How chairman Iain McInnes' Portsmouth connections helped take former Fulham and Millwall defender to Gosport Borough

Gosport Borough boss Shaun Gale revealed how chairman Iain McInnes played a crucial role in helping him bring former Fulham defender Matt Briggs to the club.

Friday, 23rd July 2021, 11:42 am
Matt Briggs has joined Gosport Borough. Picture: Christopher Lee/Getty Images

But Gale told how it was former Pompey chairman McInnes' Blues connections which put the wheels in motion for the move.

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Kimbell served on the Blues board during McInnes stint as chairman - and it was a recent conversation between the pair which alerted Gosport to Briggs' potential availability after leaving Danish top-flight side Vejle Boldklub.

‘It’s been going on for a good few weeks (discussions) through a friend of the chairman who’s an agent, basically,’ revealed Gale.

‘He (John Kimbell) mentioned a lad to us and I had conversations and I met with him (Matt). I told him what our vision is, I know what he wants to do, I know there have been a few things throughout his career and life he’s found difficult - I just think we fit the bill.

‘He ticks the boxes that I need and I believe I can help him a lot, not just on the football, on the other side of things as well.

‘We’ve managed to sign him, which is good for us, he’s going to be a big player for us. He’s fitted in well with the lads straightaway, he’s a nice lad, he’s a big signing for us.

‘It’s another great signing, great to get him over the line, but thanks to my chairman (Iain McInnes) again who’s backed us.

‘He was the one who initially got the contact and got the meeting set up, but backed me to get him across the line as well, so really pleased to get him in.’

Briggs was billed as England's next big thing when handed his Fulham debut in the Premier League at the age of just 16 years and 65 days against Middlesbrough in May 2007.

He was also capped by the Three Lions at under-16, under-17, under-19, under-20 and under-21 level in the early stages of his career.

But he was never really able to make his mark at Fulham, making just 29 appearances for the club, and eventually leaving for Millwall in August 2014 having had loan spells at Leyton Orient, Peterborough, Bristol City and Watford during his time with the Cottagers.

Briggs, now capped by Guyana at international level, arrives at Gosport having had spells at 14 different clubs in his career.

But Gale insists there is no denying the defender's potential given his impressive CV - and the Boro boss is determined to get the best out of him on the pitch and away from football.

Gale said: ‘He’s got ability, he’s six foot four, he’s a strong boy, he’s an athlete who’s driven and wants to do well. He’s a massive, massive signing for us, he’s a big plus to add to the players I’ve already got.

‘I’ve got some really good players and he ticks the box down the spine of our team.

‘It’s a centre-half who, along with the centre-halves I’ve already got signed - Ryan Woodford is obviously experienced and played a lot of games at the level and above, Matt Casey is a young lad learning his trade and it’ll be great for Matt as well - I’ve got Elliott Wheeler who can play there if needed.

‘It’s another experienced player so we’ve got good cover and it’s a great signing for me and he’s fitted in fantastically.

‘There’s no doubt of ability - I want to talk about the positives with him - but we’ve all had little blips throughout our lives along the way and a few bumps in the road.

‘Ultimately, I’m here to help him as a player and to get the best out of him at Gosport and also to do other things around Gosport and help.’