Hope fined.... for picking up Gillingham award!

Last updated : 19 April 2002 By Luke Thornhill
Hope was voted runner-up in the player of the season awards, voted for by members of the Gillingham Independent Supporters Club.

Fan favourite at GP and Priestfield
The three players with the most votes (Paul Smith and Barry Ashby were the other two players) attended the presentation evening, after being invited by the independent group.

Gills chairman Paul Scally however, who has banned various members of the groups committee over a dispute over a domain name, has ordered the three players face disciplinary action as a result.

The Kent club issued a press release on Wednesday .

"On Saturday 13th April, three Gillingham players, namely Paul Smith, Chris Hope and Barry Ashby, attended a presentation of trophies made by the Gillingham Independent Supporters Club (GISC)," it said.

"This was despite the fact that all players had been instructed by the Chairman, in the presence of the Manager, not to attend any unauthorised functions nor to accept or receive any awards or trophies from any other group.

"The players involved have been disciplined and fined by the Club for a serious breach of club procedures.

"They were also told by the Manager, Andy Hessenthaler not to attend training yesterday (Tuesday). The players have apologised to the Chairman, the Manager and the Club's main sponsors SeaFrance for what they have described as an error of judgement."

The appropriately-named Scally went on to allege that the players, in particular Paul Smith, had been pressured into attending by the group. He also claims that the club are trying to make money off the back of the club.

In response to the accusations made by Gills Chairman Paul Scally the Gills Independent Supporters Club today issued their own response.

""The GISC committee are both disappointed and amazed at Mr Scally's actions, bearing in mind the POY trophy has been awarded at the end of every season since 1969 when the winner was Brian Yeo," said Mike Keskey, the acting chairman of GISC.

"A single telephone call was made to Paul Smith's home similar to last year informing him of the result of the GISC Player of the Year poll and he accepted our invitation to receive the trophy. There was no pressure put on Paul to attend or his fellow teamates who were very proud to receive their silverware.

"Any fines incurred by the players through disciplinary action by the Club will be reimbursed to them by the Gills Independent Supporters Club.

"Once again Paul Scally, chairman of Gillingham Football Club, has made unwarranted attacks on members of the GISC committee that will unfortunately cause yet more divisions amongst Gills fans."

Iron-Bru.net backs GISC and commends Hopey for picking up his award in person, it is always appreciated by the fans.