Building A Future
Gillingham Ladies and Girls Football team are looking to further establish themselves in the South East Combination League
in the 2004 / 2005 season. We spoke to Club Chairman Mick Johnson about the search for new players, how to generate money and his hopes for the forthcoming campaign
Making an Impression
According to Gills Chairman Mick Johnson, it is important that the senior team look to improve upon their 2003 / 2004 finishing position in the league of third from bottom.
“We had a difficult season last time around, but we’re still at a stage in our development where by we want to consolidate our status in the league. A lot of the teams have been around for a long time and it’s vital that we can establish ourselves amongst them”.
“I think we have to maintain realistic expectations for the 2004 / 2005 season. Obviously we’d would prefer to see an improvement, but it’s not an easy league to compete in. So long as we can avoid a struggle at the bottom of the league, anything else would be a bonus”.
One particular area that Chairman Mick Johnson has identified as requiring urgent attention is the lack of numbers with regards to playing staff.
“During the 2003 / 2004 season we had a very small first team squad to select from, operating throughout with only 16 to 17 players. We definitely need more players at senior level”.
“One of the problems we have encountered is that some potential players feel that they might not be good enough to join us, but that really shouldn’t be a factor. We’re a friendly club and will certainly welcome any individuals that want to play football”.
Gillingham Ladies were born out of a side named Borstall ’88, before Chairman of Gillingham FC, Paul Scally invited the team to become an affiliated name of the men’s team in 1995. Since then, the team have gone from strength to strength.
The Gillingham Ladies claimed the South East Counties Premier League Championship in 1999 – 2000, but lost out in the subsequent play offs. They responded well and won the title again in 2000 – 2001, but this time succeeded in the play offs securing promotion. They also won the Kent Cup for the first time.
The 2001 – 2002 season saw the team win the League Cup courtesy of a penalty shoot out victory.
Gillingham Ladies play their games at the Cobdown Sports Ground, Station Rd, Aylesford, Kent having previously played at Gillingham FC’s official training ground.
Fund Raising and Sponsorship
Gillingham Ladies have adopted various money making initiatives and Chairman Mick Johnson stresses their importance to the survival of the club.
“We regularly organise games nights, playing darts, pool and snooker competitions. There was a disco at Christmas as well. It’s essential to raise funds but it’s also beneficial on a social side, getting all the players involved from junior to senior level”.
“Sponsorship is clearly another area that can provide us with necessary finances for the running of the club. We’re still looking for a major sponsor, although we do have some smaller sponsorship deals and the players get involved themselves, attaining individual sponsorship”.
Emphasis on the youth set up is clearly integral to Gillingham Ladies and Chairman Mick Johnson is happy with the way things are progressing.
“Our under 12’s, 14’s and 15’s teams all finished runners up in their respective leagues and for the 2004 / 2005 season we’re adding under 13’s and 16’s squads to our current set up”.
For any players interested in joining Gillingham, or for anybody wanting extra information about the club, potential sponsors included, contact details and more can be found here