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Peter Taylor appointed as 'interim' manager as Gillingham FC fans reel after Martin Allen gets the boot

By KentOnline reporter

Gills chairman Paul Scally has confirmed Martin Allen's replacement to lead the side in League 1 football.

Favourite Peter Taylor will manage the side after Allen's swift departure following the team's defeat on Saturday.

In a statement on the club's website this afternoon, Mr Scally said he had had a huge response from potential candidates.

Peter Taylor is the front-runner to become the next Gillingham manager. Picture Barry Goodwin

Peter Taylor. Picture: Barry Goodwin

But the process of considering a replacement manager was going to take some time, he added.

The statement continued: "With that in mind, and based on my view that the playing staff require some immediate assistance to prepare for up and coming games, I contacted Peter Taylor this afternoon to ascertain whether he would consider coming back to the club on an 'interim manager' basis pending a full time appointment to be made in the weeks ahead. 

"I am delighted that Peter has accepted this role and he will take responsibility for the team with immediate effect, meeting the management and players tomorrow morning, and taking charge of our game against Preston on Saturday and thereafter until a permanent appointment is made."

"I hope you will all accept either now, or in the fullness of time, that the decision made was made totally in the interests of the club" - chairman Paul Scally

He admitted the changing of a manager was "a major concern" to supporters.

But he added: "I hope you will all accept either now, or in the fullness of time that the decision made was made totally in the interests of the club, and whilst an extremely difficult decision to make I am absolutely confident it was the correct decision to take."

The statement came just hours after Mr Scally insisted he was left with no option but to sack Martin Allen, in a move that left fans reeling.

He revealed he decided to axe the 48-year-old because he felt the club were heading for relegation.

Allen was given the boot after defeat at Shrewsbury on Saturday, but Mr Scally admitted he was close to making the decision earlier.

He said: "It seemed to me that the only way I was going to see any change in the dressing room was if I changed the manager."

Is Peter Taylor the right man to take over as Gills manager?

Fans today reacted to the shock departure of Allen, who was sacked after 18 months in charge and just 11 games into the season.

Last night, 80% of more than 1,000 voters in a KentOnline poll said the club was wrong to sack Allen.

His exit followed the Gills' 2-0 defeat at Shrewsbury on Saturday, which was the club's sixth in 11 league games.


'I had no choice' - full Paul Scally interview


However, there did not appear to be any immediate threat to Allen's position after back-to-back wins.

He was working as a pundit for BT Sport at the Barnet v Wrexham Skrill Premier clash just before news of his departure broke early yesterday evening.

Martin Allen has been given the elbow by Gillingham. Picture Barry Goodwin.

Martin Allen has been given the elbow. Picture: Barry Goodwin.

Former Gillingham manager Peter Taylor was quickly installed as the bookies' favourite to take over at the club.

The 60-year-old, who has been spotted at recent Gillingham matches, was previously in charge at Priestfield in the 1999/2000 season.

During that spell, he guided the Gills to victory over Wigan in the Division 2 play-off final as well as reaching the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

Taylor went on to famously hand David Beckham the captaincy of England when taking caretaker charge.
 
Thirteen years later he returns to Gillingham to once again help the Gills regain control in League One.

People in Gillingham High Street were largely standing squarely behind Allen this morning. 

Peter Taylor will manage the team against Preston this weekend

Gills boss Peter Taylor. Picture: Barry Goodwin

Sales assistant Chris Adkins, from Strood, said he thinks he has been treated unfairly.

The 45-year-old, who has been a Gills fan for 20 years, said: "I think it is a bit disappointing, but I'm not surprised by the decision - they have had a poor run, but I don't think they give managers enough of a chance.

"I think he could have stayed a couple more games. They need to take their time in appointing someone else and find the right man for the job, but personally I think Martin Allen was the right man for the job."

Sittingbourne student, Bradley Falconer, 18, agreed. "A number of fans I know are very sad about it," he said. "I don't think managers are given much of a chance."

Sales assistant Chris Adkins

Sales assistant Chris Adkins

Student Bradley Falconer

Student Bradley Falconer

Fellow fan Kevin Taffs, from Chatham, feared a backlash from fans following yesterday's decision.

The 30-year-old said: "I don't think many people can do better with a squad of 18 players.

"Peter Taylor was a good manager, so I think he would be a good choice to replace him - the main thing is we stay up this season."

And 65-year-old market trader Avery Hare, from Maidstone, said: "I'm a bit surprised it has happened this quickly.

"I suppose the only way is up, but it depends who they find as the new manager."

Chatham resident Kevin Taffs

Chatham resident Kevin Taffs

Market trader Avery Hare

Market trader Avery Hare

A Gills statement spoke of the club's "deepest gratitude to Martin for all his hard work over the past period and indeed for achieving promotion to League One as Champions last season".

But it said change was "essential" in the "long term interests of the club".

Gillingham chairman Paul Scally

Gillingham chairman Paul Scally

Yesterday, chairman Paul Scally said the decision was made unanimously by the club's board.

He said: "It was an exceptionally difficult one, but one which after long deliberation was felt absolutely necessary.  

"I would like to wish Martin every success in his future career, I have no doubt he will be back managing very shortly and I have very much enjoyed the experience of working with him, on both a business and personal level over the past 16 months." 
Martin Allen makes his point at Shrewsbury on Saturday - his final game in charge of Gillingham. Picture Barry Goodwin

Martin Allen makes his point at Shrewsbury on Saturday - his final game in charge of Gillingham. Picture: Barry Goodwin

Martin Allen in discussions with Adebayo Akinfenwa at Shrewsbury on Saturday. Picture Barry Goodwin

Martin Allen in discussions with Adebayo Akinfenwa at Shrewsbury on Saturday. Picture: Barry Goodwin

Antonio German comes on as a sub for Gillingham in Saturday's tie with Shrewsbury. Picture Barry Goodwin

Antonio German waits to come on from the bench against Shrewsbury Pic: Barry Goodwin

Allen was appointed by Mr Scally in July 2012 and led the club to their first title in 49 years by winning League Two.
 
But the step up has proved difficult, with the club taking 10 games to record their first win of the season when they beat Crewe last month before a victory at home to MK Dons.
 
Saturday's away loss to Shrewsbury left the Gills 17th in the League One table, with nine points.

Related stories

Boss Martin Allen is sensationally sacked

Scally 'in no rush' to appoint new manager 

Allen: Our levels slipped at Shrewsbury

'Man Dog' Martin Allen - profile of club boss


Known in the game as 'Mad Dog', Allen began his managerial career at Barnet in 2003/04 before two years at Brentford, a season at MK Dons, a short spell at Leicester, a season at Cheltenham and two brief stints back at Underhill, either side of an ill-fated period at Notts County. 

His playing career saw him play 11 seasons combined at QPR and West Ham before spells with Portsmouth and Southend.
 
What do you think of Martin Allen's sacking? Is Peter Taylor the right man for the job? Join the debate below. 
 

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