Gillingham Ladies’ manager Jack Wheeler recently scooped the FA Women’s Premier League Division One manager of the month award for March.
Wheeler has seen his side record four wins out of four, score thirty-four goals and concede none in those fixtures during March, lifting silverware when they beat Aylesford Ladies in the Kent FA Women’s Cup final at Maidstone’s Gallagher Stadium.
Gillingham’s impressive form has been noticed by the league naming Wheeler March’s manager of the month for Division One, Gills Ladies’ captain Jade Keogh was on hand to award Wheeler the prize this week.
Speaking to Wheeler after receiving the award, the manager was quick to heap praise on his team rather than take all of the credit;
“It’s a great award to win, I’m really happy not just for myself but for the team as it’s one of those things that shows how far the team has come. It is nice for us to get recognition for what we have achieved, there’s no way on this earth that I would get an award like this if I didn’t have a team around me that has been playing so well.”
Gillingham Ladies’ notched up perfect stats for March, something that Wheeler was pleased to see;
“In terms of a managers’ wishlist, it ticks quite a lot of the boxes. In March we had a big month we had the Kent Cup final and some big games in the league, it’s the business end of the season. We’ve hit form at the right time of the season and I’ve gone on to win manager of the month, I don’t really look at it as my prize, I look at it as a team prize so its as much the girls award as it’s mine.”
Gillingham Ladies have been in impressive form since the turn of the year, the award and recognition almost commends the Gills form for all of 2017 as well as March alone, Wheeler notes that they’ve slowly built a push for the title across the season;
“It’s the real business end of the season, we know what we need to do. So far in each game along the way we’ve made sure we collect the points and we’ve built a platform of confidence and belief in the team. It was probably the Cambridge game, that was big turning point for us, if you look at it in a collective we haven’t lost a game so far this season. Teams wont be looking forward to playing us at the minute, so that’s a physcological advantage to start.”
For a few of the players in the current Gillingham Ladies side and Wheeler himself, sat in a similar position back in 2014, top of the FA Women’s Premier League Southern Division they lost the title on the last day of the season when Coventry pipped them to top spot. Wheeler is keen to take the past experiences and learnt from it, not to leave themselves in a position for history to repeat itself;
“It’s bode us well over the years having that focus and concentrated mentality. But we were in a very similar position to what we are now, a few years back when we missed out on the FA Women’s Premier League Southern title on the last day of the season. I’ve learnt my bridges and took a few lessons from that, which is that I’m not concentrating on the bigger teams towards the end of the season. I’m just concentrating on the here and now.”
“Every experience you go through you learn from, in terms of my managerial career that was one of the darker days in years gone by. For the effort we put in and to lose that title on the last game of the season. From my point of view, I take those lessons I learnt out of that experience, and put things right so we don’t have that feeling once again. In essence its in our hands, as long as we put in the performances and do things right, we pull in our end of the bargain and do ourselves proud.”
Gillingham Ladies face a trip to Stevenage Ladies on Easter Sunday before back to back home games. First Actonians LFC visit K Sports on the 23rd of April before Norwich City LFC are the opponents on Gills Ladies last home game of the season, as we hold our ‘Ladies and Girls’ fundraising day.