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Gillingham boss Steve Evans would prefer to expunge the season if they can't play by July

Gillingham manager Steve Evans believes the season should be declared null and void if they aren’t playing again by July.

Evans has spoken passionately for the season to be completed but knows that there has to be a cut-off point.

Gillingham manager Steve Evans feels they should expunge records if games can't be completed Picture: Ady Kerry
Gillingham manager Steve Evans feels they should expunge records if games can't be completed Picture: Ady Kerry

The Gills are hoping to begin training again in mid-May for a restart in June. It’s ambitious and would involve playing behind closed doors.

Football could even be played in July but beyond that is a no-go, says the Gills boss.

“We certainly can’t be completing last season in August, September or October,” Evans said.

“I am very focussed that we will hopefully go back to football. There are lots of things we need to overcome."

“If we are not playing by July then I think then results expunged.

"It would hurt the teams that I love enormously, teams like Leeds United (top of the Championship). I have love for Peterborough United and I have a love in Scotland for Celtic to be champions.

"But, at the end of the day, if you can’t play the games, forget points average, forget everything. This is unprecedented and it should be season expunged and people start again, start again as we started last summer.”

The EFL have said they are looking into how they could test players and staff as part of their plan to resume football.

Evans said: "There needs to be a testing procedure, not only for staff, players, everyone around the team, there is a cost to playing games behind closed doors too.

“There will be medical cover, security, there will still be costs and what do Fleetwood (the team Gills were next to play in League 1) do? Do they travel to Kent and stay overnight? Well I don’t know where they are going to get a hotel.

“There is a whole load of ramifications that will come up and it changes results.

“There is a lot to overcome but I am a big optimist in life, I would love these things to be overcome, I would love to see games being played in early June and getting to a completion. It’s my number one preferred choice by a mile.

“I have listened very carefully to what all of the chairman have had to say, like Darragh MacAnthony (the Peterborough chairman), who I worked for and is very sensible. They must have invested eight to 10 million quid this year, it is very sensible for them to say we want it finished. It doesn’t appear to be so sensible if you are fighting relegation.”

Evans said last week that he backed a move to return to regionalising the lower leagues, something that got a mixed reception from fans.

But he wasn’t so keen on some others ideas.

Accrington chairman Andy Holt suggested they might be able to bring in the Pools Panel to decide some outstanding results.

“If Andy says about the Pools Panel then the only thing I would say is that get me on it when Gillingham results are coming up because we will make the play-offs!” quipped Evans.

He’s listened to the thoughts of others too, including that of the Charlton manager. They are currently inside the Championship relegation zone.

Evans said: “I listened to Lee Bowyer the other day on TalkSport when he wants it finished, as in now. I am not surprised.

“Lee is a sensible chap and he made some valid points about coming back but I think we should all, within the game, do what we can to make it finish."

There was another suggestion, coming from Ipswich manager Paul Lambert earlier this month.

Evans hasn’t seen eye to eye with his fellow Scot this season and wasn’t a fan of the suggestion that teams could use 11 substitutes in games, should they return to action.

Lambert, whose side sit one place above the Gills in 10th, had said: “If we’re told to play, would you have a mini-pre-season. When you have a pre-season you have to play maybe four or five warm-up games to get ready and you make substitutions.

“So you have to play maybe two teams in two halves and the league’s going to have to say ‘okay, you can have 11 substitutions, because you’re putting everybody at risk again’.”

Evans said: “If we had 11 subs there would be a maximum attendance at Priestfield, the best in years, because I would need to be on the bench, which means I would need to play, which means everyone would be glued to that television. It would be the highest rated show of the year!

“He (Lambert) has the biggest budget in League 1 and now you want to play with 22 players against Gillingham and Wycombe and Wimbledon and Southend?

“It is nonsense. We would be playing kids if it came to that. It would not be a level playing field. It’s not a level playing field anyway and he has a budget that is 10 times the size of ours.

“There are many people around who probably think they should be sitting top and just about to secure promotion already, given their finances.

“Paul Lambert has his own views and he was a legend to me as a footballer so he is entitled 1 million per cent with his success to have his opinions, but you can’t be having 11 subs, nonsense.”


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