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10 April 2013

A look back at the club's promotions

The 1-0 triumph over visiting Torquay United at Priestfield on Saturday, thanks to Danny Kedwell’s 15th goal of the season, secured the Gills a sixth promotion as a Football League club.

But this one was different, it was the first time in the club’s league history that they had managed to clinch promotion on home soil – the previous ones coming at the likes of Somerton Park, Layer Road, Craven Cottage and Wembley Stadium (twice).

Here is a quick résumé of the previous successes -

1 – The one and only time that the club have won a title was when Freddie Cox’s team were promoted as champions of the Fourth Division at the end of 1963-64. A George Francis goal secured a 1-0 victory at the home of Newport County on the final day of the season to secure the title thanks to a miniscule better goal average (0.019) than rivals Carlisle United.

2 – Ten years later in 1973-74 the Gills finished as runners-up to Peterborough United, three points being the difference, again in Division Four. That season promotion was clinched following Brian Yeo’s brace in a 2-0 triumph at Colchester United which came four games from the end of the season.

3 - Paul Scally’s first season as chairman of the club saw the Gills finish second behind Preston in Division Three at the end of 1995-96, again three points was the gap. A goalless draw in the penultimate fixture at Fulham was enough to move the club back up the football echelon.

4 – Four seasons later (1999-00) the Gills reached the second tier of English football for the first time when winning the Division Two play-off final at Wembley.  Steve Butler and Andy Thomson both scored headers in extra-time to finally see off Wigan Athletic 3-2 with a majority of the 53,764 fans behind Peter Taylor’s side.

5 – Until this season the most recent promotion came when Simeon Jackson netted his last-minute header against Shrewsbury Town in the League Two play-off final of 2008-09.

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