The locker room team talk is an integral part of the beautiful game. Sir Alex Ferguson, for example, uses his to burst the capillaries around his nose through excessive "hairdryering", while Neil Warnock takes them as an opportunity to improve his rich lexicon of swear words.
Gillingham boss Martin Allen, however, prefers to inspire his team to success by opening the floor to guest speakers plucked randomly from the crowd.
Prior to their recent visit to Port Vale, a lady named Donna was given the opportunity to rouse the Gills to victory. The Mirror quotes Allen from his program notes for the Rochdale home match:
"Last Saturday on the way into Port Vale, as we got off the bus, a lady in a Gillingham shirt asked me for my autograph," wrote Allen.
"She told me that she travelled up from Gillingham on her own, on the train, and she never misses a game.
"She told me her name was Donna and she worked for the post office, she was a season ticket holder and her dad was missing his first game for years.
"She bubbled and oozed happiness and a positive attitude, so I took her into the dressing rooms, introduced her to all the players, had some photographs done with the lads and then she gave a speech, or team talk, to the players from a supporter's perspective.
"She told them all they were great, she told them all to play the way you have been and she told them all we would win 2-1."
Contrary to Donna's prediction, Gillingham actually won the game 2-0, and they currently sit three points clear of Port Vale at the top of League 2. Allen was so delighted with her motivational skills that he invited the post office worker to ride home on the team coach, rather than making the solo trip down south on the train.
Over the next few games, Allen is planning team talks from a chef, an accountant, a nurse, a vicar, a house cat, a picture of Hightower from Police Academy, and the rival manager.
- Sports & Recreation
- Port Vale
- Sir Alex Ferguson
- Martin Allen