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Gillingham manager Steve Evans is one of the best managers in English football says chairman Paul Scally

Gillingham chairman Paul Scally has hailed his manager as one of the best in the country.

Scally appointed Evans as manager of the Gills a year ago and watched on as he steered the club to a top-10 finish in League 1 - only the second time that’s happened since the club were relegated from the Championship.

Paul Scally appointed Steve Evans manager of the Gills in May last year Picture: Ady Kerry
Paul Scally appointed Steve Evans manager of the Gills in May last year Picture: Ady Kerry

The 57-year-old Scot was Scally’s 12th different permanent manager at the club and he said: “Steve Evans is one of the best managers in English football.

“People may laugh at that but having worked very closely with him, he is an all round good manager and he has a good perception for business. He is very understanding of the pressures and strains of business and very good with the players. He doesn’t accept second best.

“We are very focussed on the journey and he is very much with me, obviously frustrated like we all are about not playing football, but he has learned to deal with it. We are now planning ahead and he is very much part of that planning process.

“Steve is exactly the right character, for me, for the football club. He has many qualities and many qualities that people don’t really see.

“We work very well together as we should do as manager and chairman.”

The Gills finished 10th in a season that was cut short and Evans felt confident they could have improved on that and made the top six with their remaining fixtures.

It was a campaign that at least didn’t involve any sign of relegation trouble which had dogged the club in recent years.

Steve Evans got the fans onside over the course of the season Picture: Ady Kerry
Steve Evans got the fans onside over the course of the season Picture: Ady Kerry

Mr Scally said: “I am pleased for what he has achieved for him, as much as anyone else, for myself of course, but pleased for him and the fans because we have had some lean years and some difficult years and nobody wants to see that year on year.

“Steve did it within the appropriate budget for this division and he did it understanding the budget was good and what it should be without any complaints or questions. There are other mangers in this division who have had significant budgets.”

The Gills finished above Paul Lambert’s Ipswich Town, one of the top spenders in the division.The Suffolk side signed Gillingham keeper Tomas Holy last summer after offering him a deal far greater than he would have achieved by staying at Priestfield.

Mr Scally’s choice of manager last May - as successor to Steve Lovell - wasn’t universally popular but the manager has won the support among fans after a promising first campaign in charge.

The Gills chairman said: “Every appointment I have made has been a good one at the time I made it. Whether it works out or not is for history to dictate. I have never purposely made bad appointments.

“Football is about characters. Sometimes you don’t know why a particular manager does better at one club than another, good managers have been to clubs and not managed to achieve the same successes.

“I think it is a chemistry between the manager and the chairman and the actual club. If the manager feels comfortable being on that ship and everything works well and there are no frustrations and everything is above board and honest then I think maybe that is a good combination.”

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