U's -vs- Gillingham: Fan Q & A!
Q: Last season`s Play-off Final at new Wembley. If you went, what was the stadium and atmosphere like? If you didn`t, where did you watch the game?
Of course I went, with half of Kent as well. The stadium is superb, and the atmosphere was good, especially after the 90th minute!
Q: The Shrews had beaten you quite heavily during the season. Did you still feel confident about winning that one-off?
I did, yeah. We had a good run-in and were it not for three games without a win in March and April, we'd have gone straight up. But we are a really good footballing side and are a really fit team, so revenge was always on the cards. The 7-0 wasn't actually the worst Gills performance of the season - we'd outplayed them until they scored - and I just had a feeling we'd do it. I'm so glad I was right.
Q: ...League One and a brilliant performance on the opening weekend. You`d have been top... except that Colchester went one better! You must have been thinking this division is easy, right?
No, we're under no illusions. A win over Swindon shouldn't really count anyway (!). In all seriousness, it was a better result than anyone could have hoped for, and to wallop the team that many of view as our biggest rivals was a massive boost. But having been relegated from this league the season before last - albeit after starting the season with the worst squad ever assembled by a football club - we know that it's not going to be 5-0 hammerings of scum every week.
Q: Simeon Jackson - can you keep him?
I hope so, yeah. I don't think he's the finished article, although he's been brilliant so far this season. We'll be wanting at least £1.5m in the current market for the kid and hopefully that'll put people off until January at least.
Q: Four Four Two predict that you`ll be in and around the play-off places again this term. What are your personal hopes for this campaign?
Erm, yeah. Not the top six, that's for sure. Found that one puzzling, to say the least. However, I do think that we're much better equipped for this league than we were two years ago. I think we have it in us to surprise a lot of teams and will float around just outside the top six but fall short and finish about 10th.
Although if Phil Parkinson (do you guys love him or hate him?!) stops being a moron and sells us a player he deems not even good enough for the bench, we could actually get in to the top six.
Q: Curtis Weston and Simon King have been praised in certain quarters alongside goal-getting Jackson. What sort of players are they?
King is sensational. You and every other team we play while he's out should be thanking their lucky stars. He's a left-footed centre-back and probably the best one of those in the league. I can count on one hand the number of headers I've seen him lose in the past two seasons, he's good on the ball and throws himself in the way of everything. Getting him to sign a new contract was a massive boost.
Weston is also very special. Great on the ball, he makes space for himself so well and picks out a pass with ease. And he can hit a ball as well.
I must also mention another player here, as I think Andy Barcham is our real dangerman going forward. Plays wide left but cuts inside to devastating effect, as Tranmere will tell you after his cracking goal on Saturday.
Q: You`ve drawn us for the lick-'o`-pain Football League Trophy at the end of August. Thoughts?
Not you again!
Q: Our new ground is a year old now. If you`ve visited, what did you think? If not, what are your best memories of Layer Road?
Not been yet and unfortunately won't be going tomorrow night. I only went to Layer Road once, in April 2000 in our promotion run-in. The only place I've ever been segregated from other Gills fans - if me and my mate had gone in seperate turnstiles, we'd have been forced to stand either side of a fence! To be honest though, I think the charm of places like Layer Road are sorely missed.
Q: Describe your manager, Mark Stimson, in three words.
I love him.
Q: Not the U`sual - predict a score for the game?
Entertaining game, probably a 2-1 home win. I hope I'm wrong though.
With thanks to the Gillingham Editor.
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