Evans offers interesting solution
Evans offers interesting solution

This week’s briefing by Gillingham boss Steve Evans covered many topics, with the Gills boss offering an interesting “solution” to the Football League’s current problems.

Evans has also been reflecting on a long weekend trip, being in the Priestfield dug-out and bidding goodbye to his skipper – all in all another quiet week at Priestfield!

Turning his attention to Bolton’s survival, the Gills boss made an interesting suggestion. “I wouldn’t have a problem if the Football League came forward and said that the four or five games that Bolton have played so far are binned and have to be replayed,” Evans said.

“I wouldn’t have a problem as I think that there’s an integrity problem still for League One for the clubs who still have to play Bolton as you’ll be looking at the new signings the new owners have made – they’re top, top players and there’s no doubt that the new owners are paying some money out.”

“I think for the integrity of the competition that can be considered and I’ve got no doubts they will.”

Evans then focused on Bury. “I think I’ve got a different take on that,” he admitted.

“If you get promoted out of League Two and spend a lot of money that you can’t afford, people will always question that. I think Bury will find their place in the football pyramid but I’ve read with interest in the Football League releases that there are lot of clubs didn’t get an opportunity (to re-join the Football League) – Aldershot didn’t get an opportunity; Hereford didn’t get an opportunity, Maidstone of course didn’t get one – Boston United, one of my clubs, didn’t get an opportunity to go down a level and reform next year.”

“But most of those clubs, even Wimbledon, had to go back down two or three levels. Look, I am supportive of Bury Football Club – I’ve been there many times, won a few and got beaten a few times, and I do wish them every success with their application – maybe it’s not all their fault, maybe there are people to blame – we’ve all read reports about investigations etc., but I’ve always said is that what comes from this is a date next summer that the Football League sit down and make sure that everyone is fit and ready to go and can afford to go – we can’t have another Bury and Bolton in years going forward. This is year 2019 – it’s not 1999!”

When Evans arrived at Gillingham, he came with a four-game touchline ban which meant his first actual game in the home dug-out came in the win over Bolton.

Grinning, Evans told us, “It was pretty special to be fair. I got a wonderful reception from the supporters. It didn’t matter who we played; you couldn’t have asked for more to win 5-0 at home with your first game on the sidelines.”

“It was quite interesting as when I used to step forward and show some passion against them, I got bashed, and now they’re all with me and that’s been the same wherever we’ve been! But I’m thankful to them and to the people of Gillingham.”

“I’m living in the town now and am around the town all the time and they know that you’re living it as one of them, and I love the fact that supporters come and chat to you – they tell you the truth; they tell you when it was very good, they tell you the players that they like, they tell you the players that they don’t like – I’ve had some great debates with people but I wouldn’t have it any other way!”

Turning his attentions to his side’s performances, Evans said, “Little bit frustrating result-wise but happy with the performances if you take away sixty minutes against Burton that weren’t so good, the second half at Doncaster that wasn’t so good!”

“There’s no doubt that we should have more points on the board, but sometimes that happens with a new group of players when you’re building something new – sometimes it takes time! Although we’ve scored goals, we’ve still missed chances and been sloppy at the back and we’re getting punished for the mistakes. We just have to make sure that when we’re dominating games, we have to finish teams – we have to be ruthless.”

Gillingham face the long trip to Merseyside at the weekend to face Tranmere Rovers and Evans was in no doubt as to what his side would face.

“We go knowing it’ll be tough and Micky (Mellon) is a man who I’ve known for a long time and I think that you have to give full credit to the owners for doing the job they’ve done to resurrect the football club. And Micky had put some good players together and earned back to back promotions and I’m sure they’ll equip themselves very well!”

“I can remember going there with Rotherham on either a Tuesday or Friday night and it was a really tough place to go – it’s a place where you have to earn anything you get. I thought they deserved to get promoted last year and if you look at some of the signings that they’ve made, we travel knowing exactly what to expect!”

“Thing is, if someone shows me an “easy” game in League One, then they’re not as experienced as we are. I don’t think there is such a thing – listen, when you go three or four nil up against Bolton you only count how many it should be, and we all know that it could have been more than it was! But there are very few games like that, and we don’t kid ourselves.”

To the all-important team news ahead of the weekend and Evans told us, “You’ll always get knocks after games and we’ve got one or two after Tuesday which hopefully will be OK before we take the trip to Merseyside – overall we’re in reasonable shape!”

We finished by asking him about the midweek release of club skipper Gabriel Zakuani. “It was tough releasing Gabby,” Evans admitted.

“As a Peterborough United fan is was tough as I’ve stood at London Road with my family and sung his name. I told him that when he was leaving, and I told him that will be the end of me singing his name forever unless he ends up back at Posh again.”

“Gabby’s seen it as an opportunity to go and start afresh – he’s almost fit now but he admitted that he was going to struggle to get in now. He went and met with the Chairman and he came back and told me that he had agreed a deal with the Chairman.”

“We had a little hug and I wished him well. I know the family and have seen them at games around him over the years and it was tough, but as I said, I wish him well!”