WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Whatever happened to Gillingham’s Third Division runners up of 1995/96
NEIL SMITH says Tony Pulis was a breath of fresh air when he walked into Priestfield Stadium and started to sprinkle his magic dust.
Only two seasons earlier the Gills had narrowly avoided going out of the Football League and possibly out of business.
But, backed by new chairman Paul Scally, Pulis came in and made a raft of new signings.
Suddenly the club were on the up and at the end of Pulis’ first season they finished as Division Three runners up, three points behind Preston North End.
Smith says that was due to Pulis’ no nonsense approach to football management and getting everyone pulling in the same direction.
“There was no ‘I’ll see how it is’. Straight away it was ‘if you wanna go, you go’ but if you wanna stay you are going to have to work your socks off’.
“Obviously the seasons before weren’t good enough. Tony shook the club from the foundations and it was exactly what was needed.
“I’d seen the times when the club had nearly gone out of the league and out of existence. Having someone like Tony come in was like a breath of fresh air.
“It needed that shake up. Paul Scally also gave it a bit of an injection and direction. I can honestly say that I loved every minute of it.
“Training was hard work. I’d never trained like it before in all my career. Tony also brought us a belief.We went into games knowing we were going to win in the tunnel.
“I would have run through a brick wall for Tony and the rest of the team because I know the other lads would do it for me.”
Gillingham looked as if they were going to walk away with the title until winning only one of ten games during February and March.
In the end they had to settle for runners up spot when their third ever promotion – after success in 1963-64 and 1973-74 – was secured with a goal-less draw at Fulham.
1. Dominic Naylor: He is now running Flow plumbing and heating solutions in St Albans.
2. Joe Dunne: Joined the coaching staff at Colchester United where he ended his career. Now first team manager there.
3. Neil Smith: He is assistant manager of Bromley and runs the clubs academy as well as coaching at Crystal Palace’s academy once a week.
4. Richard Carpenter: Coaching for Brighton Community Scheme and is on the coaching staff at Hove college BHASVIC.
5. Jim Stannard: Managed Redbridge before working as goalkeeper coach at Gillingham twice, Crystal Palace, Southampton and now Dagenham and Redbridge.
6. Steve Brown: Is now back
living and working in his native Southend on Sea.
7. Scott Lindsay: Former technical development coach at Gillingham before becoming assistant manager at Lincoln City and now Tamworth.
8. Gary Micklewhite: Was youth development officer at QPR, assistant manager at Wycombe and a coach with Charlton. Now a cab driver in London
9. Mark O’Connor: Coached Gillingham, Bournemouth Portsmouth, Plymouth Argyle and Stoke under Tony Pulis. He is now Bristol City’s U21 boss.
10. Wayne Jones: The physio worked at Newport County in September 2013. Lives in Kent with his family.
11. Andy Arnott: He is based in Rochester, Kent and has been a project manager for Dry space Structures since January 2008.
12. Darren Freeman: The former winger was manager of Whitehawk in the Conference South until being sacked in January 2014.
13. Dave Martin: After working as a project manager for a dry line company is now a cab driver in London.
14. Tony Butler: He finished his career at Alfreton Town and is now back living and working in the North of England.
15. Mark Harris: After twice winning the FA Trophy with Kingstonian he became a sales rep for a tool hire company.
16. Richard Green: The former central defender is now based in Walsall where he works as a driving instructor.
17. Simon Ratcliffe: After working for Gillingham as youth
development officer he returned to Norfolk and has been a prison officer at Norwich Prison for 14 years.
18. Kevin Bremner: Worked in the Academies of Millwall and Gillingham. Lives in Gillingham and works as a sub contractor in the building industry.
19. Paul Watson: He studied physiotherapy at Brunel University and in 2009 joined Brighton where he is currently first team physio.
20. Leo Fortune-West: Now living in the East Midlands where he works in fund raising and is doing some coaching.
21. Paul Wilson: Lives in Hastings and works for Freedom Leisure as a centre manager in Bexhill.
22. Tony Pulis: Now in charge of Crystal Palace having previously managed Stoke (twice), Bristol City, Portsmouth and Plymouth Argyle.
23. Paul Scally: Former owner of a photocopier company has been chairman of the Gills since 1995.
24. Lindsay Parsons: Worked under Pulis in various coaching and scouting capacities prior to leaving Stoke City in May 2013.
25. Dennis Bailey: The committed Christian lives in Birmingham and works for another former footballer Derek Jefferson and his company Sports Pursuits
26. Adrian Foster: Has managed Gillingham Town and is now in charge of Southern League Frome Town
27. Kevin Rattray: He lives in Edmonton, London and works in the City of London.