News relevant to the club on this day

Richard Day looks back at news relevant to Gillingham FC on this day in history, games, players, debuts etc...


1895 - Millwall Athletic 8-0 New Brompton  SLD1
The visitors had no answers as the eventual league winners went to town…..

1901 - New Brompton 2-1 Watford                SLD1
Blair, Scott

1907 - Swindon Town 1-0 New Brompton    SLD1

1912 - Bristol Rovers 0-2 Gillingham              SLD1
Goals from Arthur Wolstenhome and Dick Goffin earned the Gills victory at Eastville

1929 - Plymouth Argyle 3-0 Gillingham         D3S      Att: 5,777

1935 - Bournemouth 1-2 Gillingham              D3S      Att: 9,186
Jimmy Watson and Stanley Balcombe were on target in this away win

1957 - Gillingham 2-1 Swindon Town            D3S     Att: 8,544
Brian Payne and Ron Saunders both netted as Town were beaten at Priestfield

1963 - Gillingham 2-1 Halifax Town               D4       Att: 10,745
George Francis added another brace to record another home triumph

1964 - Southend Utd 3-1 Gillingham             D3       Att: 9,001
A goal from Brian Yeo wasn't enough to prevent defeat at Roots Hall

1966 - Gillingham 2-2 Peterborough Utd     D3       Att: 7,829
Ray Bailey and Mel Machin scored in this Posh draw

1974 - Colchester Utd 4-2 Gillingham           D3      Att: 4,684
Peter Feely struck twice in this reversal at Layer Road

1982 - Gillingham 2-0 Oldham Ath.        MC2-1L   Att: 4,070
Goals from Peter Shaw and Tony Cascarino gave the Gills a decent first-leg advantage

1985 - Blackpool 2-2 Gillingham                 D3     Att: 4,571
Karl Elsey and Cascarino again both scored to earn the Gills a point at Bloomfield Road

1991 - Gillingham 0-1 Chesterfield              D4     Att: 2,829

1996 - Gillingham 1-1 Bournemouth            D2    Att: 5,966
Iffy Onuora scored but the Cherries earned a point

2002 - Gillingham 0-2 Coventry City           D1    Att: 7,722



The following players made their Gillingham debuts in the above games...

1935 - Reg Dann at Bournemouth

1974 - Peter Feely away at Colchester



1933 - John Simpson 

Gillingham manager Archie Clark paid Second Division Lincoln City £750 for the services of John in May 1957 and the goalkeeper went on to receive deserved legendary status at Priestfield.

Born in Appleby, near Kendal, he played for Peniciuk Athletic and Netherfield before moving to Sincil Bank in 1956 where he made 11 appearances.

Simpson made his Gillingham debut in a home game against Brighton which ended in a 0-1 reverse at the start of the 1957-58 campaign.

Simmo went on to play a massive total of 617 games for the Gills, including 571 league games, in a career spanning from the 1957 start through to 1972. In that time he kept 176 clean sheets.

He played a big part in Freddie Cox's 1963-64 Fourth Division Championship winning side keeping 24 clean sheets, and the 30 goals conceded set a record that stood until the 1980-81 season.

Simpson was an ever-present in five different season's 1959-60, 1963-64, 1965-66, 1967-68 and 1970-71 and despite a number of other goalkeepers arriving at the club to challenge him for the number one jersey during his 14-odd years at the club, none could permanently replace him.

He was twice named Player of the Year award and on 10th May 1971, a crowd of 9,118 were at Priestfield Stadium for his testimonial game against Crystal Palace where a number of guests including scorer Rodney Marsh, played in a 4-1 defeat.

The last of his magnificent total of 617 games came in a 0-2 home loss against Colchester United on February 19 1972. After a month on loan at Margate he finally left the club in August 1972 when he joined Maidstone United but did however return to play for Gills Reserves in a game in October 1975 at the age of 41, when regular reserve keeper Phil Owers was injured.

1946 - Dave Galvin

Dave, who had made a handful of appearances for Wolves, came to Gillingham in October 1969 when manager Basil Hayward signed him for £7000  and he made his debut in a 1-0 defeat at Bradford City.

The central defender eventually became a regular and was an important member of the Gills team that won promotion in 1973-74.

It came as something of a surprise when, having made 276 appearances in eight seasons at the club, that then boss Gerry Summers released him.

He joined Wimbledon for their first season in the Football League and put one over his former team-mates when in their first games the Dons completed a 4-2 aggregate victory over the Gills in the League Cup First Round.

After two years at Wimbledon he returned to Kent as player-boss of Gravesend and Northfleet in the summer of 1979 before joining Canterbury City in March 1980.

1946 - Alan Wilks

Alan, a Schoolboy international with England,  played for Chelsea and QPR before he joined the Gills under Andy Nelson in a £5,000 deal in July 1971.

He made his Gillingham debut on the opening day of the 1971-72 Division 4 campaign in a 2-1 home win over Southport.

A talented player with exceptional ball skills and it was no surprise that in his first season (12 goals in 53 games in all competitions) that he won the Player Of The Year trophy ahead of both Brian Yeo and Dave Peach.

The 1973-74 season, in which the Gills finished runners-up to Peterborough United in the Fourth Division, 'Arthur' as he was nicknamed, forged a terrific three-pronged goal scoring partnership with Damien Richardson and Brian Yeo who netted 18 and 32 goals respectively while Wilks himself scored 15.

After Nelson departed, new boss Len Ashurst had a more defensive game-plan which didn't suit Wilks, and after 34 goals in total of 171 appearances for the Gills he left for Folkestone in January 1976 and later had spells with Canterbury City, Chatham Town and even Dewdrop FC in the Medway Area Sunday League.

1958 - Peter Johnson

The experienced defender, who included Middlesbrough and Newcastle United amongst his former clubs, arrived at Priestfield from Southend United in August 1989 and made his debut in the goalless draw against Aldershot at home on the opening game.

He went on to make a total of 78 appearances before spells followed at Airdrieonians, Peterborough United and Wycombe Wanderers before returning to Roots Hall, as youth-team coach, in August 1996.

1972 - Efe Sodje

Efe was an experienced defender who'd played for seven league sides before arriving at Priestfield in the summer of 2007 as well as playing for Nigeria nine times.

After making his debut at Cheltenham Town on the opening day he made a total of just 16 appearances before, having not seen eye-to-eye with boss Mark Stimson, bandana-man was allowed to join Bury on loan in February 2008, a move that was made permanent that summer.

The Shakers player-coach is approaching the career mark of 600 appearances.



2000 - Jim Watts

The Isle of Wight born centre-forward was spotted by Gills boss Archie Clark playing for 119th AA Battery (Sheerness) who signed him on amateur forms in November 1956.

Within three months he was making his first-team debut against Millwall at the Den but the following week he scored his only goal in a 2-1 win at Crystal Palace.

Having made just a dozen appearances he joined Maidstone United that summer and later played for Herne Bay.

Jim died in Gillingham on the 5th October 2000.