Evans speaks to KSN
Evans speaks to KSN

Gillingham boss Steve Evans has been talking to KSN’s chief football writer Mike Green as the current suspension of the EFL enters its’ third week.

“The first thoughts you get with no football,” the Gills boss said, “is that everyone is frustrated and pulling their hair out, but at the same time this goes way beyond football – you see some of the footage on the television with people dying and people fighting for their lives.  It really is dreadful and so I’ve a lot of thoughts inside me really feeling for the people who are going through the effects of this virus – it’s terrible”

With Priestfield closed the playing squad like the rest of the country are at home going through their routines.

Evans said, “Like every other club, the boys have their own individual training routines away from the Football Club. My first priority as a manager is to put their welfare and health in front of everything else and that’s important that we do that. They’re in good shape and all working hard – they’re coming back, and the data is up there so we’ll be ready to go when we eventually get back into football. It’s a guessing game when we do but we’re there for the players twenty-four seven for whatever they need.

“Realistically it’s almost as though the season ended two weeks ago, they’ve been going now for a couple of weeks and it’s almost like the season’s starting again.  We’ll need a couple of weeks to get off and running but I think that when we start to come through this and we will come through it if we follow the Governments advice.”

“I think when we come in it’ll be a couple of weeks in an ideal world – it could be four or five – but we’re not in an ideal world and are full of the worries that fill everyone of us, so we’ll try and get through it.”

There have been suggestions that the Premier League and EFL could be finished behind closed doors – a suggestion that the Gills boss doesn’t agree with, he said “I don’t like it, I think there could be a lot of problems with it.  You only have to listen to the best managers who have ever lived talk about penalty kicks being wildly different on the training ground rather different to when there’s a crowd there.

“I think though that when we do start it will be behind closed doors for two or three games to make sure that things stay as they are and it’s good for everyone to be back and so closely gathered together.”

“I’m good for it so long as it gets the season through and the season finished and then let people think about what’s going to happen next season with as many of our loved ones watching as possible”.

“I think at the top level the managers don’t have to think about it because of the finance generated at that level they’ll be getting paid anyway forever and a day.”

“But, at our level, managers are no different to the players – we worry about it; we’ve conversations with families. I think all you can hope is if you’ve been a bit wise with your money, then you’re in shape and can handle it for a little while, not ongoing, so our thoughts first and foremost is to ensure that our players get their pay and can pay their bills.”

Evans then had this message for the Gills faithful, “Please stay at home and take Government advice – stay safe!”

He continued “We’re all tempted to walk up and say hello to our friends or drive to our friends thinking that it’s all right to do so but we’re not. Stay at home!”

“I’m pleased with what we’ve seen in China in the last few days where the Wuhan temporary hospital has closed and I’ve seen a lot of video that someone sent me of all the doctors and nurses taking off their masks and so we’re thinking that this is a little bit of good news.”

“To our fans I’d just like to say stay strong, stay safe and we cant wait to be back in front of you”.

Finally, the Gills boss had a message to all the NHS staff – in particular those at the Medway Maritime Hospital. 

“My prayers and wishes to everyone and to keep working hard. Keep working for us and keep working for yourselves and more importantly stay safe yourself.”

“But enormous thanks from all of us, I can’t put enough words of gratitude for what you do – thank you from all of us at the Gills.”