Andy Thomson's late goal earned the Gills a memorable victory over Wigan Athletic 16 years ago

On May 28, 2000, Gillingham Football Club beat Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium to secure promotion to what was then Division One.

The 3-2 victory at England’s national stadium (in the last Division Two play-off final held at the ground before it was completely rebuilt) saw the Gills promoted to the second tier of football for the first time.

Extra-time goals from substitutes Steve Butler and Andy Thomson gave the club a hard-fought victory against the Latics, who played for nearly 40 minutes with 10 men after defender Kevin Sharpe was sent off.

“We hadn’t played as well as I would have liked, but credit to the players, they’re the ones who stuck at it and got what they deserved,” said then Gills manager Peter Taylor.

To commemorate this historic day, the club have produced a free, downloadable PDF of the day’s matchday programme.

On sale at the historic stadium for £4, the 40-page document included an interview with Taylor, an overview of the club’s season (ending with the assessment that “Gillingham have won plenty of new admirers in recent seasons”) and a few too many references of the previous year’s Wembley defeat against Manchester City.

>> To download the 2000 play-off final programme (PDF), click here.

The programme, while showing some signs of wear and tear from the day, remains in good condition and has been reproduced in full for this free download.

Were you one of the 42,000 Gills fans at Wembley that day? You can be part of the action once again next season, as the club looks to return to the Championship for the first time since 2005.

Gillingham Football Club season tickets go on general sale on Wedneday, June 1. For more information, click here – don’t miss out on securing your seat at the home of league football in Kent.

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