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PAST MASTERS - BRIAN YEO

18 July 2012

Richard Day looks back on the career of the goalscoring legend



He was released by Pompey at the end of that 1962-63 campaign.

replay took place but the young striker wasn't in the side, Saunders found the net once again but Portsmouth lost 2-1. nd Just another three days passed before the 2

His first game was the 1-1 draw in front of a 11,482 crowd at Fratton Park, Ron Saunders scored the home side's goal. Yeo also played in the replay three days later when a crowd of 24,642 saw Saunders score again in a 2-2 draw at Highfield Road.

Round tie and replay in March 1963. th He made two senior appearances for Pompey, both of which were against Coventry City in the F.A Cup 4

Born in Worthing, Sussex, he started his football as a junior along the coast with Portsmouth in 1959 and turned professional two years later.
Brian is the Gills record goalscorer with 149 goals to his name in a career that spanned from July 1963 to May 1975.



Aged 19, Freddie Cox brought him to Gillingham on a free transfer in July 1963 along with Rodney Taylor, Cox had previously been their boss at Fratton Park.



It took him a while to win a regular place, in 1964-65 he scored six in 10 games, this however included five in two matches, a brace against Shrewsbury Town plus his first senior hat-trick against Luton Town, both games ending 5-0.

The young forward certainly got off to a flyer, scoring just four minutes into his debut against Torquay United here at Priestfield Stadium in October 1963 and went on to complete his first season with two goals in 11 appearances.



In his first two seasons at the club he scored 50 goals in total but many of them were for the reserves, including a double hat-trick in a 9-0 victory over Gravesend Reserves in a Metropolitan League match.



During the 1968-69 season, Brian top scored with 18 goals and this led to the recognition of him becoming the first ever winner of the Gills Player of the Year award.

Brian was awarded a well deserved testimonial game towards the end of the 1972-73 season and a crowd of 12,292 packed Priestfield Stadium for the game against the then mighty West Ham. Guest Frank Saul scored the Gills goal in a 1-2 defeat.

He was top scorer again in the 1971-72 campaign with 24 goals. His second goal of the game in a 3-3 draw at Scunthorpe in April saw him become only the second Gills player in history to score 100 goals and he went on to break Brian Gibbs 110 goal record the following season.

He was honoured at the end of the 1973-74 season when he was selected by his fellow professionals in the PFA Division 4 team-of-the-year alongside team-mate Dave Peach.

It was the 1973-74 Fourth Division promotion winning season though that the striker really hit the headlines. His goal against Lincoln City on 24 April took him to 31 goals which equalled Ernie Morgan's club record. His massive tally, the highest in the Football League, included hat-tricks against Scunthorpe and Northampton.

Having shelved initial plans to retire, he continued into 1974-75 season and scored six goals in 25 appearances. His last goal coming in the 2-0 win over Grimsby Town (26 April) and a week later at Crystal Palace he made the last of his 387 appearances. For many years he ran a newsagents in Lower Gillingham and worked as a delivery driver for the Kent Messenger.

After retiring from playing in May 1975, he went on to manage Kent sides Folkestone and Canterbury City.


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