All posts tagged 'Southend'

Back to reality

by The Gills Blog, with Luke Cawdell Sunday, September 26 2010

IT was back to normality with a bump for myself at Priestfield on Saturday.

After spending the last two Saturday afternoons with my feet up, enjoying the glorious sunshine in Spain, I was back in the press box at Priestfield this weekend.

It may still be September but it was freezing up at the back of the Medway Stand and the gloves and woolly hat are definitely coming out for the match against Southend on Tuesday night.

I like the fact that Burton came looking for a win, a rather refreshing change and something I don’t think we’ll see at Priestfield too often this season, although their football wasn’t exactly creative.

Unfortunately where Burton went Gillingham followed and there was a bit too much long ball going on for my liking and clearly for Andy Hessenthaler as well. He managed to get the team a bit more disciplined after the break and I reckon by 90 minutes the Gills deserved the win.

Quick to rub salt in the wounds, one of our regular contributors to the coveritlive text commentary let me know it was 32c over in Spain. Thanks for that GillSpain!

Looking outside from the KM Medway office the weather is still looking pretty grim at the minute on Sunday evening. We have just about finished putting together the Monday paper, which is pretty chocker this week following a lengthy post-match press conference after the game on Saturday.

Hessy is a top man when it comes to dealing with the press and a far cry from some recent managers at Priestfield.

The job of a local footy reporter can be made pretty difficult if the manager isn’t very cooperative or doesn’t appreciate the value of the media.

There are certainly still some characters about in football and it was quite refreshing to sit in on a press conference with Southend boss Paul Sturrock recently. He waltzed in after pretty much telling Gills’ assistant Ian Hendon to hurry up "because I need the toilet." Although his language was less polite!

I think Ian was all-too happy to cut short his press commitments after Hess decided to let his no.2 do the duties that evening.

Throughout the week we have to deal with non-league managers across Kent and you certainly get a mixed back. I have spent some time this Sunday trying to get some reaction to Chatham’s win over Walton. The manager didn’t answer his phone, the assistant did - but he was in Trinidad - and the player/coach got sent off in the game for an "off the ball incident" so it was no surprise he didn’t pick up!

Back to Hess and he was telling us about new boy Bruce Inkango and how he turned up without a suit on Saturday. Eager to avoid an early fine he apparently borrowed the kit-man Malcom’s suit from when they went to Wembley and it fitted a dream. They even managed to dig him out a tie. Pic of Malcolm below! Hopefully Malc didn't leave any fags in the pockets.

I was quite interested to see Nicky Southall giving Bruce several minutes of instructions before he came on as sub. Apparently Bruce's English isn't very good so god knows how that conversation went!

It was good news to hear that Simon King might be on the way back before Christmas, though he really does need to sort that barnet out. Hess said it makes him look like a girl but if he can recapture the form of old I guess nobody will really care.

I also heard the match-day announcer Doug say it was Barry Fuller’s birthday on Saturday. All the records I have found suggest his birthday is in August and the Gills press officer looked none the wiser. Does anyone know how old Fuller really is?

Anyway, roll on Southend, and if you are going don’t forget to wrap up warm!



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Categories: Gills

Time to deliver

by The Gills Blog, with Luke Cawdell Tuesday, September 21 2010

After two weeks in Spain I expected to return to see the Gills flying high in League 2 but I was shocked to see them sitting in 20th - just a point off bottom team Barnet.

Looking at things from afar it’s easy to see why so many people are getting agitated, after all the bookies were tipping the Gills to win the league, the manager and chairman were saying much the same, and most fans expect to be back in League 1 next season.

We are only seven games in and it’s still early but the gap between the Gills and top team Shrewsbury (the only team Gills have beaten so far) is already 10 points and margins like that aren’t easy to make up, especially when you’re scratching around trying to get a result.

Injuries have clearly hampered the Gills so far but a lack of confidence must also be creeping in. Players are big worriers and they’ll be only too aware of how disappointing the results have been. The longer it goes on the harder it’s going to be to get into a winning swing. The last minute blunder at Bradford must have been a massive body-blow to the players, as well as the fans.

Lance Cronin was singled out by the Gills boss for his error on Saturday but the players need to take collective blame - after all, where were the goals? When you don’t score you are always putting yourself under added pressure.

That pressure is mounting and it’s no surprise to hear the fans getting frustrated. The team looks good enough on paper and they need to start proving they are good enough by getting some points on the board.

