Gillingham are no strangers to transfer business this summer, with Steve Evans making a number of impressive captures as he usually does.
Today, fans are not being turned by a new arrival though, rather one of their former sons signing for League Two side Crawley Town. Jake Hessenthaler has been with Grimsby Town most recently but has now opted to head back down south after his injury-hit spell was curtailed early.
During his time with the Mariners, Hessnethaler suffered a broken rib, ligament damage across the shoulder and collarbone and a punctured lung following a challenge by Simeon Jackson in a game against Stevenage.
Hessenthaler is a Gills favourite, having appeared 159 times in the League for them, bagging seven goals. He left in July 2018 for two years with Grimsby, a spell which ended as a result of Covid-19 earlier in the season.
Upon signing for Crawley, the 26-year-old said: “I’m buzzing really to get the deal over the line. It’s been quite a weird off-season for me, but it’s just nice to get it done. I’ve played at this level for quite a few years now, and I know quite a lot of the boys here. It’s been a good few days already, and I’m excited to get going.
“I spoke to the gaffer quite a lot over the summer, and we were pleased we could sort a deal out. It was a massive factor for me, I’ve been up north, I wanted to come back south, and just enjoy my football.”
Hessenthaler is still a hugely popular figure at Priestfield and some of their fans have reacted to his move to Crawley on social media this morning, along with Grimsby and Crawley supporters. You’ll find the best of their responses below.
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Gutted .. great player ! Easily league 1 standard at least !! .. shi**y Covid !!! … good luck Hess !! Please don’t score against us ! ?♂️
— martin lusty (@MarinerMart87) September 2, 2020
Jake, Gillingham have never replaced you… a massive shame but @crawleytown will be a great move for you. All the best mate.
— Darren Young (@Just_Daz_Young) September 2, 2020
— Plowy (@aplowman_andy) September 2, 2020
Delighted to have you at Crawley! Wish you all the best and we look forward to seeing you on the pitch ??
— Steve Hughes (@Steve_Hughes_) September 2, 2020
Goodluck Jake, thanks for everything at GTFC, the energy and passion you showed in the black and white stripes wont be forgotten. Goodluck at Crawley (except when you play Grimsby ?)
— Matt House (@gtfc_maff) September 2, 2020
You will be missed at Blundell Park. All the best except for two occasions next season.
— Jonny Boyden (@JonnyBoyden) September 2, 2020
Good luck at Crawley. If you have a spare tenner can you help out with decorating @Erdem_Konyar office..?
— Stephen North (@Stephen83830913) September 2, 2020
Gills fan here. Was my player of the year his last season at the club. Does all the dirty, unglamorous work and runs non stop. Too good for League Two imo.
— The First Eleven (@TheFirstEleven1) September 1, 2020