Published: 00:00, 22 May 2019
| Updated: 08:31, 22 May 2019
Gillingham chairman Paul Scally believes Steve Evans’ record of success overrides any other issues.
Newly appointed manager Evans is no stranger to controversy, with bans, fines and a conviction behind him, but Mr Scally is focusing on the man who has won numerous promotions.
Evans has enjoyed promotions in non-league, at Stamford and Boston and also at Crawley, along with back to back promotions with Rotherham and arguably success at Leeds and Peterborough too.
His reputation hasn’t made him a popular choice among Gills fans, however, and even the chairman admits he wasn’t a fan before getting to know him.
Mr Scally, who has threatened to quit as chairman, said: “I do understand some concerns supporters have, given Steve has had less than a ‘Priestly’ past record, albeit this has to be tempered against the positives of his passion and will to win and succeed.
“I was also less than a Steve Evans fan before I got to know him.
“I do, of course, have the advantage over most of having met and spoken to Steve on a number of occasions, got to know him well, and of course we have discussed his need to temper his outbursts, and to try and focus his energy in a more positive manner.”
Evans will be banned from the sidelines for Gills’ first four matches of the season, following a confrontation with a referee towards the end of his tenure at Peterborough.
“Steve is no fool, and neither am I to be fair,” said the Gills chairman, who is considering his own position at the club.
“He is aware of comments against him from some supporters, about his reputation, about what people are saying about his past, but I would never entertain the prospect of bringing in a manager whom I thought was wrong for the club and although no manager comes with guarantees, I can categorically say that Steve Evans is by far the best candidate for the role I have seen.
“Steve has had good success as a manager in the past and I fully expect him to bring us success both on and off the field, working within our budgets.
“He also had a successful career in commercial business before his time in football, so he is well balanced in how business works and the needs to increase revenues from non-football related activities.
“Steve will be a big asset to the club, in my view.”
Fans can get to know the new manager a bit more early next month when the club host an open night, on Tuesday, June 4 at Priestfield.