Gillingham unveil the controversial Steve Evans as their new manager
GILLINGHAM chairman Paul Scally has unveiled the controversial Steve Evans as their new manager.
The decision to appoint the unpopular 56-year-old Glaswegian, who has previously managed Stamford, Boston United, Crawley Town, Rotherham United, Leeds United, Mansfield Town and Peterborough United, has gone down like a lead balloon by the Priestfield Stadium faithful but Evans will take charge of the League One club on 1 June 2019.
Mr Scally has issued a statement within his chairman’s report, which was published on www.gillinghamfootballclub.com and has invited fans to meet Evans at a fans forum in June to get to know Steve Lovell’s successor.
He said: “Sometimes my decisions have been baffling to some and sometimes I have been unable to explain them, mainly due to confidentiality or so as to not break promises or trust, quite normal in any business environment but always I have acted in the best interests of Gillingham Football Club.
“Our season ended with the team being just under midtable and five points above relegation (finishing in thirteenth-place in League One with 55 points from 46 games), with a poor home record but a better away.
“We saw some great performances but to be fair some not so great. In my view we need to do better next season. We need to be very organised, our recruitment must be very precise, we must all work harder. Our preparation must be excellent.
“We need to create a buzz around the club. We need some fun times back and we need to enjoy going to Priestfield again and watch the team winning more games. Not too much to ask.
“I’m grateful to Steve Lovell for his efforts during his time as manager, a great guy, good friend to me and the club so I wish him every success in the future and we move on.
“I have, as is normal, had many enquiries for the vacant managers role and have had discussions with a number of candidates.
“I profile the type of manager I believe we need at Priestfield, not a Priest but a Warrior, a winner, a fighter, a hard worker. Someone who can bring success to the club and has enjoyed success in the past.
“I have seen comments from various quarters about one of the candidates I have met with, Steve Evans, and I’m disappointed by some of what I’ve seen, although to be fair I do understand some concerns supporters have, given Steve has had less than a “priestly,” past record, albeit this has to be tempered against the positives of his passion and will to win and succeed. I am also less than a Steve Evans fan before I got to know him.
“I do, of course, have the advantage over most of having met and spoken to Steve on a number of occasions, got to know him well and of course we have discussed his need to temper his outbursts and to try and focus his energy in a more positive manner.
“Steve is no fool and neither am I to be fair. He is aware of comments against him from some supporters about his reputation, about what people are saying about his past but I would never entertain the prospect of bringing in a manager whom I thought was wrong for the club and although no manager comes with guarantees I can categorically say that Steve Evans is by far the best candidate for the role I have seen and I intend to appoint him as club manager and he will commence his role on 1 June.
“Steve has had good success as a manager in the past and I fully expect him to bring us success both on and off the field, working within our budgets.
“He also had a successful career in commercial business before his time in football, so he is well balanced in how business works and the needs to increase revenue from non-football related activities.
“I urge all fans to give Steve a chance and judge him on his merits over time.
“We all have skeletons in the cupboard and past history. We can’t actually change the past, what’s important is looking forward not back and whether we can change the future.
“Steve will be a big asset to this club in my view. He wants fans to get to know him before totally writing him off to understand his vision, his philosophy and his passion and as such we have convened a fans open night on Tuesday 4 June whereby you are all invited to attend The Factory/ The Great Hall at Priestfield Stadium 19:30-19:30 to meet the man in person, ask your questions, get off your chest any gripes and listen to his point of view, followed by a less formal discussion in The Factory. You may just be surprised by what you hear.
“It will be an open mic event – Steve will talk openly and honestly, will answer all your questions and address any fears.
“I promise you he will be candid and whether or not it changes your view on him as a person, whether you like what you hear, I guarantee you will go away better informed.
“He, like us all, only wants success for Gillingham Football Club but he needs you all with him, united in trying to bring success to our club.”
Visit Gillingham’s website: www.gillinghamfootballclub.com