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Bonner keen to get started
Bonner keen to get started

New Gillingham boss Mark Bonner has been introduced at Priestfield and he’s told KSN how he can’t wait to get going.

Having been announced as Stephen Clemence’s replacement on Tuesday, Bonner held his first press conference as the new Gills manager on Thursday afternoon.

After less than two days in his new position, the new manager has spelt out his plans for the coming weeks and months.  

The former Cambridge United boss told us, “I was after finding a Club that had similar ambitions to my own and that was a Club that has a chance of being successful, being surrounded by people who believe that you can get there and people who you want to work with.” 

“I am excited by the people that I met when signing and with the people that I have met in the last few days and been really impressed and made to feel really welcome from supporters that I may have seen or heard from online and the staff within the Club.”

“It is very early days and of course has not involved football yet – this is an unusual time to start a job, but hopefully a period that will pay off for us!” 

Bonner then explained that his application for the job “crossed” with the Gills approach to him. “Whilst my CV was making its way to the Club’s inbox, there was a call made to me,” he told us.

“It was Monday evening last week, and I was asked to meet the Club on Tuesday – did not give me much prep time, but it was a pretty informal coffee with Joe (Comper), Brad and Shannon (Galinson) and Kenny (Jackett).”

“Really enjoyed the conversation – I did not know if I would hear anything back, but got a call to come to Priestfield on Friday last week, and I presented to them my thoughts on where we were, where I thought we were and where I could help and make a difference.”

“On Bank Holiday Monday, I got the call that was the nice one and got across the bridge as quickly as I could to get it done!” 

“When you are out of work and you are pitching for a job, the first thing that sells you is number one, your record and what you have done, as that is easy to find.”

“Then from a Club’s perspective they can talk to players, senior staff and directors and find out and reference you and your previous work plays a big part in that picture that Clubs build.”

“And then it is the impression that I can make in the short period of time to give a vision of what I think things look like. But in the end, what you do not know going into that is what does Brad and Shannon want?”

“What does Joe want? Whats does Kenny want? And does what I say mirror and match what they are looking for.”

“If that lovely little thing of synergy happens – and it did – I guess that is when we get to the outcome that we did!”

“For me a little bit around football style, a little bit around the way that I see the team could be structured – and there’s flexibility in that – and obviously my starting point is much less knowledge than everybody else’s in some ways as I don’t know the players yet, I don’t know the Club yet, I don’t know any of the people, and that’s the exciting bit to do next!” 

“We have a clear picture of where we want to be – some of which we can say out loud right now and some we have to hold back!”

“The one thing we’ve got is quite a bit of time – that will go really fast, but we do have the best part of two months until pre-season starts; it gives us an opportunity to build and plan as best we can, and it gives me a chance to get to know as many people as I can, even though they are not here necessarily yet.” 

Of the current squad, Bonner told us, “Conor Masterson came on loan to me at Cambridge when I was there; Max Clark came on loan at Cambridge too as a twenty year-old when I was the Academy manager/first team coach – they are the only two I have direct experience of knowing; everyone else will be new to me!” 

“I would like my team to look like an incredibly energetic team that plays and out scores the opposition, but is incredibly difficult to beat – that is the dream ticket… a real energy about you!” 

“I’ve done some digging into the Club’s Latin slogan, but with this being “the Home of the Shouting Men” made me feel that that talks a little bit about the personality of the place and anything about home makes you think about family and togetherness and my hope is that you will see a real together team that plays with abundance and personality to take on the mantel and the ambitions that the Club has got, because it doesn’t take much to know what they are as everyone has said it out loud!”

“I want to see a team that plays forward, plays fast, and plays in a fearless way where we can, and builds a squad that is able to cope with the difficulty of the season!” 

“Everyone starts on zero in August – it’s a long way to the target, but we’ll try and build something that everyone loves watching and loves being a part of.”  

Bonner told us that he would be appointing his back-room team in the next week or ten days and the club’s retained list would follow.