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Favourites to become new Gillingham manager as they part company with their head coach

The favourites to become new Gillingham manager has been revealed as they part company with their head coach Stephen Clemence.

John Percy of the Telegraph first revealed the news, saying: “Expecting a lot of manager changes this summer (again). Lower league clubs are on it already: Gillingham sacked Stephen Clemence and his assistant Robbie Stockdale earlier today.”

This confused fans after the club said nothing but quotes two hours before his tweet explaining how Stephen Clemence was looking to the future at Gillingham, who finished 12th in League Two for 2023/24, missing out on the playoffs by six points.


Gillingham Football Club can confirm that it has today parted company with Head Coach Stephen Clemence.

Stephen joined the Gills in November 2023 and has since worked hard to achieve the ultimate goal of getting the team heading towards the top end of the table. Despite an improvement in performances and style of play, sadly results have not met the expectations set by the club and, as a result, the Board believe a change is necessary to give the club the best possible chance of gaining promotion next season. Assistant Head Coach Robbie Stockdale will also be leaving the club.

Managing Director Joe Comper said: “Stephen and Robbie are great characters and are good people. We have been met with a really difficult decision, whether to stick with them in the hope results turn around after changes to the playing squad in the summer, or to bring some fresh impetus to the club at a time when a new person can spend time assessing and assembling a squad that they believe can take us forward, hopefully towards League One next season.

“Our supporters have backed us heavily over the past two seasons and we are impatient to achieve success for them, and feel that our best chance of having that success is by making a change at this point.”

Director of Football, Kenny Jackett, said: “We now begin the process of appointing a successor to Stephen and Robbie. We are identifying targets we believe could take this club forward and will be looking to make an appointment as quickly as possible, so the new management team can form an integral part of the squad building process straight away.”

We thank Stephen and Robbie for their hard work and dedication to the club since they joined, and wish them well in their future endeavours.


BetVictor (29th April – 2:30pm)
Gareth Ainsworth – 4/1
Michael Duff – 5/1
Steve Bruce – 5/1
Scott Lindsey – 6/1
Pete Wild – 10/1
Andy Woodman – 12/1
Lee Johnson – 12/1
Mark Bonner – 12/1
Paul Heckingbottom – 12/1

“We showed great character in the second half,” said Clemence after the 2-2 draw at home to Doncaster.

“I have now challenged them as far as next season, we have to have a mentality where we take that into 90 minutes. We will try and get some help for the boys and improve the team and squad but going forward we have to have a winning mentality.

“I would have loved to have won it for the supporters, that would have been nice. People have talked about coming from behind and not scoring enough in games so it would have been nice if it ended that way, but it hasn’t.

“They still showed good character to come back and get a point, but I’m still frustrated, to be honest. I always come into a game wanting to get a win.

“To come from two goals behind and get a point, well done, but I wish we had started the first half like that and it would have been a different game.

“We have finished where we deserved to finish and now we all have to look forward together as a group and a football club to try and make improvements to make us better next season and that’s certainly what I will be aiming to do.”

This is how fans reacted with the the favourites to become new Gillingham manager revealed as they part company with their head coach…

@HaydnParry: Well, that’s a decisive move. I do trust that ‘Plan C’ (after the Harris and Clemence plans A and B) is well thought out & ready??! Clemence finishes with a 33.33% win rate in the lge (10 wins in 30 games) which is identical to Neil Harris’ rate (25 in 75). Overall W12 D9 L13.

@GarethHowgill: I’ve been on the fence, but the simple fact is that we’ve shown little improvement over the season since his appointment, no new manager bounce, and we were playing exactly the same week in week out with no sign of learning from mistakes. Too many home draws also

@josh_read18: I’m not saying this is the wrong decision but my god am I shocked

@ScoopsFM: Embarrassing really. The comments just a few weeks ago from our owners to this. Who’s next for us? #Gills

@ThommoGFC: Difficult one to what to think about this one. I’ve never been a huge fan of sacking managers mid-way in a season so for me if we were going to sack Clemence, I’d rather do it now than give him the summer window and then potentially going tits up and sacking him Oct/Nov time.

@JamesH0403: Wow! Surprising but you know what, it’s 100% the correct decision. Like the club say, expectations weren’t met, onto 2024/25 now!

@TGJ03: Maybe controversial however I personally feel that’s the right decision. Our style of play hasn’t changed one bit, he hasn’t improved one player in the squad and I don’t think our performances have improved.

