PLAY­ERS GAVE JUSTIN VOTE OF CON­FI­DENCE

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Chris Dunlavy

WITH three wins from his first three games, Justin Ed­in­burgh ap­pears to have won over the Gilling­ham dress­ing room in dou­ble-quick time.

Mind you, that should come as no sur­prise – most of them voted for the for­mer Spurs full-back to be the new manager!

Af­ter Peter Tay­lor was dis­missed on NewYear’s Eve, Gills chair­man Paul Scally asked ev­ery player, coach and youth-teamer at Pri­est­field to name their pre­ferred can­di­date.

Ed­in­burgh came top, and within weeks the man who led New­port into the Foot­ball League was on his way to Kent.

“It was all the chair­man’s idea,” said Max Eh­mer, the Gills de­fender on loan from QPR. “He ba­si­cally gave us a bit of pa­per and told us to write down who we thought was the best can­di­date to be our new manager.

“It wasn’t from a short­list or any­thing like that – just lit­er­ally who­ever you wanted to write. It wasn’t just the play­ers ei­ther. Ev­ery­one at the club, from the Un­der-21s through to the coach­ing staff was asked for their se­lec­tion.

“It was nice to be asked and, from what I gather, Justin Ed­in­burgh had a lot of sup­port so I guess the chair­man took it on board.”

Tay­lor was sacked with the Gills 20th in League One and when the care­taker-man­age­ment team of Andy Hessen­thaler, Steve Lovell, Dar­ren Hare and Mark Pat­ter­son over­saw three straight de­feats, it ap­peared a fool­hardy de­ci­sion.

Im­pres­sive

How­ever, the makeshift man­age­ment team swiftly stead­ied the ship with a five-game un­beaten run and a trio of vic­to­ries un­der Ed­in­burgh – in­clud­ing an im­pres­sive 4-2 beat­ing of ti­tle-chas­ing MK Dons – has lifted Gilling­ham to within five points of a play-off berth.

“The gaffer hasn’t changed a lot re­ally,” said Eh­mer. “He knew we were go­ing well when he ar­rived so I think it was a case of ‘keep it up and I’ll be happy’.

“We’ve got 16 points out of the last 18 so we’re go­ing re­ally well right now. Last month it was look­ing like a rel­e­ga­tion battle. Now we’re aim­ing for the play-offs. That’s how this league works and we’re bounc­ing now.” Ed­in­burgh played with strike leg­end Jur­gen Klins­mann at White Hart Lane and if the 45-year-old picked up any Ger­man, he’ll find a will­ing lis­tener in Eh­mer.

The 23-year-old was born in the Fa­ther­land to Ger­man par­ents but moved to Lon­don when he was five years old and now con­sid­ers him­self Bri­tish. How­ever, he still speaks Ger­man and would even turn his back on the Three Li­ons if it came to the crunch.

“My dad’s re­tired now but he was a banker,” says Eh­mer. “We moved over when I was five so I’ve vir­tu­ally lived here all my life.

“Even so, I can speak Ger­man flu­ently. My whole fam­ily are from a town near Stuttgart, about 30 miles from the Ger­man bor­der. I go back most sum­mers to see ev­ery­one.

“I feel English but, if it ever came down to it, I’d choose to play for Ger­many over Eng­land. With all those con­nec­tions I feel like I’d have to.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

MAX FAC­TOR: Max Eh­mer in ac­tion for Gills and, inset, Justin Ed­in­burgh

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