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The Shouting Men column with Gillingham defender Max Ehmer

It’s nearly a month since I missed the birth of my daughter to play in our game at Fleetwood.

My missus was having contractions the night before we travelled up but nothing came of it.

I got on the train to meet the boys in London on the Friday, while she went to a midwife appointment, and she texted me about 20 minutes later saying the baby should be here in the next two days, so I couldn’t take the chance and go home because the baby might not be here until Sunday.

Max Ehmer challenges with Rochdale's Matthew Gillam back in September. The two sides meet at Priestfield this weekend Picture: Ady Kerry
Max Ehmer challenges with Rochdale's Matthew Gillam back in September. The two sides meet at Priestfield this weekend Picture: Ady Kerry

I spoke to my missus and my dad and they said to play the game.

The next thing, 3 o’clock comes and I think we’ve reached Stoke on Trent or somewhere like that and I get a text saying ‘I’m in labour’.

She didn’t pick up when I called but she phoned me back between contractions and said, ‘I’m fully in labour, the baby will be here in the next two hours,’ so I wouldn’t have made it anyway.

I didn’t know what to do. I was racing up and down the train. Shall I go home? I ended up staying.

An hour later the baby was born and I was buzzing. It was the right thing to stay with the boys.

I was there for the birth of my first child, and obviously I’d have liked to be there for my second, but it’s just how it goes.

My missus was good as gold. It’s my job. If I could have got back in time and come back up later that night or in the morning I’d have done it but there was no chance of me making it.

Being in Stoke at the time, it would have taken me three or four hours to get home anyway.

I was on FaceTime that night and in the morning but as soon as we got to the stadium it was football time as normal.

The journey home felt like forever. Both kids were asleep when I got back – I had to wake them up.

It’s hard work having two kids although, to be fair, the newborn’s all right, it’s my nearly three-year-old who causes carnage!

I used to have a nap in the day but that’s not possible at the moment so I go to bed a little bit earlier.

My first aim for the rest of the season is to get to 50 points and hopefully we can do that against Rochdale this Saturday.

After that, we’ll have six games left and I think we can win the majority – if not all of them – because we’ll be playing almost with no pressure.

We saw last year when we had no pressure on the last day, we ended up winning 5-2 against Plymouth.

The more games we win from now until the end of the season gets more fans here next year and just a better vibe. That’s what we’re looking to do.

We know we’re not a relegation side, we’re much better than that, it’s just our form this season hasn’t shown that and that’s something we need to put right.

It’s still a fairly young squad. You’ve got the likes of Brandon Hanlan, Regan Charles-Cook, even Leo Da Silva Lopes, and they’re all young boys.

I know they have played men’s football but you need to step up and be a man straight away and sometimes that doesn’t happen.

In the games they’ve played this season they’ve all done really well and it will stand them in good stead for next season.

Look at DJ (Darren) Oldaker. When DJ came in for that run of games, he was first class.

It’s been difficult since then for him but he’ll come back stronger and more experienced and he’ll know what he’s got to do.

The more games you play, you become more experienced and you just get that little bit wiser to certain things that happen on the football pitch.

Sometimes the top, top players aren’t that much better than certain others, it’s just that little bit of cleverness, that little bit of experience that gets them through games.

The more games you play, the better you become just from the stuff you see, the little bits that maybe the fans won’t see.

Chairman Paul Scally presents a plaque to Max Ehmer on his 200th game for Gillingham Picture: Ady Kerry
Chairman Paul Scally presents a plaque to Max Ehmer on his 200th game for Gillingham Picture: Ady Kerry

I played my 200th game for Gillingham against Oxford and I'm privileged to have been here that long.

The managers I've played under, I've had their trust and I'm just thankful to the chairman, the fans, and everyone for sticking by me and hopefully there's more to come.

I came here on loan from QPR to start with back in November 2014 and at first you're there to play games and help the club.

But the longer it went on, obviously I built a relationship with everyone here and come that summer I had my eye set on coming as I knew QPR wasn't an option any more.

As soon as I knew a deal was close to being done, I was pushing it as much as I could.

I get on with everyone at the club, the fans have taken to me - I hope - and I enjoy playing at Priestfield.

From the manager and the chairman to the people at the club, the fans, the players, there's just a good vibe and hopefully we can keep pushing up that league.

If you give your all to a club, the club will give their all to you and that's what they have done for me.

Max Ehmer Quickfire Questions (8115342)
Max Ehmer Quickfire Questions (8115342)
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