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The Shouting Men Column: Gillingham's Ben Pringle on the highs and lows at Rotherham United and the challenge ahead at Priestfield

Football is a mad game and it takes you places that you didn’t think you would end up.

I have moved about quite a bit over the last few seasons but I am buzzing to be here.

Ben Pringle hopes to enjoy more good times working under Steve Evans Picture: Ady Kerry
Ben Pringle hopes to enjoy more good times working under Steve Evans Picture: Ady Kerry

The manager lets me do what I want and trusts that I will try and get on the ball and make things happen.

At Rotherham we had back-to-back promotions together and then stayed up in the Championship. That was probably the best football I had played in my career.

My first year at Rotherham was a bit of a nightmare, though, and I almost left on a free before Steve Evans took over.

I had joined from Derby, signed by Andy Scott, and for whatever reason I didn’t play a lot in the first seven months. I don’t know what I had done.

Ben Pringle in action against Gillingham for Rotherham United, the season they finished second behind the Gills in League 2 Picture: Barry Goodwin
Ben Pringle in action against Gillingham for Rotherham United, the season they finished second behind the Gills in League 2 Picture: Barry Goodwin

He was close to getting the sack. I hadn’t been treated very well for whatever reason and I had come in with my pen to sign the pay-off. That was going to be it, but that same day he was like, ‘no, I need you to play on Saturday’. That was a bit weird.

I was about to get paid up and leave on a free. I had been doing nothing for several months and then that happened.

He eventually left anyway and Steve came in.

We had success at Rotherham and when I knew the move to Gillingham was coming about I had a look at the squad. There are good players here.

Ben Pringle looks to win the ball back for Rotherham at Priestfield in the 2013/14 season Picture: Barry Goodwin
Ben Pringle looks to win the ball back for Rotherham at Priestfield in the 2013/14 season Picture: Barry Goodwin

I had been speaking to the gaffer while I was training at Bolton. I had played with him before and I knew that if we could get it sorted then that would be something that I would want to do.

Phil Parkinson had taken me in at Bolton after being released by Preston. He asked me to come in and train and that all being well there would be something there, but he left, the new management came in and they went their own way.

The Bolton thing didn’t happen but I am buzzing to be at Gillingham.

The one previous memory of Gillingham that stuck out for me was the League 1 game while I was at Rotherham, when Tom Hitchcock scored that hat-trick, probably one of the best hat-tricks I have ever seen live. We were 2-1 down and he came on and we ended up winning 4-3.

Ben Pringle is excited about the challenge ahead at Gillingham Picture: Ady Kerry
Ben Pringle is excited about the challenge ahead at Gillingham Picture: Ady Kerry

Last season I had a couple of loan spells, at Grimsby and Tranmere. A few of the lads here actually thought I had signed on loan because I have had so many during my time at Preston!

It was a good end to last season at Tranmere. Going into the play-offs is a bit of a roller-coaster and you don’t know what’s going to happen, but it was a good end to the season (winning promotion).

I knew that I was going to be leaving Preston about a year and a half, two years ago. I knew there wasn’t going to be anything happening there. It was about then playing for a contract somewhere else.

I have got an extra incentive to do well at Gillingham, with the club having an option next season to keep me. For me, it is about playing as many league games as I can before the end of the season and then see what happens after that.

I played another game on Tuesday and I am fit. I feel good and ready to go.

Last Saturday’s result was frustrating. There was some positive stuff and everyone thought we should have got some kind of result. I felt as if I got straight into the game, which I try and do and make things happen, which is what I have always been about.

I think the lads getting used to what the gaffer is trying to do and play and it is still the same as what it was back then at Rotherham. He would want everyone to run about as much as they can, whether there are qualities there or not. That is what he demands.

Everyone is putting everything in. That’s what I have seen.

The manager is passionate and he wants to win and that is his style, you have to live with that. He has obviously got results at the clubs he has been at. It has worked before and hopefully it will work here.

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