One of the hardest things to leave behind in Blighty, which I deliberately did not mention in my Farewell post, was the mighty Gills.
Since I returned to Medway in January 2012, I can count on one hand the number of home games I have missed every season. I have witnessed my home team win their first league title in half a century, as well as the departure of three underperforming managers (one of whom had previously won said title).
It is particularly saddening to know that I have only been able to attend one home game this season – the incredible 4-0 win over promotion favourites Sheffield United on the opening day – and, as I sit in the sun watching Sky Sports Score Centre and Twitter for updates from the MEMS Priestfield Stadium, I wonder just how far the Gills can go this season – and just how much I will miss.
With help from the Gang of Four at the start of the year, and a small number of summer signings of his own, Justin Edinburgh has managed to turn Peter Taylor’s mediocre defensive squad into an unbeatable attacking force that currently occupies the top spot in League One, the only team in the division (and one of only six teams across the Football League’s 72 clubs) which has not been conquered after 7 games.
Today, the Gills notched up another home win, this time against strugglers Blackpool. Captain Doug Loft opened the scoring in the first half, before a second half own goal from Ryan Jackson gave the visitors hope. However, man of the moment Bradley Dack was able to put the home side ahead again in the last ten minutes, meaning the Gills continue to lead the league table:
It is inevitable that Gillingham will lose, sooner or later, but with such a strong showing in the first seven games of the league campaign, this really could be another season of glory – and the long-awaited return to the Championship!