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Sunday, 24 May 2009
GILLINGHAM boss Mark Stimson feels he has proved his critics wrong after the play-off final win over Shrewsbury that clinched a return to League One. 
Stimson was under pressure after the Gills' relegation last year and their indifferent start to the season. 

He told BBC Radio Kent: "I'm someone who loves to prove people wrong. We've proved we should be in League One. 

"Fans have got the right to criticise - but sometimes in the season it's not been constructive criticism." 

He continued: "Football is my drug, my buzz. Those people are never going to drive me out. There's only one person who can drive me out of the club and that's the chairman."

The Gills were promoted thanks to Simeon Jackson's last-minute header at Wembley - the only goal of the game. 
Stimson was involved with angry scenes with a fan after the game. 

He explained: "I was walking down the steps with my winning medal on and some cheeky guy who abuses me every single home game tried to shake my hand. 

"I said to him 'are you mad?' because I can't forget that. I can take constructive criticism all day long like anybody else but abuse, no. 

"I never shake that guy's hand and I don't want him to cheer me on because he's made his views clear. 

"When the team's down and not doing well, that's when you need your true supporters and the people behind the goal have been everywhere with us this season and even last season. 

"I remember losing at Northampton 4-0 last season and outside the ground there's 30 people signing the players' names - that's what I call true supporters through thick and thin.

"With people like that the club can go a long way and hopefully I'm the man in charge to take them there." 

But Stimson was keen to play down his role in the victory over Shrewsbury, who had beaten them 7-0 in the league fixture earlier on in the season. 

The former Grays Athletic and Stevenage Borough boss, who took over at Priestfield in 2007, said: "The players deserve all the credit. 

"I take the abuse, I pick the team - but when we win, don't give me the applause. I've had that in my last two jobs and it doesn't really work. When you leave, they hate you anyway. 

"Last year the players I brought in had to work with some players who didn't care about the club. All they cared about was picking up their pay cheques. 

"It was like a cancer in the camp and we had to get rid of it - now it's nearly all gone."

One of the players that Stimson brought in was captain Barry Fuller, who went to the 2000 play-off final victory over Wigan as a fan. 

Fuller said: "It's the best day of my life - I've been here before [in the 2007 FA Trophy final] but that was nothing compared to today. 

"It's every boy's dream, but it's a dream you never really think you're going to fulfil." 

Fuller had words of praise for his manager and the non-League players he brought in. 

He continued: "I'm privileged that the manager gave me the opportunity to be the captain. I think people underestimated them - he's a great manager. 

"We always believe we're going to score - especially when we've got the boy Jackson up front. 

"He's obviously come from non-league [Rushden] and a lot of fans were writing the non-league guys off. 

"Hopefully we've proven we're not non-league players any more." 

Article courtesy of BBC Radio Kent - 96.7fm or 104.2fm - www.bbc.co.uk/kent 
Last Updated ( Sunday, 24 May 2009 )
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