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Comper delighted to get Bonner
Comper delighted to get Bonner

Gillingham have a new manager as Mark Bonner becomes the third to take the position at Priestfield in the past 12 months, and Joe Comper, the Club’s Managing Director, has been taking KSN through the process behind appointing the new boss.

Comper admitted that the “delay” in appointing Stephen Clemence after Neil Harris’ departure had played a part in the speed of the decision to appoint Bonner after the Head Coach’s exit at the end of the season. “I think it did actually if I’m honest!” he said. 

“I was not involved in that process back then, but that was one of the things that Brad (Galinson) spoke about on the Monday that Stephen left. We spoke at length about how important this period of time was, the recruitment team have worked hard on targets, and you do not want those targets to go elsewhere whilst we are trying to get our ducks in a row.” 

“We were also not willing to approach targets and nail down who we were bringing in without appointing a manager. Mark is going to be the man working every single day with them, they are going to be in his changing room, they are going to be his players and it would have been nuts for us to be bringing in people which we were hoping that the new manager was going to like.” 

The Club swiftly had a plan to recruit the new man; “Brad was saying that having made the change, things had to happen quickly,” Comper explained.

“This meant the process started there and then of how we are going to do this quickly. We spoke about the criteria that we set, that was the purpose basically so that we could narrow the field, we didn’t want eighty CVs that we had to wade through, so let’s set the criteria so that when those CVs come in and phone calls made, they could be pretty much discarded or meetings set up there and then.” 

“We parted company with Stephen on the Monday; we met three people on the Tuesday of which Mark was one because we knew what we wanted.” 

“We were conscious of the players too and the retained list. The Club has a view in terms of Kenny (Jackett) from a footballing view; I have from a financial point of view, Steve obviously had a view on it from his point of view before he left, so some conversations have happened with players but ultimately now, as with recruiting of any new players, Mark will have the final say.”

“We have presented to Mark over the last day or two this is where we see it and this is where we are currently, do you share that view? If you do not, you have the opportunity to say! That means now that before we publish anything, it will have Mark’s seal of approval.”  

Image courtesy of Gillingham FC