Martin Allen: Gillingham chairman Paul Scally defends sacking

Gillingham chairman Paul Scally says he had no choice but to sack manager Martin Allen.

Allen, who led the Gills to the League Two title last season, was dismissed on Sunday with the club 17th in League One - one point above the relegation zone.

Scally told BBC Radio Kent: "It's easy to be patient and keep holding off.

"The directors and I felt if we didn't make a change fairly quickly we'd be at Christmas and the position may not have been one we could rectify."

He added: "I am sure many fans are disappointed and I am sorry I had to make this decision but I do believe it is in the best interests of the football club."

Allen was appointed as Gillingham manager last summer and was tasked with guiding the Kent club to promotion after two seasons in which they missed out on the League Two play-offs under previous boss Andy Hessenthaler.

They lost only nine games as they won the title, but got off to a slow start this term.

The Priestfield outfit failed to win any of their opening 10 games in all competitions before securing back-to-back victories over Crewe and MK Dons which lifted them out of the relegation zone.

Analysis

By BBC Radio Kent's Gillingham commentator Matt Cole

Results have been poor this season but the timing of Martin Allen's departure still comes as a surprise.

Many fans were calling for his head when the Gills went 10 games without a win at the beginning of the season, but there were signs of a turnaround.

Even after the defeat at Shrewsbury, few thought it would be Allen's final game in charge.

The man they call 'Mad Dog' came with a reputation for volatility and, with a chairman who is famously forthright with his views, there were those who thought it would always be a case of when rather than if the pair fell out of humour with each other.

Paul Scally has expressed his sadness that results have forced him into the decision to sack the manager he appointed last summer.

It'll be interesting to see how much patience the supporters will have with the chairman and the next boss, after the sacking of a manager who many saw as a cult hero, and brought them their first league title in nearly 50 years.

However, following the defeat at Shrewsbury on Saturday, Scally says he had to act in order to improve results and squad morale.

"The statistics do speak for themselves," said Scally.

"We have only got two wins this season and nine points out of 11 games.

"We have been watching closely how the results have been going, how the team has been performing and the spirit around the camp.

"I don't think it was a particularly happy dressing room for a number of reasons. I didn't see much improvement.

"There is no doubt the team need something different to help them get that run of wins."

Scally described sacking Allen as "one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make in football".

"Martin is a good friend," he said.

"It was a very difficult day for me as it wasn't a decision I wanted to make. It was a very difficult conversation. He was very disappointed.

"He has been a great character but maybe we need someone with different chemistry to help the players play a different way that gives us the results we should be getting."

Scally says it is "most unlikely" that Gillingham will have a new manager in place by Saturday.

Allen's number two John Schofield has been placed in caretaker charge.

"John is quite capable of taking the team for the weekend," said Scally.

"We are looking at a number of options. Since the news went out I have had dozens of emails.

"Most importantly I want to get the players settled and focused on Saturday's game."