New Gillingham owner Brad Galinson gives an amusing response on the club’s open-top away end at Priestfield and potential plans for it.
The League Two club have played at stadium throughout their existence, being extensively developed prior to the 1930s, but there was then little change until the late 1990s and the arrival of Paul Scally as chairman.
Three of the four stands were demolished and rebuilt between 1995 and 2000 with a fourth stand, known as the Town End, got rid of to make way for a new stand, to be named the Brian Moore Stand after television sports commentator Brian Moore, a well-known fan of the club, but Gillingham’s financial situation meant the new stand to be built.
A temporary stand was put in place in 2003 and remains in place as of 2023, but are changes finally about to be made to it?
“It’s a badge of honour!” 💪🏟️
🔵 Gillingham owner @BradGalinson was asked about their notorious open-top away end at Priestfield
— BBC 5 Live Sport (@5liveSport) August 10, 2023
Brad said: Everyone says, when are you going to upgrade the away end? And I say, we want them to be snowed on, rained on. The absolute worst, most horrible situation to sit in. No, I honestly so the way in is it’s definitely something that’s on our list, but number one is there’s some stuff we needed to do first. In January, it was stay in the league. And it’s the kind of thing that, as capacity grows, which actually it’s growing quicker than we expected did, we will upgrade sort of the stadium, including the away end, but to fill capacity sort of in a sustainable way. Although I have a bit of a closeness of heart to that temporary stand, I think we may have broken the English record pretty soon for the longest temporary standing. So that’s our tradition that we can give back to the country.
Radio presenter: The steel work for the scaffolding is absolutely magnificent to behold. Yeah, it is. From behind. Archibald Leech is turning in his grave right now, but, yeah, it is absolutely beautiful. And I know what that answer was. That is you saying it’s not going anywhere. Because it is. Again, it’s competitive advantage, isn’t it? You don’t want there, they don’t want their fans in there. And come winter, that will be somewhere that willwin you a couple of points here or there.
BG: Yeah. We consistently get ranked the absolute worst place to come. As an away fan, I think that’s a badge of honour.
In January 2023, there were reports that Gillingham’s Brian Moore Stand could be renovated later in the summer as new owner Brad Galinson looks to improve the club on and off the field.
Chief operating officer Paul Fisher was asked what plans were in place for the ‘Town End’, as per Kent Online.
He said: “We need to do some work on that, we had to do some work to get it ready for the Leicester (FA Cup) game, which we did, it meant taking some of the bits from the top half down to the bottom half.
“We probably need a plan for it come the summer, in an ideal world we would take it down and build something with a roof on it.”
Mr Galinson said: “I think in the short-term Priestfield needs a bit of TLC.
“As the team gets more success, a promotion or two, it is quite viable and something we want to look at and it is good problem to have that we would probably want to upgrade to a new stadium, but in the community though.
“I think that is a natural progression as you get up leagues but now we are fighting to stay in the Football League so it is hard to realistically say, ‘oh, when we reach the Championship do we want a new stadium?’ It’s a great problems to have – in the future.”
Mr Fisher said: “It would be a nice problem to have when we start filling this place. Let’s start to fill Priestfield and then I think we can start to worry about a new stadium.
“I think some of that new stadium concept over the last few years have been a bit too much of a diversion for Paul (Scally) and the club.
“In the short and medium term I think Priestfield has the facilities, let’s start filling this place again.
“We get the directors down from some of the teams we play now, you show them around before a game and they can’t believe it, okay, it needs a bit of TLC in some of the areas and a bit of modernisation but the facilities here were built when we were in the Championship.”
In May 2023, the stadium undergone changes including the addition of a jumbotron, LED advertising boards, new club shop and ticket office, as per Kent Online.
“The off-season is quite busy,” said Mr Galinson.
“We’re bringing back a store, we’re re-doing the GFC school, we’re bringing in LEDs, a scoreboard, a bunch of upgrades, tills, infrastructure, all the above as much as we can.
“The new scoreboard will be big, like a big jumbotron kind of thing which will either be behind the Brian Moore Stand, or diagonal. We’re still trying to figure it out, depending on what happens with the Brian Moore Stand.
“You’re going be able to watch Tom Nichols score again with a replay on a giant screen!
“There’ll be a second layer of LEDs on the upper Medway Stand, like in the Premier League.
“Hopefully we’ll have a successful season and we’ll have a bit more entertainment that will go along with that.”
Here’s what the Brian Moore stand used to look like before the scaffolding…
This is what fans said as the new Gillingham owner gives an amusing response on the club’s open-top away end at Priestfield…
@lillegs85: Legend @BradGalinson a badge of honour 🤣
@MelissaEd1: Do they still give out plastic ponchos in case it rains? I still have mine from Notts County away in 2015, last match of the season when we were relegated. I have no idea why I kept it!
@LeeLudlow3: Most away fans get put in the Gordon road now as most teams in this league barely bring 200. I’m sure you’ll bring more though so you might want to bring yours along as I haven’t seen one of those for years 😂
@jamesrtingley: It ugly, but it’s part of our club now. Seen plenty of positives from away fans about the decent view compared to other clubs away ends at L2 level. I remember when I sat in this stand for the Villa cup match about 10 years ago and when Jackson scored the whole stand rocked 😂
@Jay_Stairs: Love this 🤣
@stollieb: Oh what a legend @BradGalinson #gills
@J_Ashby06: Absolutely spot on don’t come down to us and complain about our ground. Get cold, get soaked. No one cares it’s funny 🤣
@SiderianUK: Hahahaha, top man! Sat in it plenty of times as a home fan, decent view from up there and we’ve all got waterproof skin, why be scared of a bit of rain? GTID
@93Matty24: Love that, absolutely agree. Why make away fans comfortable sod them
@steven_george: 😂😂😂 I’ll be glad to see the back of it one day but @BradGalinson isn’t wrong! #gills
@MaxLewis070: @BradGalinson just gets better and better doesn’t he 🤣🤣 #gills
@DomGFCBallard: My chairman 👏🏻
@kieronwilson3: My thoughts exactly, let the away fans get soaked it’s funny
@RobertWest2: I can vouch for this! Horrendous away end! We went in the scorching heat last game of the season and you couldn’t escape the sun. However I can imagine compared to mid winter in the rain it gets much worse.
@MitchGfc: What a ledge