Gillingham chairman Paul Scally has announced Steve Evans will be the club’s new manager from June 1 – but is considering his own position following long-standing “disgusting and disgraceful” abuse from supporters.
Former Rotherham, Leeds and Mansfield boss Evans, 56, left Peterborough in January and replaces the sacked Steve Lovell.
Scally revealed the news in his end of season report, published on Gilligham’s official website, in which he also reflected on a difficult period personally.
“Steve has had good success as a manager in the past and I fully expect him to bring us success both on and off the field, working within our budgets,” Scally wrote.
“He also had a successful career in commercial business before his time in football, so he is well balanced in how business works and the needs to increase revenue from non-football related activities.”
Scally referenced the expected negative reception he could face from Gills’ fans.
“Steve is no fool, and neither am I to be fair, he is aware of comments against him from some supporters, about his reputation, about what people are saying about his past,” he said.
“But I would never entertain the prospect of bringing in a manager whom I thought was wrong for the club, and although no manager comes with guarantees I can categorically say that Steve Evans is by far the best candidate for the role I have seen, and I intend to appoint him as club manager, he will commence his role on June 1.”
Scally also used the open letter as an opportunity to address issues of his stewardship at Priestfield Stadium.
He revealed: “This is probably the most difficult chairman’s report I have written over the past 24 years, in fact I have been thinking constantly since the season end as to whether I should even write it at all.
“After some considerable reflection and soul searching I have to question why I am continuing to battle on a daily basis often against the odds and under extreme pressure to run a club where I feel a segment of the supporter base… have no regard, respect, support, understanding, trust not any consideration for me as an individual, nor the role I perform as chairman of this club.”
In a lengthy transcript, he said he “must now seriously consider” whether he wanted to continue in his role, and also what the consequences would be if he should “decide to take the easy option and just walk away”.
Scally also hit out at the “disgusting and disgraceful abuse” he, his family and friends had experienced at the final game of the season against Blackpool.
He labelled those responsible as “the lowest of societies low”, “an embarrassment to this great club” and “a form of cancer that I’m not sure I can heal” before labelling ‘keyboard warriors’ as “losers on all counts”.
Scally, who first became involved with the Kent club in 1995, said he needed to “make the call” if he felt he was “not wanted or needed, then I would go.”
Earlier on Tuesday, the club had confirmed nine players would leave the club when their contracts expire at the end of June, including Luke O’Neill, Billy Bingham, Alex Lacey, Tom Hadler, Louie Catherall and Ryan Huckle.