On the 3rd January 2017 Gillingham sacked manager Justin Edinburgh a month short of his 2 year anniversary with the club. Edinburgh left the Kent club 17th in league 1 after a mixed set of results but his dismissal could be seen as harsh considering in his time he turned them from perennial strugglers to a team who just missed out on the playoffs last season. Despite some Gillingham fans glad to see him go you do have to ask yourself now do they regret it?
Edinburgh was only out the game 10 days and was given the hot seat at my team Northampton Town replacing the unpopular Rob Page who’s short tenure can only be describe as a disaster. Just over 2 months into the job and 13 games in Edinburgh has already won 6 of those pulling Northampton clear of the drop zone. The same can’t be said for Gillingham though who have only won 3 of their 15 games since Edinburgh was sacked losing games to fellow relegation sides such as Coventry, Swindon and Oldham in the process. Club legend Ady Pennock was given the Gillingham job just a day after Edinburgh left but his failure to pull Gills clear of relegation has got fans concerned with questions being asked whether Gillingham will go down or not?
Edinburgh has shown he is still a good young upcoming manager with the impact he has made at Northampton, he has bought back the free flowing attacking football all the fans enjoyed in their league 2 tittle winning campaign last season and fans believe with the right recruitment as well as keeping star players Northampton could well make an ambitions charge for the playoffs next season. I believe Edinburgh could of still turned Gillingham around this season, their squad on paper certainly isn’t a bottom 4 one and while he was still Gills manager they actually managed to beat Northampton 2-1 at Priestfield back in November. Gillingham fans will have their own opinions in terms of would Edinburgh have turned them around or not but I think they will all agree that Pennock wasn’t the right man to replace him when he has no football league managerial experience and there were also some bigger names available at the time like Steve Cotterill, Kenny Jackett and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. All 3 I think would of done better than what Pennock has done. So with chairman Paul Scally looking like he got his latest managerial appointment wrong, is also showing he probably should of stuck with Justin Edinburgh at least until the end of the season?
Gillingham are just 3 points clear of the bottom 4 with 6 games to go but teams below them have games in hand and will overtake them should they win them. But the key game could well be their last one which is against… Yes you guessed it, Justin Edinburgh’s Northampton away at Sixfields. It could be a game that sends Gillingham down potentially which I’m pretty sure Edinburgh will enjoy as their seems to be no love between him and Gills chairman Paul Scally. If Gillingham do end up going down it would surely suggest it was the wrong decision to sack Edinburgh as he is on course to guide Northampton to a comfortable mid table finish, bearing in mind Northampton were in a lot worse form than Gillingham when Edinburgh took over it just goes to show how good a job he has done since he has took over and potentially how much Gillingham could now maybe do with him?
It could be an interesting affair between these two sides at Sixfields on the final day of the season