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Stephen Lovell (born 16 July 1960 in Swansea) is a Welsh former professional footballer who also managed Gillingham. He played professionally for Crystal Palace, Stockport County, Millwall, Swansea City, Gillingham and AFC Bournemouth and made over 450 Football League appearances.

Steve Lovell
Personal information
Full name Stephen John Lovell
Date of birth (1960-07-16) 16 July 1960 (age 59)
Place of birth Swansea, Wales
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Playing position Striker
Youth career
1977–? Crystal Palace
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
?–1983 Crystal Palace[1] 74 (3)
1979Memphis Rogues (loan) 18 (0)
1979Stockport County (loan)[2] 12 (0)
1983–1987 Millwall[3] 146 (43)
1987Swansea City (loan)[4] 2 (1)
1987–1992 Gillingham[5] 233 (94)
1992AFC Bournemouth (loan)[6] 3 (0)
1992–1993 Sittingbourne
1993–1994 Braintree Town
1994 Barnet[7] 1 (0)
1994 St Albans City
1994–1995 Hastings Town
1995–1996 Sittingbourne
1996–1997 Gravesend & Northfleet
1997 Weymouth
Tonbridge Angels
1997–1999 Deal Town
1999–2000 Ashford Town
2000–2001 Sittingbourne
National team
1981–1986 Wales[8] 6 (1)
Teams managed
1995–1996 Sittingbourne
1996–1997 Gravesend & Northfleet
2003–2004 Hastings United[9]
2005–2007[10] Sittingbourne
2007–2010 Ashford Town
2014–2015 Gillingham (co-caretaker)[11]
2016–2017 Bromley (assistant manager)
2017–2019 Gillingham
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 12:23, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

Playing careerEdit

Although born in Wales, Lovell began his career as an apprentice with Crystal Palace in 1977. Playing at the time as a midfielder, he managed 74 Football League appearances in six years at Selhurst Park, during which he also had a spell on loan at Stockport County. In 1983, he moved to Millwall, where manager George Graham played him as a striker during an injury crisis. He went on to score 13 goals in 11 matches and remained a striker for the remainder of his career.[12]

In 1986 Lovell was injured whilst playing for Wales and was unable to regain a place in the Millwall team and, after a short loan spell with his hometown club Swansea City, was sold to Gillingham for £20,000.[12] During his time with the Kent club he played over 200 matches and scored nearly 100 goals, finishing as the club's leading scorer in four consecutive seasons[13] and equalling a club record by scoring in seven consecutive matches in 1990.[12] Lovell featured in the club's 1987 Division 3 play-off run in which the Gills defeated then Second Division side Sunderland over two legs before losing to Swindon over two legs and a replay in the final.[14]

He scored four goals in Gillingham's 8–1 defeat of Southend United in 1987 but bizarrely failed to find the net at all when the team won 10–0 against Chesterfield the following Saturday.

After a brief loan spell with AFC Bournemouth in 1992, Lovell dropped into non-league football, where he played for nine different clubs in nine years, including three separate spells with Sittingbourne. In 2000, he played for Deal Town when they defeated Chippenham Town 1–0 in the last FA Vase final at the original Wembley stadium.[15] He finally retired in 2001.[12]

Managerial careerEdit

Lovell's first managerial job came at Sittingbourne, where he was player-manager from February 1995 until September 1996, during which he led the team to the Southern League Southern Division championship.[16] He then moved on to Gravesend & Northfleet where he was manager for a year.[12]

After a spell as Football in the Community Officer for Gillingham (which overlapped the end of his playing career) Lovell returned to management with Hastings United in 2003 but left the club in 2004 after a drop in form.[9] In 2005, he returned for a second spell managing Sittingbourne,[10] a post he held until October 2007,[17] when he left to take over at Ashford Town, where he remained until the club's demise in August 2010.[18]

In December 2014 he was appointed co-caretaker manager of Gillingham alongside Andy Hessenthaler, Darren Hare and Mark Patterson following the sacking of Peter Taylor. The "Gang of Four", as they came to be known, remained in charge of the club until Justin Edinburgh was appointed as manager in February 2015. Lovell remained at the club in the role of first team coach.[19] In May 2016 it was announced that he had left the club.[20]

In June 2016, he was appointed as assistant manager of National League side Bromley, where he would work alongside former Gillingham teammate Neil Smith.[21]

