We catch up with Gilling­ham’s 1999-2000 pro­mo­tion team

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Neil Fissler

GILLING­HAM could have been for­given for dread­ing a re­turn trip to Wem­b­ley’s Twin Tow­ers so soon af­ter the most heart­break­ing de­feat in their his­tory.

May 30, 1999 had been a Sun­day they would never for­get as Carl As­aba and Robert Tay­lor struck twice in the last ten min­utes to put them 2-0 up against Man City.

But Kevin Hor­lock and Paul Dickov forced the game into the ex­tra time, be­fore Guy But­ters had a cru­cial penalty saved in a shoot-out by Nicky Weaver.

Fast for­ward al­most ex­actly a year and they found them­selves back at Wem­b­ley, but by now Peter Tay­lor had re­placed Tony Pulis as man­ager.

They had taken time to get go­ing but soon found top gear, and only a last day de­feat at Wrex­ham de­nied them au­to­matic pro­mo­tion.

“Los­ing to Man City was gutwrench­ing and it af­fected us,” said Nicky Southall, who played 45 of 46 league games. “We had played al­most an ex­tra month, so we didn’t re­ally have a chance to clear our heads.

“We came back in (next sea­son) and it was al­most like we hadn’t been away – there were still men­tal scars.

“But the be­lief came back. Peter Tay­lor gave us new ideas in terms of train­ing.

“The Wrex­ham game was an­other kick in the teeth, get­ting beaten 1-0 by a spec­u­la­tive shot from about 35 yards and we had chance af­ter chance.

“But I think it was writ­ten in the stars that we were go­ing to go back to Wem­b­ley.”

Burnley snatched run­ners-up spot be­hind Pre­ston, while Gilling­ham had to make do with the play-offs against Stoke City.

Af­ter los­ing 3-2 at the Bri­tan­nia Sta­dium they needed ex­tra time to over come the Pot­ters’ nine men to book an­other trip to Wem­b­ley.

It was a fi­nal that proved to be al­most as dra­matic. Pat McGib­bon’s own goal put Gilling­ham ahead be­fore Wi­gan lev­elled through Si­mon Ha­worth.

Wi­gan’s Kevin Sharp was sent off be­fore Stu­art Bar­low net­ted a penalty, but late goals from Steve But­ler and Andy Thom­son sent the Gills into the Cham­pi­onship for the first time ever.

“It was fan­tas­tic to get to Wem­b­ley two years in a row,” said Southall. “Many play­ers don’t ever get the chance to play there, so to do it two years in a row was amaz­ing.

“The send­ing-off of Sharp was prob­a­bly the turn­ing point but we still ended up con­ced­ing a penalty when they were down to ten men.

“I think Barry Ashby thought he had cost us, but it seemed to gal­vanise us. Then, Steve But­ler equalised and Andy Thom­son scored that dra­matic late win­ner to send us up.”

1. Ady Pen­nock: Cen­tral de­fender has coached at Stoke City, man­aged Welling United and For­est Green Rovers and is now the Gills’ boss.

2. Ny­ron Nos­wor­thy: Cen­tre-half who won the Cham­pi­onship with Sunderland and is now work­ing as a prop­erty de­vel­oper in Lon­don.

3. Chris­tian Lee: Cen­tre-for­ward who was a play-off fi­nal win­ner with Northamp­ton Town and has worked as a male model.

4. Barry Ashby: Cen­tral de­fender who made 500-plus Foot­ball League ap­pear­ances, man­aged Mar­gate and has worked in sales in the City of Lon­don.

5. Vince Bar­tram: Goal­keeper who played for the Gills in two play-off fi­nals. He worked for Wil­liam Hill and in car sales but is now de­vel­op­ment goal­keeper coach at Southamp­ton.

6. An­thony Williams: Goal­keeper who had ten loan spells. He has been a goal­keep­ing coach, as­sis­tant man­ager and mortgage ad­viser. Now a Stoke City scout and coach ed­u­ca­tor for FAW.

7. Jim Stan­nard: Goal­keeper who was twice named in the PFA team of the sea­son. He has coached at Crys­tal Palace, Gilling­ham, Brent­ford, Southamp­ton and now Da­gen­ham & Red­bridge.

