Gillingham manager Neil Harris has thanked fans for their support after the club broke a new season ticket record.
Prior to Saturday’s game against Accrington, the Gills had been pushing to beat the previous best total of 3,477 and they managed it, no doubt helped by a terrific midweek win over Southampton and the signing of former Charlton striker Macauley Bonne before the weekend.
The Gills have won their first three games, two in the league and the one over Southampton in the cup, which has left a real buzz around the club.
“It's amazing,” said Harris, reacting to the news. “Firstly, to the fans who have bought them, thank you. Secondly, to the fans who haven’t bought one but might be financially able to do it, do it, because we are building, we are building something.”
The Gills have been revitalised under the ownership of Brad and Shannon Galinson, investing in a squad that is making them competitive again, while also focusing on the fan experience, ensuring people enjoy their time at Preistfield and want to come back.
There was a home crowd of 6,380 at Priestfield on Saturday for the club’s first home league game of the season, a remarkable rise from the dwindling numbers in the past few years.
Last season’s home average gate was 5,132 while attendances pre-Galinson takeover had dropped to worrying levels. Their first game of the 2022/23 season saw 4,064 home fans attend.
Harris said: “It just comes off the back of Brad and Shannon doesn’t it? Just delivering and not just putting together a competitive football team but the matchday experience.
“I don’t take for granted the fans and when I walked out (on Saturday) the Rainham End was full, the Gordon Road stand was nearly there, I just looked and thought, ‘this is crazy, second game of the season, people are still on holiday, loads of people are on holiday still, people have to occupy their kids all week to do something and it costs a lot of money and still we have nearly 7,000 people!’
“It is mega, it’s brilliant.”
The 3,477 figure - the best on record at the club - came during the 2009/10 season in League 1 while in the 2013/14 season they shifted 3,229. That figure had dropped to around 2,000 or below in recent years.