This is a must read for all Gillingham fans.
Following a bitter 1-0 home defeat against fellow League One strugglers Tranmere Rovers, it’s fair to say the pressure really is on Gillingham manager Mark Stimson at the moment.
Amongst many who follow the mighty Gills, there is one topic of colossal debate: should chairman Paul Scally keep the faith in Stimson, or should he cut his losses and give him the sack?
The most emphasised reason to keep Mark Stimson is that the fact this guy got Gillingham promoted from League Two last season, at the first attempt; it is a well-known fact that gaining instant promotion is an almost impossible task in a lot of cases.
Another line of support is that Gillingham last season had one of the best defensive home records in England, and this season the Gills have the joint best defensive home record in League One; the krbs Priestfield Stadium really has been a fortress quite often under the Mark Stimson era.
Further reason to keep Stimson stems from the fact that League One this season is stronger than ever, with clubs like Norwich City, Leeds United, Charlton Athletic (Clowntown Pathetic), Southampton, Millwall, MK Dons, Huddersfield Town, and (to a certain extent) Colchester United all having Championship quality stadia and finances.
These clubs make Gillingham pale in comparison, so it’s no wonder Stimson has been finding the going tough under a much tighter budget than a lot of other League One clubs.
Under Mark Stimson, the club have also signed young, ambitious players who have that desire to play for Gillingham Football Club; pre-Stimson, the club was on its knees, dying, as the Gills continued to sign old, experienced journeyman on over-inflated wages who couldn’t care less about the club.
And lastly, another one of the most emphasised, and somewhat clichéd, reasons for keeping Mark Stimson as manager of Gillingham is that chairman Paul Scally simply does not have the finances to reach a compensation package with Stimson to give him the sack.
If Mark Stimson was sacked by the Gills, the financial implications could be just as serious as relegation.
Gillingham’s away record is the stand-out reason why most anti-Stimson Gills supporters want the man sacked.
In the two-and-a-half seasons under Stimson, Gillingham have won 13 away games in all competitions, drawing 12, and losing 34 matches. This season the team have not won away from home.
Mark Stimson’s tactics have also been questionable, with the Gills playing too defensively at times and adopting a defensive 4-5-1 when losing, focusing on preventing any further damage rather than trying to score.
Which leads onto the next point: Mark Stimson is not prepared to take enough risks. The Gills do not counter-attack enough, most likely due to fear of failure and a loss of possession of the ball, and so cannot score enough goals, hence why Gillingham have only scored three goals in their last nine games.
Also, Stimson seems to have lost the support of his players. Talking to KentOnline, the Gills boss said: “We spoke before the game about clearing our own lines and not passing back on a very poor pitch, but didn’t take it on board,” before going onto criticise his players for not sticking to the game plan.
Perhaps this is why the Gillingham players are not performing to their best, and hence the poor results? They simply are not listening to Mark Stimson and his instructions.
All in all, under Mark Stimson the Gills appear from the average spectator to the die-hard regular a team that are not the close and cohesive unit required to be successful at any level of football.
So there are the advantages and disadvantages of Gillingham’s chairman, Paul Scally, sacking manager Mark Stimson and opting for a fresh approach.
Should Stimson be sacked? Well, that’s the beauty of football; everyone has an opinion to give on such issues.
It’s the same with every football club across the world; the die-hard fans, who see their football team as the one true love of their life, will have always have differing views on what is right to take their beloved club forward.