8. Guy But­ters: Cen­tral de­fender who man­aged Winch­ester and worked on Brighton’s com­mu­nity pro­gramme, as well as be­ing as­sis­tant man­ager of Eastleigh.

9. Matt Bryant: Cen­tral de­fender who lives in Han­ham, near Bris­tol, where he works for so­cial ser­vices in a respite home for chil­dren. 10. Ju­nior Lewis: Mid­fielder who has coached at Leeds United, Can­vey Is­land and Bore­ham Wood where he is cur­rently first team coach. 11. Barry Miller: De­fender who is now a teach­ing as­sis­tant in Don­caster and also the Don­caster Rovers club chap­lain. 12. Kevin Brem­ner: Youth team coach who is now work­ing for a build­ing com­pany. 13. Matt Cook: Foot­ball In Com­mu­nity co-or­di­na­tor. 14. Andy Thom­son: Striker who is study­ing per­for­mance coach­ing and is the as­sis­tant foot­ball coach at Stir­ling Univer­sity. 15. John Hodge: Winger now liv­ing in Newquay, Corn­wall where he runs a sports coach­ing busi­ness, Kewnow Sport & Leisure. 16. Nicky Southall: Mid­fielder who helped the Gills win pro­mo­tion from League Two a decade later. Now as­sis­tant man­ager of Maid­stone United. He also works for Pro Soc­cer Academy. 17. Brian Statham: Eng­land Un­der-21 de­fender later man­aged Hey­bridge Swifts and Bil­ler­icay Town. His busi­ness in­ter­ests in­clude me­dia, in­sur­ance and in­vest­ments. 18. Mark Saun­ders: Mid­fielder who set­tled in the South-West. Man­aged Tiver­ton Town and coached at Ex­mouth Town. 19. Robert Tay­lor: Striker who won pro­mo­tion with Man City the same sea­son. He man­aged in his na­tive Nor­folk, worked on Nor­wich City’s Com­mu­nity Sport Foun­da­tion and is now a play­ers’ agent. 20. Brian McGlinchey: Northern Ireland B de­fender who also won pro­mo­tions at Ply­mouth and Torquay. Set­tled in Ply­mouth where he works for Lloyds Bank. 21. Si­mon Rat­cliffe: Youth De­vel­op­ment Of­fi­cer who be­came a pri­son of­fi­cer and ran Gills Ladies. 22. Wayne Jones: Physio who ran his own pri­vate prac­tice in South Wales. 23. James Pin­nock: For­ward now based in Long­field, Kent. A di­rec­tor of the fam­ily up­hol­stery busi­ness, E P Pin­nock. 24. Mick Gal­loway: Mid­fielder who re­turned to his na­tive Not­ting­hamshire where he man­aged a num­ber of Non-League sides. 25. Paul Smith: Mid­fielder now liv­ing in Basil­don, Es­sex where he helps his wife run an eques­trian shop and has in­ter­ests in prop­erty. 26. Steve But­ler: For­ward who worked as as­sis­tant to Tay­lor at a num­ber of clubs and is now coach­ing for Soc­cer Show­case Elite Train­ing Academy. 27. Paul Scally: Still chair­man. 28. Peter Tay­lor: As­sis­tant man­ager to New Zealand foot­ball side. 29. Peter Spokes: Vice-chair­man who was an ac­coun­tant in Tun­bridge Wells. 30. Andy Hessen­thaler: Mid­fielder who has man­aged Gilling­ham three times, as well as Dover and Ley­ton Ori­ent. 31. Neil Masters: Full-back who has set­tled in Nor­way, where he has scouted for a num­ber of English clubs, in­clud­ing Portsmouth and Bournemouth. 32. Mark Pat­ter­son: Full-back who stayed at Gilling­ham. Since Jan­uary 2012, he he has been the de­vel­op­ment man­ager. 33. Roland Edge: De­fender and Scot­tish League Cup win­ner at Hibs. As­sis­tant man­ager of Folke­stone In­victa and a PE teacher.

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