Paul Scally: Gillingham chairman reveals new stadium plans

Paul Scally
Gillingham were in the fourth tier of English football when Paul Scally bought the club in 1995

Gillingham chairman Paul Scally says a new stadium could allow the club to sustain a place in the top two divisions of English football.

The League One side are hoping to construct a new stadium at Mill Hill in Medway, opposite their training ground.

The Gills have been based at their current 11,582-seater Priestfield ground in Medway since 1893.

"When I came here in 1995 I realised that there was no long-term future for this club on this site," Scally said.

"In 1999, I put out a document, 'The Path to Premier League Football', which some may have smiled at, but those that smiled then are probably not smiling now if you look at examples of other clubs that have succeeded with lesser grounds or lesser conurbations."

Gillingham, who currently have an average home attendance of 5,000-6,000, are 18th in League One, four points above the relegation zone.

They have not been in the second tier of English football since being relegated in 2005.

"Bournemouth comes to mind as the most recent example. But Brighton's also a very good case study," Scally told BBC Radio Kent.

"If you build a new stadium that is fit for purpose as far as sustainability is concerned, and you make it of a size capable of hosting Premier League football, and you have the right investment into the club and into the project, then the two in parallel can actually take you to the heady heights of the Premier League and beyond.

"I'm not saying that if you build a stadium that guarantees you Premier League status, of course, but what I am saying is that if you don't build a stadium, you really can't sustain top Championship or Premier League football in a stadium such as we have now."

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