Scally backs decision to sack Evans
Scally backs decision to sack Evans

Gillingham chairman Paul Scally has backed his decision to part company with manager Steve Evans after a terrible run of results.

Saturday’s 4-0 loss at home to Ipswich Town was the final nail in the Evans coffin and Scally decided on Sunday he’d seen enough and the club announced on that afternoon that both Evans and Assistant Manager, Paul Raynor, would be leaving the club by mutual consent.

With the club sitting 22nd in League One and seven points adrift from safety, things look bleak for The Gills with Burton Albion coming to Priestfield on Saturday and Scally has spoken for the first time about Evans’ departure, telling ITV Meridian:

“It’s been a very unhappy camp for some weeks, and I’ve been concerned and I was very disappointed on Saturday of course, I felt for the players.”

“I don’t think that they were happy or that they came out prepared. I apologise to the supporters, as I did to all those I met after the game, because that wasn’t a Gillingham performance.”

“I went away very unhappy on Saturday, as everyone did. I think those that walked out after 27 minutes were entitled to do so.”

“If I was honest, I probably wanted to walk out as well, as it was that bad a show, but I genuinely did feel for the players, for the staff and for the sponsors and for the fans, because it’s not been a good year.

“We are where we are because we haven’t won enough games or picked up enough points. The atmosphere has not been good, and it’s been a massive worry.”

“I knew on Saturday night that it was all over and I had to change it. We parted amicably, and today’s another day.”

“I met the players at 9:30 this (Monday) morning and we decided we were going to change our approach, the way we play. We need to get a smile on their faces.”

“We had a very honest and open meeting. I encouraged all the players to speak, and I felt really lifted.”

One of the decisions made was to bring Steve Lovell back to the club to oversee matters going into this coming weekend’s game.

The return of Lovell to the club where he made his name as a striker and was to manage less than three years ago will come as a surprise to many.

Out of work since being sacked by Welling United, Lovell is seen to be a steadying hand whilst the club look for a long term replacement for Evans with midfielder Alex MacDonald to assist with coaching going into the Burton game.

Having brought Lovell in at short notice, Scally conceded he was hoping the familiar face will bring stability to the club at a difficult time:

“I phoned Steve at 10:30 and here he is on the training ground, watching the team.”

“I’ve told him there are no promises on anything, it’s just a short-term fix. He loves the club. He knows the club and the people, and players here.”

“The players really like him already, and it’s important that we have got things settled very quickly.”

A large section of the Gillingham support have questioned Scally’s decision to bring Lovell back, less than three years after sacking the former Welsh international.

Meanwhile, Scally himself is coming under a lot of pressure from a growing number of disgruntled Gillingham fans who feel disconnected and mistreated by the club they’ve followed for many decades.