Former Gillingham Boss Sacked As Relegation Battle Looms

Former Gillingham and Barnet boss Mark Stimson has been sacked by his latest club, Grays Athletic, as a battle against relegation looms in the Isthmian League North Division.

The 55-year-old has seen his side amass just five points from the last 12 matches, leaving them second from bottom in the division. Remarkably, there’s an even worse side propping the rest up, Stowmarket, who have just two points but two games in hand over Grays.

Despite that small cushion, Grays have relieved Stimson of his duties, another sacking on his record that goes back to his time with Gillingham. Prior to moving to Preistfield, the Plaistow-born gaffer was on the up, having won the FA Trophy twice with Grays and taken them to within a whisker of the National League.

He left them in 2006 to take over at Stevenage, where he won the FA Trophy again, this time knocking Grays out of the competition. In 2007, he resigned as Stevenage boss, still without a sacking on his record, and moved to Gillingham.

In his first season, the Gills were relegated, and Stimson’s man-management skills were questioned by some of the players. He earned promotion the following season via the playoffs, but was sacked after relegation back to League Two a year later. That started a descent that saw him appointed (and fired) by Barnet before spells with Kettering Town, Thurrock, Waltham Abbey and Hornchurch.

The sacking comes just days before their Essex Cup clash with Atheltic Newham, but most importantly, four days before their trip to Stowmarket in a real relegation six-pointer, which could see them slump to the bottom of the table.

Writer’s View

Mark Stimson’s name popping up was a blast from the past. There was a time when he was seen as the bright young thing of England’s non-league management scene. He was linked with the Peterborough job at one point after the sacking of Keith Alexander, but he wound up at Gillingham.

He was a divisive figure there; some supporters laud the promotions, and others lament the relegations. One player, Aaron Brown, condemned his man-management skills as ‘shocking’, although he did praise his coaching sessions.

Either way, it didn’t work out in Kent for Stimson, and his slide down the pyramid has been rubber-stamped with this latest sacking. However, he has had enough success in the lower echelons of the English game to suggest someone will be willing to take another punt on him in the near future.

 

 

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