It is hard to believe that just under six months ago, Gillingham were celebrating winning their first silverware since 1964, with a 2-2 draw at home to AFC Wimbledon sealing the League Two title for the Kent side.
Fast forward to October 2013 and the ‘Gills’ sit 17th in League One, with just nine points from their opening 11 matches. After a 2-0 defeat to Shrewsbury at the weekend, Chairman Paul Scally took action, removing manager Martin Allen after just 16 months in charge at the club.
Scally defended his decision on Sunday night, stating" “It's easy to be patient and keep holding off.
"The directors and I felt if we didn't make a change fairly quickly we'd be at Christmas and the position may not have been one we could rectify."
Despite a run of less than impressive results, including going 10 games without a win at the start of the season, I believe the Chairman has once again acted against the interests of Gillingham Football Club in sacking Allen.
The step up from League Two to League One was always going to be difficult for a club with a budget the size of Gillingham’s. There was no large injection of cash in order to improve the squad over the summer, and therefore Scally ought to have expected the side to struggle to avoid relegation.
However, the fact of the matter is Gillingham are not currently in any immediate danger of relegation. The team is still outside the relegation zone and not even a quarter of the season has elapsed. Furthermore, performances had improved in recent weeks, with the ‘Gills’ winning two of their last three games, including a 3-0 away win at Crewe.
Allen has every right to be upset by the decision made by Scally to remove him from his post. He turned Gillingham into a formidable force last season, winning the League Two title and losing just nine games all season.
I feel that this ought to have merited him some more faith from the Gillingham board, and more time in which to turn around the club’s fortunes this season.
The sacking has been met with disappointment and surprise by a large majority of the Gillingham fanbase, with 80 per cent of voters in a ‘KentOnline’ poll saying the club was wrong to dispense of the former West Ham United player as manager.
There was further controversy on Monday evening, as the club announced the return of former manager Peter Taylor on an interim basis whilst the club searched for a permanent appointment.
Taylor was initially in charge at the Priestfield between 1999/2000, leading the side to victory against Wigan in the Division 2 play-off final, as well as reaching the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. However, his most recent managerial experience consisted of a short spell in charge of the England U20 side, as well as the Bahrain national side.
Only time will tell if Taylor can be the man to save Gillingham’s season. However, many would question whether it needed saving in the first place.
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