Medway Council is the proud new sponsor of League One’s Gillingham Football Club – a new partnership which will benefit grassroots and professional sport in Medway.
The council, which is celebrating 20 years since it was formed and Gillingham Football Club which are celebrating 125 years, have united in this important year.
Medway Council and Gillingham FC already share a good working relationship to promote grassroots sports and provide opportunities for local communities. The new partnership will offer further opportunities to the club, its players and Medway residents.
Gillingham FC was formed in 1893, when it was formerly known as New Brompton FC. The club has grown from strength to strength and climbed the English football league table.
When Medway Council was formed in 1998, the Gills narrowly missed out on a promotion to Division One when Manchester City clawed back two goals - one in the ninetieth minute and the second during stoppage time. However, a year later the Gills returned to Wembley with 43,000 loyal fans behind them. They took on Wigan Athletic and secured promotion to compete amongst some of the biggest clubs in England.
Gillingham FC not only has an elite team which trains at Priestfield Stadium; the club is made up of a number of teams giving children and adults, including girls, women and those with a disability, the opportunity of playing football surrounded by professional players and coaches. The council supports grassroots sports and has offered the club the use of its greenspaces for the different teams to train, providing further opportunities for local people to get involved in sport.
Today the Gills continues to give back to its fans; the club supports local people by providing a range of sporting and educational opportunities. As part of the new partnership, the club will provide match day tickets for the 2018/19 season for the council to donate to some of the residents it supports, including looked after children. Together, the council and club are committed to continuing to provide opportunities and experiences for those living across Medway’s communities, in particularly young people.
The partnership will be promoted on the Gills’ home shirt for the 2018/19 season.
Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Alan Jarrett, said: “Gillingham Football Club has given Medway so much over the years, including developing sporting excellence, providing hundreds of jobs and supporting school children through their development and education programmes. I am delighted that we have made our support for the club official by becoming main sponsors for the 2018/19 season.
“This is a partnership that will benefit the Medway community but place no burden on the Medway council tax payer. The community sits at the heart of this new partnership and I am delighted that we will be able to donate tickets to local people who might not otherwise get the opportunity of watching the club play. We will continue to support the club and look forward to see the various teams training and developing their skills in parks across Medway.”
Chairman of Gillingham Football Club, Paul Scally, said: “It is with great enthusiasm and pride that we welcome Medway Council as the club’s main sponsor for the coming season.
“Priestfield Stadium will be known as The Medway Priestfield Stadium and our home shirts and training wear will carry the Medway Council logo, in this, our 125th year.
“Our teams will wear a replica of the shirts worn by our predecessors all those years ago for all away fixtures, in celebration of our long history.
“As a club, we are committed to enhancing the lives of everyone living, working or being educated in Medway, and indeed in seeing Medway, as a growing conurbation, develop its facilities whilst creating opportunities for its residents and businesses alike, thus this further relationship with Medway Council fits extremely well for all parties and in the spirit of cooperation I believe our local people, sponsors and supporters will witness even more initiatives of mutual benefit in the year ahead.”
See also: Partnership FOI response.