As we embark on a new season Vital Swindon talks to Vital Gillingham on their summer and squad ahead of the new season.
1. Your Name: Gillingham Editor
2. In Brief, summarise Gillingham’s 2008/09 campaign: Job done. We made a bit of a shaky start to life in League Two and got tanked 7-0 at Shrewsbury in September. Changed the captain in October and never looked back. Three defeats in four in March and April cost us automatic promotion, but we were the strongest side in the play-offs and it shone through, with a nice bit of revenge over the Shrews at Wembley.
3. Who’s been transfered in this summer? We’ve signed midfielder Kevin Maher from Oldham, winger Chris Palmer from Walsall and defender Josh Gowling on loan from Carlisle. Hopefully there’s more to come before the end of August – we need another striker.
4. Who’s gone? Andrew Crofts (Brighton), Nicky Southall (Dover), Gary Mulligan (Northampton) and Sean Clohessy (Salisbury) were all released along with a handful of youngsters who didn’t make the grade.
5. Are you happy with your 2009 Pre-Season? Off the pitch, I’m ecstatic. Our best three players have all signed new contracts and the vibe around the club is superb. On it, the results have been fine but we’ve had five players injured, including our brilliant defender Simon King.
6. What are your realistic hopes for Gillingham this season? Steer well clear of the relegation places. Perform better at the County Ground than we did in October 2007 – although I don’t think I’ll ever see a team play as badly as we did that day. I honestly think we’ll surprise a few people with the way we play and finish mid-table.
7. Is Mark Stimson the man to take you forward? Absolutely 100% yes. The man has worked miracles at our club, has completely transformed the playing squad and the whole culture of the place. Getting King, Weston and Barcham to sign new contracts is the mark of what he has done to our club – they’d all have jumped ship at the first opportunity under our previous regime. On the pitch, we play good football and we’re a young, committed team. Last season was the best fun I’ve had watching the Gills in a long time.
8. Who will be your key player(s) this season? Simon King is the main one. He’s scarily good. Andy Barcham is also a hell of a talent, Curtis Weston pulls the strings and then Simeon Jackson smacks the goals in. All four of them have potential to play at a higher level.
9. Who is your young hopeful this season? Two of them. Jack Payne and Luke Rooney.
10. Predictions: Which 3 teams will go up this coming season? Huddersfield, Leeds and MK Dons
11. Predictions: Which 4 are going down? Brentford, Yeovil, Stockport and Exeter.
12. Predictions: Gillingham vs. Swindon Town – Win, lose or draw? Win please.
A big thank you to Gillingham Editor for answering those questions.
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