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Tuesday, 26 February 2013

A new challenge for Gills manager Burrow


Welcome to the inaugural edition of 

'The Pride of Kent' 

A periodic look into the trials and tribulations of Division Four side Gillingham FC.

Lowly Gillingham have appointed experienced manager James Burrow after the departure of Nathan Kirkby after just 24 games. The Gills have only picked up 10 points from 15 games this season, including heavy defeats against Swindon, Oldham, Cardiff and Colchester. Burrow watched on from the stands as Gillingham lost by a more modest 2-1 to Chesterfield, with key players Aleksandr Kolarov, Benoit Cheyrou and Jeremy Clement all omitted from the starting XI. We caught up with the new manager after training today, after a hive of transfer activity which has seen club captain Kolarov depart for Northampton Town earlier in the day:

“It’s certainly a new challenge in my career! This is the first time I have managed a club in the Fourth Division, the first time I have managed a club in so much debt and one of the smallest squads I have taken on. Behind the scenes things have been grim, with players and staff not receiving wages on time, attendances falling and results ranging from the poor to the catastrophic! I must admit that I took on the job having not looked at Gillingham’s results, but I'm not a man for backing out of a task too tricky for me. It’s a challenge, but one I can overcome, and over the next few years I aim to be challenging for the title. You might gasp at the timescale there, that’s how bad the situation is here!” So far I’ve been in the job two days and overseen 9 departures and 5 arrivals. Kolarov and Chico Flores are great players, but simply too expensive for a club 78th in the footballing pyramid. In (Massadio) Haidara we have a young and up-coming defender who should be adequate for the level of football we find ourselves at. Vaz Te can play all across the front line, which is handy when you have to work to a budget, and (Leigh) Bedwell comes in as second choice to a new keeper we are currently in talks with. We hope to get virtually the whole current squad off the wage bill and bring in a much cheaper squad, which while they may not have the ability of Kolarov or Chico, altogether as a first 11, they should be more than up to the task to compete.”

Gillingham’s current situation brings back memories of Walsall and Chesterfield, with the Spirites having to shift Emiliano Insua, Rodriga Lima and Mamadou Diarra off the wage bill in order to ensure their financial survival. Next week, we catch up with James Burrow once again, where he reports back on his first week of management on a shoestring budget.


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