@GillsSFT: Only time will tell if it’s the right decision. Didn’t click and if the club can’t overhaul the whole squad they need to find a manager who can get the most of these players. SC couldn’t do that. #Gills

@OwenLDBR: Tough on Clemence with it being his first head coach role but ultimately the right choice for me, style of play wasn’t particularly evident and no players improved under him for me, if anything regressed #Gills

@ShaneDeville86: It has actually happened. A shame it hasn’t worked out for him but at least someone can come in, have the summer to work with the players and a full season to achieve the goal of promotion. No excuses now. #Gills

@HM_Collier: I think this is the right call. It just hasn’t worked out . If we weren’t sure on him, it’s much better to be ruthless and proactive now than wait until the first bit of poor form next year. Some good candidates out there – better options than when we looked last time #Gills

@ReeceHeard_: For me it’s 100% the right decision. It’s certainly not all on Clemence but the experiment didn’t show enough signs of working. Now go and get Gareth Ainsworth

@PrivateRanter: 🤞🏻for an experienced manager at this level and then stick with him. Don’t have an issue with SC going. Seems like a lovely bloke, but saw nothing in his time here to indicate he could improve us. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the capability though and genuinely wish him well.

@Luke_Teachen: Can’t say that I’m surprised or shocked, clear the expectation was promotion and that wasn’t delivered. The facts are we got worst under his stewardship. Time to look forward on sealing promotion next season! #Gills

@Brian__Horizon: Sometimes I despair at our club. What the hell kind of decision is that?? The poor blokes done nothing wrong and has been given crap tools to do his job with. The failure of the January window was the problem. @BradGalinson I think someone should explain this!

@MorThnJustASong: We look like complete Clowns 🤡 Get rid of Harris when winning games but not scoring enough goals or playing nice football…get rid of Clemence for not winning enough games (from not scoring) but playing good football and scoring goals when we do!? Couldn’t make this up.

@DanielB83025210: Ridiculous decision. Clem was working with Harris squad & not even given a summer to get his own players. He already knew the squad & knew what we needed going forward. Now we waste time trying to find a new manager instead of immediately working to improve the squad. #gills

@intherainhamend: Absolutely the wrong call to make. We’ll end up looking like Watford. Awful decision. Deserved the summer at the very least

@AGraizevsky: Interesting decision. Probably correct in the long term, but could this also be Jackett covering his failures by having Clemence as the fall guy?

@Farrell1Jason: Seems very harsh to me. Think he needed summer window. In Brad we trust but hope next appointment is the right one

@BurtonLeon_: Surprising after stopping the Donny train Saturday. Good club and good fans Gillingham, hope they sort it out

@ally_round: As I said when Harris went, this only makes sense if the replacement is lined up. The last thing we need is losing six weeks interviewing a whole load of candidates. I hope the lesson has been learned.

@EmlynTimmons: Absolute joke of a decision, @BradGalinson if you want quick success then throw this budget and sustainability plan out the window, you have to take a huge personal loss for instant success otherwise you build it over time..if we continue to sack managers every 6 months…

@Paul_Beaney: Disappointed to see Clem and Stockdale leaving. He was part of the new dawn, there were a few others we’d much rather see out of the club. Is the recruitment team who we want comment from, no.

@LiamWard86: Guess will have to wait until next May to decide if this is correct call or not, but reckon we’ll never truly know

@Up_The_Gills: Agree with this simply not good enough.

@stephenahook: Well surprised but admire the quick decision making. Is it Gareth Ainsworth in waiting..

@Littlecas: Don’t agree with this, he needed next season

@MaxLewis070: Wow. Big big big decision. Absolutely essential we get the next appointment done asap and give him chance to have his own FULL window and pre season. No 1 month wait this time… #gills

@DeanHerbert1: Hopefully you’re getting rid of the recruitment team also right? Shambles

@DomGFCBallard: I’m stunned 😳

@mattyboi1991: Right decision. Now to get a good manager in and have good summer transfer and compete at the top

@CBurgGFC: Seems like the right decision to me. he seemed like a good bloke his inexperience showed too often, I’m not sure I’d trust him with a summer window. We don’t have time for a developing manager. Hopefully we’ve learnt our lesson from NH sacking & have got a replacement lined up!

@sixpointertom: I genuinely did not see that coming. Shocked.

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