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Gillingham’s managing director Joe Comper on his new role and chairman Brad Galinson’s reaction to the promotion

Gillingham’s chairman is confident their newly-promoted managing director can replicate the impressive off-field success with the club’s first team.

Brad Galinson - who splits his time between the Gills and the US - was keen for someone to oversee the club as a whole and believes Joe Comper’s the ideal person to fill that role.

Gillingham owner/chairman Brad Galinson has put Joe Comper at the top of the club’s management structure
Gillingham owner/chairman Brad Galinson has put Joe Comper at the top of the club’s management structure

More: Gills boss gets chairman’s backing

Galinson said: “If the pies are bad and the football is good, then you’re okay, but if the pies are great and the football is bad, you’re really not okay.

“We’re a football club and so ultimately how you play on the pitch is what drives everything else, which makes it so obvious why football and non-football have to be under the same management, most clubs do it that way, we needed to evolve.

“I feel more comfortable going back to the States with this change - it is in good hands, good communication and good transparency for me and Shannon (Galinson - his wife and co-owner). I think that is the most important thing.

“You have to then let these guys do their job, get out of their way and give them the resources to do it.

“Since we took over the club a little over a year ago Joe has been running the non-football and look at the success we’ve had financially, we have tripled sponsor sales, doubled retail sales, introduced LEDs, broke all season ticket records in the history of the club.

“This is the next step, pulling football into that same umbrella with Joe running it, to hopefully have that same success. This is pulling the entire company together where it should be.”

Joe Comper will now oversee Gillingham on the field and off it Picture: @Julian_KPI
Joe Comper will now oversee Gillingham on the field and off it Picture: @Julian_KPI

The Galinsons are the majority owners of the club with former chairman Paul Scally a minority owner and member of the board of directors.

Mr Galinson said this move means the former chief will have less input, saying: “He is definitely still part of the board, it would definitely mean less day-to-day basis of opportunity and management, absolutely.”

Mr Comper is excited by the move saying: “Any football fan would be excited and it has happened very naturally.

“I have naturally built relationships with these people and it seems to make sense now. I have become almost a link between Brad and Shannon in the States and Steve (Clemence, the head coach) and Kenny (Jackett, the director of football).

“It feels like a good fit, that balance is something I have to get right, in terms of worrying about what’s going on the field and off the field, at the moment. Now it is all my problem.

“We are confident we have some good competent people who are going to come to the fore and take on more leadership roles while I start to interfere elsewhere.

“Gillingham, pre-Galinsons, was a bit of a runaway train that was going downhill and very hard to stop. In League 1 it slowly worked its way down the table and then relegated and then carried on, and turning that around was really difficult but it’s incredible how quickly it did turn around.

“We did that with money, initially, now how do we carry on with the upward trajectory? The trajectory is upwards, off-the-pitch turnover and sponsor, trajectory is up.

“We have stopped the rot, turned it around and now it is more minor tweaks in how we do things to take that next step and get promotion. We are on the right path.

“Brad and Shannon have learned a hell of a lot in the last year, in terms of what is required, I have too. The culture is there, the people are there, we’re having fun, we have to make some minor tweaks to make the next step.”

Comper joined the Gills from Crawley - the club he supports - and both teams are now scrapping it out to be in the League 2 play-offs this season.

Gillingham’s new managing director - who once kitted out as Crawley’s Reggie the Red mascot while working in the West Sussex club’s community department - has made it clear where his loyalties lie, however.

Ahead of the Easter weekend both clubs are on joint points, Crawley taking seventh spot and the Gills just behind on goal difference.

Comper said: “When you spend as much time and put as much effort into something as I do, and my family do into the Gills, you can’t help but want that to succeed.

“Red or blue? I want it to go blue - 100%. I want Crawley to do well and in an ideal world I would want both to go up - that’s my dream.

“I am desperate for this club to go up, selfishly of course, but also for the people I work around every day for Brad and Shannon, they have put a lot into it, it would mean so much to me, for us to make it and push on.”

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