Date:Thursday August 25 2011
Rotherham United take on Gillingham at Don Valley on Saturday for the fifty-first time in the league.
Before the game we asked a Gills fan if he`d answer a few questions for us.
How long have you been following the Gills?
During this season I will clock up 25 years of service. And I'm still only 29!
Can you remember anything about your first time watching Gillingham?
We beat Mansfield 2-0 on that fateful day. My biggest memory of that is a red card for an opponent and a big booming voice from a fella urging one of our centre-backs to join the attack!
Going well so far, like the Millers, you have won three games out of four. Can it last?
I hope so. I think anyone associated with the club will tell you that we desperately, desperately need a striker. Danny Kedwell - a Gills fan - has been great so far, but he's the only striker of note we have. If he were to get injured, we'd be in trouble. We've got a good defence (if with a few concerns about the pace of our centre-backs) and what I believe is the best midfield in the division. However, as much as Kedwell has been great, I would swap our striking options for almost any of the other 23 clubs in the division. We've beaten - like yourselves - Plymouth and Crewe, and Cheltenham, as well as - like yourselves - drawn with Barnet. Are any of those good sides? Probably not. Saturday is a big test for us, and I think we'll know a lot more about our realistic ambitions come 5pm on Saturday.
Where do you expect to finish in the league at the end of the season?
In the top three, with all the investment in our team over the summer.
Where can you see Gillingham FC in five years time?
Who knows?! Ten years ago we were in the Championship, five years ago we'd just gone down from there, so five years from now we could be back up there, still where we are, anywhere in between or, if things don't go well for us, non-league. There's a lot of financial uncertainty - not that we're broke, we just don't know - and the chairman has just done a deal where we've bought the ground back for about a 10th of what we sold it for, which, again, we don't know anything about. All of our key summer signings have three-year deals, so we've shown a commitment in the squad, so hopefully at the very least we'll be back to being an established League One club by 2016.
Is Andy Hessenthaler doing a good job for you?
Most Gills fans will tell you yes. I personally have my reservations. I think we had a really strong squad last year, and it was a massive failure to miss out on the top seven. The summer dealings haven't won me over - I think we've signed some really good players, but we've overstocked certain areas and left others - as I've already mentioned - woefully short. Last year we played a long of awful, unattractive football, and although by and large that's improved this season, we're now a bit nasty - there's far, far too much surrounding of referees and disputing decisions going on for my liking. I think a lot of fans have clouded views over him because he is one of our greatest players ever. If he wasn't, they would have been screaming for his head last November...
Ed Note - Don`t you think the 'surrounding refs` is becoming part and parcel of the game - although, like you, I can`t see the point in it. They rarely change their mind.
Best player you've ever seen in a Gills shirt?
Robert Taylor. Truly sensational from 1998-1999 (well, after a slow start). The start of 1999-2000 was amazing, 18 goals by November, when he went to Manchester City. This video should explain all - Click for link
When you see the name 'Rotherham United' what are your first thoughts?
Used to be that you're a good club, shame you got screwed over and now play at that place, with a touch of the Chuckle Brothers mixed in. Always felt we had a bit of a link as we were both small clubs fighting our corner in the Championship. Nowadays, it's 'The Grass'. Andy Scott is not a very popular man at Priestfield for his antics as Brentford manager when he told tales on one of our players to get him suspended on what was unbelievably suspect video evidence. I'd be quite happy to see him out of work again as soon as possible.
Will you be coming to Don Valley (and have you been before)?
I've been once before, a romantic trip on Valentine's Day 2009. You can tell I was single then! But I will be returning on Saturday.
Ed Note - Ohh, I`m impressed, not many people come back twice!
Who should we be looking out for on Saturday?
Kedwell up front will trouble your backline, I'm sure. Charlie Lee pulls the strings in midfield though.
Don`t forget, you can also catch Vital Rotherham on Facebook and Twitter!
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Date:Thursday August 25 2011
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