Patterson on final game of season
Patterson on final game of season

After one of the most bizarre weeks in the club’s history, Gillingham caretaker boss Mark Patterson has spoken to the local media before the Gills final game of the season at Blackpool.

Patterson was asked about the sudden departure of Steve Lovell and if anything in football surprised him anymore?  He said, “No, not really – you do see a lot of things that go on in football and there are things that the public never see at different clubs – I won’t say that you get used to it, it just happens!  Players leave, players come, managers leave, managers come, its not always right for a Club but these things happen, and I think its just a hazard of the job.”

“We continued everything exactly the same and had a meeting at 1:30 as we do and they’d all spoken to Steve by then and I just said to them that it was the team that was picked on the Friday for the game and nothing was going to change and we’ve got to be professional and so as well as we can.  Thankfully we had a good go – not that they hadn’t tried all season I hasten to add – sometimes it’s difficult for players especially if they’re not sure of their futures and have contracts expiring.  But they’ve got to deal with it and get on with things and that’s what they did.”

“It could have been a significantly worse week if we’d have been going to Blackpool needing something – it would have been a terrible week as you would have been 24 hours a day trying to work out different permutations – its just been a relatively normal week and why would I have wanted to change anything when what we’ve done that’s secured our League One status.”

“It was important for the players to say goodbye to Steve as most of them are players that he’s brought to the club as he’s brought most of them to the club – given some of them new contracts and been in charge for 18 months.  Its not been easy and never is at any club and we’ve been able to stay up twice if you like – while some people may not see that as being any kind of success, it’s better than being down in the bottom four and being relegated.  The lads now though understand that that’s all going to change now, and we all have to move on be it here or somewhere else as nothing lasts forever in football however much you’d like them to!”

“Steve knows how much support he’s had from the fans – he’s mentioned it when we’ve spoken – and he knows that everyone in football at times like this has to rally round and back and support the team that they support and there are of course other clubs in the same boat as us.  Plymouth and Scunthorpe are both in the same boat with the winner of their game staying in the division – at least we don’t have to worry about that.  We’re a lot safer but I know that we don’t have to say anything to the fans as they have been magnificent, and they always have been.  Yes, they’re disappointed that the manager has gone but they’ve seen it before and I’m sure they’ll be out in their numbers again at Blackpool on Saturday!”

“It’s important to finish the season well and get the points this weekend, there’s no doubt about that as you don’t want to go into the summer with saying that we’ve finished the season poorly.  Last season we finished strongly with the win against Plymouth and that kept everyone talking during the summer, but Blackpool aren’t going to be an easy team to play against.

“They have got some really technically good players. They’ve got some physical players and they’ve had a great run.  And because of the season that they’ve had they’ll be desperate to finish on a high and finish in the top ten which will be a great achievement for them  We’ll go there with a full squad – Callum Reilly’s been training this week but hasn’t had the game time so we’ll have to see…”