'We want Scally out' - Gillingham fans urge Chairman to go following League One relegation

A plane flying over the stadium earlier in the season with a message saying 'WIN LOSE OR DRAW - SCALLY OUT' Credit: PA

Gillingham FC boss Neil Harris has admitted his side failed to meet expectations following the club's relegation to League Two.

The Kent side lost 2-0 to Rotherham at Priestfield on Saturday, leaving them heading into the 22/23 season in the fourth tier.

“Ultimately, I’m the manager of this club so I take responsibility for letting the fans down this season. However, the standards, the professionalism, the recruitments haven’t been good enough and we’ve paid the price.

“When I walked in we had the smallest budget in the division and normally that means you’ll end up bottom of the league. I knew the challenge when I walked in.

“We tried to compete with Rotherham today but ultimately, they’ve got better players and a better squad.

Watch extended clip of Gillingham manager Neil Harris apologising to the fans after relegation from League One

“We’ve scored 13 goals at home this season. That’s a disgrace for any football club. I’ve wanted to play a back four since I came in here but I can’t because we just concede goals.”

“I’ve got seven players under contract. Not all of those seven will be here under me next season. The players haven’t been good enough.

“You can always blame past regimes, the fact we haven’t got this or that, but they have to take responsibility.”

How the League One table looks since Neil Harris took charge of Gillingham

Credit: ITV News Meridian

A draw would have been enough to extend Gillingham’s nine-year stay in League one, but goals from Rotherham's Rarmani Edmonds-Green and debutant Georgie Kelly meant it wasn't to be.

Gillingham went close to drawing level on the stroke of half time, but Ben Thompson's half volley rattled the crossbar from four yards out. Other than that, the Gills never looked like scoring.

When the final whistle blew after eight minutes of extra time, both sets of fans flooded the pitch with hugely contrasting emotions - in one half the Millers supporters were celebrating promotion, in the other the Gills faithful were miserable.

Supporters from the Rainham End could be heard chanting 'We want Scally out', referencing Gillingham's Chairman, Paul Scally, who bought the club for £1 in 1995, saving it from administration.

Gills fans can be heard chanting for the Chairman of the Club, Paul Scally, to go

The club has been at the centre of a number of managerial changes over the last six months after the sacking of Steve Evans in January.

Steve Lovell was brought back in to lead the club on a temporary basis assisted by midfielder Alex Macdonald, before Neil Harris was appointed on 31 January.

Paul Scally apologised to staff, players and fans at the time for what he described as 'not a very good atmosphere' at the club.

Boss Neil Harris has defended the chairman, but warns if the football club doesn't make major changes, they'll continue to struggle next season.

“The chairman is a really good man and he’s put a lot of money into this football club over the last 25 years, and he'll continue to do that next year. It’s fine for people to say we’d like Paul to leave and somebody else to come in, but there has to be people willing to come in to support Paul and if not he’ll just run the football club the best way he can.

Gillingham chairman Paul Scally

“He won’t threaten the football club, he won’t take huge debt and I support him on that. I don’t want the club to take huge debt. I care about the club, if I didn’t care about the club I’d just do what other managers do - get the investors to go and borrow millions, leave and see it go pear-shaped.

"The chairman wants the support, he’s a Gillingham fan and we have to find a plan over the coming weeks to recruit the right characters, right players, to drive the standards of the whole football club to a better level than they are today.

“If the football club doesn’t take the steps I want it to take, then we won’t be successful next year. So that’s the challenge to the football club, I’m all in as you can tell, I enjoy it here, I think I've galvanised the football club and brought the terraces closer to the pitch.”

Gillingham fan James Hawkins, speaks to ITV News Meridian

Despite the apparent animosity towards Paul Scally, many fans have been showing their support for boss Harris and the club.

James Hawkins host of the Gillingham FC themed 'ME7 Podcast', said: "Usually when relegations happen you blame the management, but you can't blame Neil Harris and his management staff for today. You can blame Steve Evans and the set of players he put together, and the board.

"Neil Harris is the reason I'm optimistic about next season, if we'd not had him in charge I'd be seriously worrying, but he's already said he'll be in charge and I'll be amazed if we don't come straight back up under him."

Matt Boosey, who runs Gillingham fan channel GillsInTheBlood told ITV News Meridian: "If he (Harris) is backed properly and the early signs seem to be that Paul Scally is going to back him then there's hope. We've got Nicky Shorey as Head of Recruitment, something we've not had for a long time, so that makes us a 21st century football club, which is great.

Gills fan Darren Stock, added: "To even take it to the final day in my view is a minor miracle but it does give us hope and belief for next season."