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Angry Scally threatens to quit

GILLINGHAM Football Club chairman Paul Scally has stunned fans by threatening to put the club up for sale in 30 days.

In an astonishing outburst on the Gillingham FC website, he challenges the Gillingham Independent Supporters Club (GISC) to find the finance and backers to take over the club by the end of the 30-day deadline.

This extraordinary development is the latest twist in the simmering feud between Mr Scally and the GISC. Its former chairman, Alan Liptrott, was banned from Priestfield in June in a row over the GISC's "unofficial" Gills website.

Mr Scally says: "Clearly, Liptrott and those who directly support him through this antagonistic association believe they should be running the club themselves and can do a better job than myself. To that end, I will allow them 30 days to find the appropriate individuals and funding acceptable to me and, of course, the club's bankers.

"If they do so, I will leave the club immediately. If they fail to do so, and if I feel no differently to the way I feel now, I shall put the football club up for sale and allow someone else the pleasure of dealing with these negative, soul-destroying individuals who are working to their agenda."

His threat to put Gillingham up for sale appears to have been prompted by his anger over a decision by three players, captain Paul Smith and defenders Barry Ashby and Chris Hope, to attend the GISC's presentation night last Saturday.

Mr Scally says the three have been fined and disciplined for a serious breach of club procedures after ignoring instructions given to all players not to attend unauthorised functions or accept "unofficial" awards. They were also ordered to stay away from training on Tuesday.

Mr Scally claims Paul Smith was pressurised into attending the GISC function after receiving phone calls, some late at night, from Mr Liptrott and others. In a statement today, denying any pressure by constant phone calls was put on the Gills trio, the GISC says it is amazed and disappointed at Mr Scally's actions.

Mr Scally says Smith, Hope and Ashby have now handed him their GISC awards and have promised to have no further dealing with the independent supporters' body. The players, Mr Scally claims, now realise they were wrong to attend an unofficial function.

In Saturday's match programme, Mr Scally launched a supporters' loan scheme. He appealed to fans to loan club amounts between £500 and £5,000.

Fans at the last Gillingham home game were given a hint of of the impending controversy in the programme. Mr Scally wrote: "Thanks for a great season and thanks for your support. See you in August - all being well."

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