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And so the dust settles on another season.

Sunday’s 3-1 victory over Notts County the culmination of another campaign of ups and downs.

Justin Edinburgh; The stats, the gaffer, the right manAt one point during the bleakest days of winter, the Gills were quite frankly staring into the abyss, as relegation was more than a possibility.

Fast forward a few months, and we head into the summer full of optimism for the battles and challenges ahead next term. Here at RainhamEndViews, we have already done a comprehensive round up of all the Gills’ players, so we feel it’s only right that we have a closer look at how our gaffer has fared since arriving in Kent.

The Priestfield faithful’s first glimpse of Justin Edinburgh was prior to kick off on Saturday 7th February, and it’s well documented that he had a say in the changes that lead to a 2-0 win over high flying Sheffield United. A seemingly seamless transition as he continued the good work started by the now famous ‘Gang of Four’. The real acid test, however, was the following Tuesday as he took his side to Peterborough for his first game in sole charge. He passed it with flying colours, masterminding a 2-1 victory – the club’s first at London Road in nearly 20 years – and then followed it up with a 4-2 win over promotion chasing MK Dons on Valentine’s Day.

There was certainly love in the air from the Gills fans towards their new boss, and he made it seven points from nine the following weekend with a 2-2 draw at Yeovil, only denied maximum points in the dying moments of the game.

Easy?!? Of course not – Justin is bright enough to know that – as setback number one duly arrived in the home game versus Barnsley in the form of a 1-0 defeat. Now Justin had to respond to adversity for the first time, and his chance arrived the following Tuesday with a trip to historical rivals Swindon.

Against a side still in the hunt to go up automatically, Edinburgh engineered a display full of high energy, pressing and no shortage of good football as the Gills won 3-0, perhaps their best display of the entire campaign. The Barnsley performance had been consigned to history in the best possible fashion, and few would have imagined after such a resounding win that Edinburgh’s charges would then go four games without tasting success. Two disappointing home draws (Doncaster and Colchester) book ended a gutsy point away at league leaders Bristol City and a thumping 3-0 reverse at Chesterfield.

Just three points from twelve saw any faint hopes of the Play-offs disappear, and perhaps gave supporters a sense of perspective after his fabulous start. The win less run was ended at Crawley, a 2-1 win all but securing League One status, but after another poor home display – a 1-0 defeat to Fleetwood – there were actually murmurs on social media that Justin perhaps wasn’t the right man for the job. That’s correct, some were actually calling for him to be relieved of his duties, despite losing only three of his first eleven games in charge, winning and drawing four.

Now I am sure Mr Edinburgh doesn’t take any notice of what is written in the press or on the internet, and he continued working hard, stating that his players wouldn’t be allowed to ease off for the remaining half a dozen games. There were, at the end of the day, contracts as well as points still to play for.

And so it proved, because despite him rotating his squad – he wanted to have a look at all those available to him – he picked up eleven points from the final eighteen available. The only defeat came on a bizarre rain soaked afternoon at Scunthorpe, and he rectified the home issues of March as the Gills saw off Bradford (1-0) Rochdale (1-0) and Notts County (3-1) in their last three games at the MEMS Priestfield.

Overall he has won 7 (41%) of his 17 games in charge, losing only 4 (24%) times. He has overseen victories in 50% of his home games, losing only twice, and away from the MEMS Priestfield he has won three times (33%) in nine, losing just two. Overseeing a plus goal difference overall, at home and away, the Gills average 1.58 goals per game under his stewardship.

More importantly, they are averaging 1.59 points per game since his arrival. Based on a 46 match campaign, that would equate to 73 points, sufficient to finish 5th in the season that has just ended. And all of this has been achieved with a squad that he inherited.

Therefore, imagine how much more progress the club could make given a full pre season under Justin, plus some players of his own coming in. His work towards 2015-16 has already started, as supporters patiently wait to find out who is staying and who is going.

We may not agree with every decision he will make in the next couple of months, but we have already seen enough evidence to surely realise he is most certainly the right man to take us forward.

Up the Gills!!

Post written by RainhamEndViews
Blog: rainhamendviews.wordpress.com, Twitter: @RainhamEndViews

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