Lovell returned to Gillingham as a coach in January 2017 under Adrian Pennock.[22] When Pennock was sacked in September 2017, Lovell continued as coach under the temporary managership of Peter Taylor, and became caretaker manager on 12 October when Taylor left the club.[23] After four wins in his seven matches as caretaker, Lovell was confirmed in the position with a contract until the end of that season.[24] Lovell was named the League One Manager of the Month award for January 2018, having led Gillingham to four league wins in four games in that period.[25] His contract was further extended, to the end of the 2019-20 season, in April 2018.[26]

In January 2019 Lovell led Gillingham to victory over Premier League side Cardiff City in the 3rd round of the FA Cup, earning a 4th round draw against his home town club Swansea City, who eventually knocked the Gills out of the tournament.[27]

With two matches remaining in the season, and the team effectively safe from relegation in 13th place, Lovell was sacked from the role in April 2019, with a year of his contract remaining.[28]

Personal lifeEdit

Lovell's father Alan was also a footballer, although he only managed a single professional appearance for Stockport County.[2][12] Lovell's son Mark also became a footballer, turning professional with his father's old club Gillingham in 2001. He also made only one professional appearance before dropping into non-league football.[5]

Managerial statisticsEdit

As of 22 April 2019
Team From To Record
G W D L Win %
Gillingham (joint caretaker*) 31 December 2014 7 February 2015 8 3 2 3 037.50
Gillingham 12 October 2017 26 April 2019 92 32 26 34 034.78
Total 100 35 28 37 035.00

Lovell's first spell in management at Gillingham was as part of a team of four joint caretaker managers, along with Andy Hessenthaler, Darren Hare, and Mark Patterson.


As a playerEdit

Deal Town

As a managerEdit


As an individualEdit


  1. ^ Post War English & Scottish Football League A - Z Player's Database
  2. ^ a b Post War English & Scottish Football League A - Z Player's Database
  3. ^ Post War English & Scottish Football League A - Z Player's Database
  4. ^ Post War English & Scottish Football League A - Z Player's Database
  5. ^ a b Post War English & Scottish Football League A - Z Player's Database
  6. ^ Post War English & Scottish Football League A - Z Player's Database
  7. ^ Tony Thornton, The Club That Wouldn't die, Tiger 1994
  8. ^ Bateson, Bill; Albert Sewell (1992). News of the World Football Annual 1992/93. Harper Collins. p. 209. ISBN 0-85543-188-1.
  9. ^ a b "Home - Hastings United Football Club".
  10. ^ a b Official Sittingbourne F.C. website Archived 8 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Cawdell, Luke (5 January 2015). "Gillingham are being led by a team of coaches, consisting of Steve Lovell, Andy Hessenthaler, Darren Hare and Mark Patterson". Kent Online. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Triggs, Roger (2001). The Men Who Made Gillingham Football Club. Tempus Publishing Ltd. p. 204. ISBN 0-7524-2243-X.
  13. ^ Triggs, Roger (2001). The Men Who Made Gillingham Football Club. Tempus Publishing Ltd. p. 348. ISBN 0-7524-2243-X.
  14. ^ Foster, Richard (2017). The Agony & The Ecstasy: A Comprehensive History of the Football League Play-Offs. Ockley Books.
  15. ^ a b "'It took me 25 years to get the job I wanted': Gillingham boss Steve Lovell on making up for lost time and Swansea homecoming in FA Cup". Daily Mail. 25 January 2019. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  16. ^ a b Sittingbourne at the Football Club History Database
  17. ^ Sittingbourne F.C. website
  18. ^ "Ashford Town website".
  19. ^ "Edinburgh appointed Gillingham manager". Kent Sports News. 7 February 2015. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  20. ^ "Gillingham have parted company with coach Steve Lovell". Kent Online. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  21. ^ "Steve Lovell: Former Gillingham coach appointed as Bromley assistant manager". BBC Sport. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  22. ^ "Ady Pennock: Gillingham appoint new head coach to replace Justin Edinburgh". BBC Sport. 4 January 2017.
  23. ^ "Gillingham caretaker boss and director of football Peter Taylor has left the club". Kent Online. 12 October 2017. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  24. ^ "Gillingham appoint Steve Lovell as manager". Kent Online. 16 November 2017. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  25. ^ a b "Lovell lands monthly award". Kent Online. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  26. ^ "Steve Lovell: Gillingham manager signs new contract until 2020". BBC Sport. 12 April 2018. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  27. ^ "FA Cup: Swansea City 4 Gillingham 1 - match report". Kent Online. 26 January 2019. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  28. ^ "Steve Lovell: Gillingham sack manager after 18 months in charge". BBC Sport. 26 April 2019. Retrieved 27 April 2019.