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The Premier League dream remains alive for Gillingham chairman Paul Scally as he celebrates 25 years in charge at Priestfield

Gillingham chairman Paul Scally has reiterated his belief that the club can one day grace the Premier League - on the day he celebrates 25 years at the helm.

Mr Scally is the second longest serving owner and chairman in the English professional game, behind Middlesbrough’s Steve Gibson, having taken over the running of the club in June 1995.

Paul Scally has been chairman of the Gills for 25 years Picture: Ady Kerry
Paul Scally has been chairman of the Gills for 25 years Picture: Ady Kerry

Under his stewardship the Gills won promotion in their first season and eventually made their way into the second-tier of English football. Priestfield has been transformed in that time.

After four promotions - including two at Wembley - three relegations and an FA Cup quarter-final appearance it’s been some journey.

The Covid-19 crisis is the latest challenge the club face but Mr Scally hasn’t taken his eyes off the ultimate target.

He said: “Had someone told me 25 years ago that I would be chairman of a football club, let alone this fantastic club for this period of time, I think I would have laughed.

Paul Scally pictured on his announcement as Gills chairman on June 29, 1995. with former chairman Tony Smith Picture: Keith Slater
Paul Scally pictured on his announcement as Gills chairman on June 29, 1995. with former chairman Tony Smith Picture: Keith Slater

“Owning a Football Club was never really an ambition of mine, despite my passion for the game, but having taken on this project, I have given it everything I have got, and will continue to do so for as long as I have air in my body.

“I am driven and inspired by the fantastic supporters that have been behind me every step of the way, by the club sponsors that have tirelessly backed my ambitions, by the staff that have worked so hard for the club over the years, by the legends that have graced our turf and given us so much enjoyment and mostly by my seven children who are fed up waiting for me to achieve Premier League Football, an aim I feel is still very much achievable, not least so my children can hold their heads high when they walk the streets of Kent amongst their Premier Club supporting friends.

“There is still much work to be done, as the only professional football club in Kent I want to see Gillingham Football Club continue to grow, to overcome the current worldwide challenges and flourish in the years ahead.

“We have a fantastic team of individuals behind the scenes and I want to thank them all for their continued hard work and loyalty.

“I am proud, feel privileged and feel humble to be this club’s chairman, and I look forward to the future, and indeed the next 25 years.”

The Gills start the Scally era with a pre-season friendly against Chelsea Picture: Keith Slater
The Gills start the Scally era with a pre-season friendly against Chelsea Picture: Keith Slater

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