Published: 06:00, 15 July 2021
Gillingham manager Steve Evans was delighted to watch his team performing back infront of supporters.
The Gills sent a young team to Chatham last week before the senior side played at Welling United on Saturday with fans in attendance. Covid issues have put a halt on this week’s home fixtures but Evans has welcomed the reopening of stadiums to supporters.
Evans said: “We didn’t play infront of thousands (at Welling) but the supporters watched us score in the last minute and I saw a few punches in the air, isn’t it great!?”
“Supporters are the most important of all and we have missed them. I have missed them personally and even the away supporters when I get hammered. You have to have an edge in football.
“Our fans missed watching Jordan Graham and Dempsey last year and Vadaine Oliver’s 20 odd goals, missed some brilliant performances and from January onwards we were the team nobody wanted to play.
“We will be better than we were last year, it’s a big claim to make, but we will be and if we are not we are in trouble. The league is stronger. Bolton, Ipswich, Portsmouth, Charlton, Sunderland, Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham, they are spending big, they are all big clubs for our level.
“We will respect every one and fear none. We will respect them and go to war with them every time we play them.”
Last season the Gills played infront of a crowd only once, with 724 fans in attendance for the EFL Trophy game away to Cambridge United. No away fans were allowed to attend.
The last time Priestfield was open to the supporters was on February 29, 2020.
Stadiums have had their capacities capped during the easing of lockdown restrictions but from next week those limits will be lifted.
The Gills have one home friendly to look forward to when they host Millwall on Tuesday, July 27 before league action returns to Priestfield on Saturday, August 7 with the visit of Lincoln City.