitter, tick. The official Gills page has tweeted, tick. Player incoming, tick.
It’s only a bloody defender!!
You can just imagine the delirium and excitement when it was announced the Gills had signed Bondz N’Gala, a big powerful brute of a centre back recently released from….. Eastleigh.
Now don’t all trip over the tumble weed.
The shirt is blue at least.
But after any tumble weed related disasters were averted this was still a real life, bone fidé centre back, and he was ours.
This wasn’t someone in on loan, he was our player to keep.
Ok, when I say delirium and excitement I mean a sense of luke warm hope and ‘well it’s a centre back‘.
Two hours later we were back to square one when – as I mentioned at the top of this article – it became apparent that we can’t actually play him as he’s already featured for two other teams in this current campaign, turning out for Barnet before joining Eastleigh.
To coin a phrase popular on social media, what banter.
Except we are now potentially going to have to pay this fella until the summer for effectively twiddling his thumbs.
He can’t play after all,
In a season where we keep thinking things cannot get any worse we just keep surpassing ourselves.
Bravo Gillingham FC, I still love you so.
Keep smiling everybody.
UP THE GILLS!!