Gillingham's no-nonsense chairman wants to see the club in a European Super League. Paul Rodgers has the measure of the man
Distinguishing Features A small man, with short curly hair, chipped teeth and bad taste in spectacles. Renowned for his lucky black shirt/black tie/black suit match day combo.
Habitat Having sold his south London photocopier business his full-time work these days is as chairman and owner of Gillingham FC.
What use is he? We went from bottom of the Third Division to promotion in his first season, then reached two Wembley play-off finals and our highest ever league position, culminating in promotion to the First Division for the first time in our history. Oh, and a vastly improved ground. What have the Romans ever done for us?
Who remembers his birthday? He has an amazing capacity to fall out with past allies. The newspaper Medway Today is still banned and manager Tony Pulis was sacked weeks after Wembley (court case pending). Local residents don’t like our new stand. The 35,000 people who went to Wembley last year are keen on him, the few season ticket holders unable to get tickets (they had no priority) aren’t. Millwall fans don’t seem to like him and we are suspicious that a self confessed Millwall fan owns our club. I wish he wouldn’t spend so much time on the pitch with microphone in hand.
Quote unquote “Medway Today will never be welcome in this club so long as I’m around” (from the match day programme most weeks). “The possibility of a European Super League in years to come makes Gillingham a prime location for a club to compete in this competition with its close proximity to the Channel Tunnel and Europe” (from the end of season report last year entitled The Path to Premier League Football).
Other offences to be taken into consideration Before Paul Scally our average attendance was only just over 3,000 – half what it is now. He has doubled our transfer record twice, culminating in spending around £600,000 twice in little over a month. However it could be argued that those funds were raised by selling players bought or developed by Tony Pulis. The club generally makes a profit and raised over £1million in our recent share issue. Finally, we’re still not sure if his insistence on being registered as a player gained us good publicity or made us a laughing stock. Either way, Pulis refused to play him in the final game of the 1995-96 season, meaning Scally lost his bet that he would play in a promotion-winning team that season. He couldn’t resist donning a track suit for the pre-match warm-up, just to keep us guessing.
From WSC 161 July 2000. What was happening this month