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Gillingham chairman Paul Scally talks about the permanent appointment of Steve Lovell

Chairman Paul Scally hopes the appointment of Steve Lovell heralds the start of a new era of positive feeling at the club.

Lovell was made permanent successor to Ady Pennock as manager of Gillingham football club on Thursday after a successful stint as the interim boss.

With just one defeat in his seven games, Mr Scally admitted it was a “no brainer” to hand Lovell the job.

Gills chairman Paul Scally Picture: Andy Jones
Gills chairman Paul Scally Picture: Andy Jones

The chairman said: “There is still a fair amount of tension at home games and that is understandable, fans haven’t had a lot to shout about in the last 12 months.

“I think now we need to put the negativity behind us as a club.

“We need to get behind the team and get the anxiety banished for the rest of the season because anxiety on the terrace transmits to anxiety on the team and that makes it more difficult for the players.

“It is a bit of a chicken and egg, which comes first? Fans might say the team needs to do better to get the support, but as a fan I know we have to do our job, to get behind the team from the start, so that there is no anxiety, so the team can play with freedom and panache which they have done, certainly in the second half last week and did very well.

“It has been a painful 12 months, since January really, when Justin left, right the way through to when Ady left a few weeks ago, it’s been a difficult journey.

“I think the second half of last season was poor and unfortunately the first half of this season wasn’t good, despite Ady’s hard work.

“(Ady) is a good guy but fortunately Steve has come in and done it a different way and whatever he has done has had a massive impact on the team. That is all credit to Steve and therefore I think he deserves at least until the end of the season, if not longer, to see what he can do as the manager now.”

Lovell has made an immediate impact since taking on the role in the wake of Peter Taylor’s resignation. Taylor was originally given the job on a caretaker basis following Pennock’s departure.

Many names were linked with the job and the Gills approached Mansfield Town in a bid to speak with their manager Steve Evans. Mr Scally admitted that Lovell wasn’t a potential candidate straight away.

He said: “I think he has pleasantly surprised me and I am pleased he surprised me.

“He is a great guy to work with, he cares about the club, he has been here an awful long time, on and off, and he understands football.

“Given that Wales aren’t in the World Cup (Lovell is a former Welsh international) he will have a lot of time to make sure the team are right in the summer for next season.

“First things first, let’s get this season done, make sure we get a good result, let’s get the fans enjoying what they are seeing and let’s hope we end up a good position this season and push on for next.”

Mr Scally was ready to hand Lovell the job a fortnight ago but has been preoccupied with a court case with former caterers Centerplate.

That case came to an end on Monday and the club are waiting on a written verdict from the judge before making a formal announcement.

But Mr Scally did indicate it was set to be a good one for the Gills.

He said: “We had a very good result on Monday, after a eight days in the High Court, which were pretty tortuous and very demanding for all of those who gave evidence for the club.

“The judge gave his judgement on Monday which was very positive in favour of the club but I don’t want to say too much about that until we get the written judgement.

“I did speak to Steve two weeks ago and told him I just needed to get this legal case out of the way.

“It was a bit of a no-brainer really that until at least the end of the season, if not longer, Steve should be given the opportunity to have a go at being the manager.

“He has been there almost three times before and I look back now and wonder ‘why didn’t I leave the gang of four in place?’ back before the Justin Edinburgh appointment. That would have been the more sensible thing to do, with hindsight.”

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