Blog: Evans divides opinions at Gills
Blog: Evans divides opinions at Gills

When Steve Evans arrived at Gillingham, a large number of Gills fans were not sure on the appointment – most, in fact.

Evans and Gillingham have history, and Evans has his own history. He’s been a success on the field, sure, but he’s not really got the best reputation off it. Fans feared he would ruin the club’s finances, reputation, and spirit.

Fast forward three weeks involving a Q&A and five signings, and I think a fair few fans are changing their minds.

At a Q&A session held at Priestfield a couple of weeks ago now, Evans answered everything thrown at him. He spoke about his past (and cleared it up very well, actually), he spoke passionately, and he spoke openly.

He mentioned the players he likes and that he has asked players to move on. He spoke of his ‘passionate’ past, and how he knows he needs to try and keep a lid on it as well as touching on the home form, the midfield and outgoing players.

He was upfront and honest with fans, and I think that was what they wanted. He definitely built a few bridges that night.

In terms of signings, all is good so far at Gillingham. We’ve said goodbye to key players of the past, such as Tomás Holy, Luke O’Neill, and almost certainly Tom Eaves, but we’ve said hello to 5 fresh faces.

The first signing of the Steve Evans era was Connor Ogilvie, who was revealed at Evans’ first presser. I was happy with this signing because Connor knows Gillingham and Gillingham know Connor after he spent the last two years here on loan. It was good to get him in on a permanent deal.

After struggling somewhat at left back, Ogilvie excelled in a more central role, and Evans assured fans that’s where we’ll see most of him going forward. Good news.

Then came goalkeeper Jack Bonham. Jack has League One experience and was on loan at Bristol Rovers last season, ranking in the top 5 for clean sheets in the league. He’ll be our number one going forward and I’m chuffed with it and I even think, whisper it quietly, we’ve upgraded.

Lee Hodson was the third signing, coming in as our new number 2 to compete with Barry Fuller for the right back spot next season. Whilst Barry is a more defensively minded fullback, Hodson will look to get forward more often, so it’s good to have that balance.

Stuart O’Keefe and Matty Willock are the latest men through the door, two central midfielders – an area Evans made clear needs improving. Stuart will look to do the dirty work and get stuck in, whilst Matty is a more composed player, confident both picking a pass and dribbling with the ball.

I’m certain there will be many players more through the door, too.

I’m happy with the summer so far. Steve Evans is a man on a mission and I like that. He’s made it clear what needs doing and how he’s going to do it, and the future is promising. I’m looking forward to pre season to see how the side looks and how the new signings gel, and then we’ll see how we can do in League One next season.

One thing is for sure; the Steve Evans era is well underway at Gillingham.