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Bromley boss Woodman: Gillingham talks did not distract my team’s play-off push

Bromley manager Andy Woodman does not believe that the interest from Gillingham earlier in the season played a part in his side failing to reach the play-offs.

Woodman was given permission to talk with the then League One side after they earmarked the former Crystal Palace goalkeeper coach as a replacement for Steve Evans.

The 50-year-old spoke with the Gills but Woodman turned down the opportunity to jump up two divisions and decided to stay with Bromley.

Gillingham went on to appoint former Millwall boss Neil Harris, but he could not help stave off relegation to League Two.

Bromley were just four points behind top of the table Stockport County, and sitting in the play-off places, when Woodman ruled himself out of leaving Hayes Lane.

The Ravens finished the National League season in 10th place and seven points away from the top seven.

Speaking to the South London Press about whether the Gillingham job acted as a distraction to the season, Woodman responded: “I have heard a lot of people comment on that and ask: ‘Do you think the Gillingham thing sidetracked us?’

“Actually, when the Gillingham talks were going on, we had our best run of results. We beat Notts County, we beat Grimsby, and we beat Woking – all in a row. We had a real good run of results and three wins on the spin.

“I don’t think that [the Gillingham talks] was the issue, and people like to use that as an excuse.

“The Gillingham situation was there, and my players played even better at that time. The real problem that we had was that we had a couple of key injuries – there is no doubt that affected us.

“It affected our style of play, the way we had to play, and we went away from our mantra a little bit because we had different players having to come into the team.

“I have looked back on this really closely to see where we kind of fell short. The only place we fell short was that we didn’t score enough goals from other positions – we relied on Michael Cheek to get all our goals.

“I don’t think the Gillingham situation actually affected myself or my players.”

Woodman told our paper in February that Bromley’s ambition was one of his main deciding factors in turning down the job at Priestfield and staying with the South Londoners.

“The immediate ambition is to make sure we can try and get to the Football League – there is no secret of that,” added Woodman when asked where he believes what the potential of the football club is.

“We have kind of got sidetracked a little bit by this FA Trophy final and we can’t deny that. But we only finished two points worse off than last year, and the points difference was so much different this year.

“The goal here, like a lot of clubs in this league, we all want to get into the Football League because that’s the ambition. But the football club is on the right path. If you come to Bromley and look at the facilities being put in place, the infrastructure and the owner, you’ll realise that it is only a matter of time before this club kicks on.”

See Friday’s South London Press for an in-depth interview with Woodman ahead of this Sunday’s FA Trophy final.

PICTURE: KEITH GILLARD

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