Luckily we’re still in September and all is not lost. With two winnable home games coming up, against Burton and Southend, this really could be the time for the Gills to get going.

While on my hols I did have the pleasure to witness France being beaten by a last minute goal against Belarus - much to the annoyance and anger of the bar full of Les Bleus fans. I imagine there was much the same reaction from Gillingham fans in Bradford following the late defeat there.

There is never a shortage of under-performing teams and at the moment Gills are doing that in a big way. Hopefully the Gills can head into October with six more points and start hunting down those table-toppers. 

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Categories: Gills | Sport

Oh we do love to be beside the seaside (just not in Morecambe)

by The Gills Blog, with Luke Cawdell Monday, August 30 2010

Eric Morecambe without Ernie Wise is a bit like playing well but not scoring.

To have them both together is a bonus and it’s something Gillingham are not getting right at the moment.

Against the Morecambe football team the Gills should have walked away with their first away win since May 09, but instead only just escaped with a point.

I suppose if you are going to draw a game, it’s always more satisfying to come from behind late on, and the final few minutes at Morecambe were pretty entertaining for the handful of Gills fans who had made the trip.

Only against Lincoln, and when the defence imploded against Norwich, have the Gills looked bad but without those goals it’s meant a hard slog for Andy Hessenthaler’s men in the first month of the season.

I don’t think there is any need to panic just yet though. Players are still coming back (seven were out injured on Saturday) and those teams with bigger squads generally come out on top in the end, and in League 2 the Gills certainly have a sizeable and decent bunch to choose from.

There were mixed responses from anyone I spoke to about Morecambe’s ground and personally there was a feeling that something was not quite right about it.

To have built a new stadium that is pretty much three-sided seems quite bizarre and it the whole place felt a bit bland.

I can understand them not wanting to go over-board like Darlington and build a stadium ridiculously excessive for their needs, but Morecambe seem to have gone the complete opposite and spent millions on a new ground that does little to capture the imagination.

The fans behind the Shrimps goal were largely quiet as well and even the lad with the drum seemed to have lost his enthusiasm.

We had a little drive to the sea-front after the game and I’m not sure if it was the weather (cold and wet) but the place was deserted and dreary. The only action was at the pub on the sea-front that was swarming with police and drunken girls.

On a plus side though the chips and curry sauce were top quality. A statue of a jovial Eric Morecambe looks quite out of place here but he obviously came when the sun was out.

It was great to see Danny Spiller off the mark with a goal at Morecambe and the way the players celebrated suggests there is a real team spirit developing, something that I think is going to be key.

It was a trip to Morecambe last time the Gills were in League 2 that helped change their season.

The Gillingham team, who at the time were struggling to force their way into the play-off picture, took in away games against Morecambe and Port Vale and stayed over for almost a week for a real team bonding exercise. They won them both and did enough in the second half of the season to make the play-offs.

Let’s hope the trip on Saturday can kick start this current campaign.

For anybody that is already writing the Gills off, it’s worth remembering that Barnet made the early running last season, under Ian Hendon, but with no funds to strengthen when they needed the extra push the team soon started to slide and only just avoided relegation at the end of the campaign.

Like the Gills, Bradford are also failing to live up to expectations and Peter Taylor made some refreshing comments after a shock 2-0 home defeat to Southend. He took the blame, saying: “I’m the one that puts the players together and when they play like that it’s my fault.”

“I signed the majority of the players so the way we played is down to me. There are no excuses.”

It’s nice to see a manager taking responsibility and I’m sure the expectation levels at Bradford (joint faves for promotion with the Gills) means he’s under massive pressure to succeed.

Chairman aren’t, generally, very lenient these days and Alan Pardew lasted just three league games before getting the boot.

A draw and a defeat was followed by a 4-0 win over Bristol Rovers, but that wasn’t good enough for the Southampton board. As for the Gills, it’s back to the seaside tonight.

The short trip (dependent on the Dartford crossing) across to Essex beckons as the Gills face Southend in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy South East section.

Not a game to arouse a great deal of excitement but there is a Wembley final at the end of it.

It’s the first time since February 1999 that the Gills have had an away match in the Football League Trophy, when they lost to a golden goal against Millwall.

I’ll be making the trip over and if you want to follow the action via our live commentry service then visit at 7.15pm. We’re getting plenty of followers so far and had one chap from New Zealand logging in on Saturday while watching whales out of his window.

If all you’ve got to look out of the window is a row of parked cars and your neighbours house, then let’s hope the action at Roots Hall keeps you entertained.

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Categories: Gills

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