Home   Medway   Sport   Article

Gillingham manager Neil Harris planning a summer clear-out after relegation to League 2

Only a handful of players are wanted from the current Gillingham squad next season says boss Neil Harris.

He plans to meet his players in the coming days but very few will be with the club to battle it out in League 2 next season.

Neil Harris planning big changes at Gillingham Picture: KPI
Neil Harris planning big changes at Gillingham Picture: KPI

The Gills were relegated on Saturday after a 2-0 defeat against Rotherham United meant they dropped out on goal difference.

Harris has been in charge since the end of January and apart from midfielder Ben Thompson, it’s a squad he inherited. Only seven players are contracted for next season and he only wants a few of them.

He said: “We tried to compete with Rotherham but they have got better players than us. Better players, better squad and look at the bench, we don’t talk about them as subs anymore, we call them game-changers. Game-changers? I don’t seem many (in the Gills squad).

“We have scored 13 goals this season at home, it is a disgrace for any football club, certainly a football club I am representing.

Olly Lee with his head in his hands as Gillingham go down Picture: KPI
Olly Lee with his head in his hands as Gillingham go down Picture: KPI

“We are going to go into League 2 next season and all of a sudden we are not going to be Gillingham Football Club with the biggest budget in League 2, it is not going to happen, we have to compete and cut our cloth accordingly and get on with it, that will be the challenge for me, to put a squad together.

“I have got seven players under contract, those seven, not all of them will be here under me, not by choice anyway, some will be gone. There are a couple of players out of contract I would like to keep. Players haven’t been good enough.

“You can always blame past regimes and so and so, this and that, but players have to take responsibility as well. I have protected my players since the day I walked in and I take responsibility on behalf of the football club, does the dressing room take responsibility for their performances?

“Since February 1, when I walked in, we have had the smallest budget in the division, if you have the smallest budget in the division that normally gets you bottom of the league. That is fact.

“Portsmouth have 73 points and just about made the top 10. The gulf between the division is a joke, it is a brilliant division and that is why I was so desperate to stay in it, we just have to be better as a football club.

Ryan Jackson on the ball for Gillingham Picture: KPI
Ryan Jackson on the ball for Gillingham Picture: KPI

“There are the seven contracted players, not all seven will be here, some of them I look forward to working with again but I am just saying I need more from individuals and collectively.

“Fans can make assumptions and have an opinion, it is ultimately about opinion, but really what matters is my opinion on players futures. They need to step up and come with me or don’t.

“We will see what the summer brings, recruitment wise, all I can promise is that while I am the manager of this football club, the club will be in safe hands, they know the players will be treated with respect and know the standards they have to meet, or the don’t play for me.”

On speaking to those players, Harris said he would like to be left with just a handful and added: "I have told them they are a brave man if they want to come and see me too soon because they will get the home truths. I need to speak to the players over the next 72 hours."

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More