Published: 06:00, 08 April 2020
| Updated: 12:13, 08 April 2020
Gillingham boss Steve Evans has made a “sizeable donation” to the NHS and blasted those who are flouting the social distancing rules.
Members of the public are being told by the government to stay at home to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Evans is at home near Peterborough while the Gillingham players have been training alone since the middle of last month.
The Gills manager said: “Even though I live out in the country, when I go and walk my dogs and I see four or five people sitting there having a picnic, it utterly disgusts me.
“It disillusions me and it is not right. Everyone who reads the reports connected to Gillingham Football Club will either be a fan of the club or a football fan and I say to them, 'if you see your neighbours or people abusing the rules, don’t be frightened of telling them, upsetting them or falling out with them. Try and do it as kind and gentle as you can but sometimes it takes a stern word.'
Evans avoided a confrontation himself.
He said: “I felt like saying something but it quickly went through my head that there would be a newspaper headline saying ‘Steve Evans gets involved in a kicking off’ so I walked the other way.
“I must admit, I got back home and I was furious. It gets to me.
“It's been two or three times now. I want us to be out of this lockdown at the right time when the medical science is telling us it is safe, we are all desperate to get back to some sort of normality, but we have to help create that haven’t we?"
Evans says he has contributed some of his own money to the NHS. His two daughters have both signed up as NHS Volunteer Responders.
He said: “It’s not hundreds of thousands but our family have given a sizeable donation to the NHS, and we have given food to the homeless too, like we do all year anyway.
“There was always a loving of the NHS but perhaps a lack of respect on a wider scale, but my God, they are respected now, they are adored, loved and we will be out there on Thursday at 8pm.
“We live in the countryside. There will be me and my family out the the back, clapping. Nobody will hear us or see us, no banging a pan.
“We go church on a Sunday, and we are not overly religious by any stretch, but we will still say a prayer and say thanks for what we have got and to every person that has given their life.”
Evans admits sitting at home isn’t for him but is keeping himself busy. The first of three social evenings with Gills fans takes place tonight, over the conference calling app Zoom.
Evans said: “I am the most positive man in the world but I get down some days. I don’t want to be at home, I have never spent so much time at home.
“I laughed at the start of this situation when people said divorces and break-ups would be up. We haven’t had a cross word here but I understand it. You can get down. People miss normality.
“Let’s stop disrespecting coronavirus or we will be in lockdown in July and not back cheering our team on, working with players, getting back on trains, doing our jobs, going for a beer on a Friday night, looking forward to the game on Saturday, shouting our heads off at the side in the stands, winning or losing.”
More on the Gills;
The Gillingham quiz - part two