Gillingham owner Paul Scally has defended his decision to hand manager Ady Pennock a new 12-month contract, despite the club only narrowly avoiding relegation to League Two.
Pennock was initially made head coach in January, until the end of the season, with the Gills’ languishing 17th in League One, but he failed to turn results around as they finished 20th, just one place and one point above the drop zone.
After spending much of last season chasing promotion, before a catastrophic loss of form saw Justin Edinburgh’s squad narrowly miss out on the play-offs, this season was a shock, and many fans expected Pennock to lose his job as a result.
Nevertheless, Scally awarded him a new deal, and told Radio Kent: “My decision is based on having watched the way he’s worked.
“I understand that many may say that results haven’t been as we would have hoped. We all accept that, but he has worked exceedingly hard in some very difficult circumstances, in circumstances that in my 22 years I’ve never seen the likes of.
“I felt that he deserved a chance to see what he could do given a pre-season, given his own players coming in and given that he’d have a fresh start, but I only wanted to do that if I was able to bring in someone experienced to work above him.”
In an overhaul in the way the club is run on the football side of things, Scally has also appointed former Gillingham boss Peter Taylor as Director of Football, with his task being to “oversee recruitment and all footballing policy”.
Taylor enjoyed two spells as manager at Priestfield, and despite Scally sacking the 64-year-old over the phone in 2013, they have remained friends and the owner said: “I’ve always kept very close to Peter.
“Peter’s a very experienced person, very experienced in the contacts he has and the players he knows.
“I just feel that it’s going to be absolutely essential going forward this season that our recruitment’s a lot better than it was last season and the season before.”