1920–21 Gillingham F.C. season

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Gillingham
1920–21 season
Chairman E.N. Crawley
Manager John McMillan
Football League Third Division 22nd
FA Cup Sixth Qualifying Round
Top goalscorer League:
Tommy Hall (9)

All:
Tommy Hall (11)
Highest home attendance approx 12,000 vs Southampton (28 August 1920) and vs Millwall (30 October 1920)
Lowest home attendance approx 5,000 vs Portsmouth (15 September 1920)
Home colours

The 1920–21 season was the first season in which football club Gillingham F.C. competed in the Football League. Gillingham had previously played in Division One of the Southern Football League, but in 1920 the Football League decided to add a third division to its existing set-up and did so by absorbing the entire Southern League Division One to form the new Football League Third Division.

Gillingham had finished bottom of the Southern League Division One the previous season and fared no better in the Football League, finishing bottom of the table after registering only eight wins in 42 matches.

Football League[edit]

The Gillingham team pictured before the first match of the season
Players - back row (left to right):Robertson, Battiste, Baxter, Wigmore, Sisson. Front row: Holt, Hall, Branfield, Gilbey, Roe, Gore

Gillingham had played in the Southern Football League since its formation in 1894, apart from when the league was suspended due to the First World War, but had achieved minimal success and had finished bottom of Division One in the 1919–20 season. The club escaped relegation, however, as the clubs in the Southern League's top division were admitted en masse to the Football League to form the new Third Division. In preparation for the new season the club signed a number of new players, including Wally Battiste from Grimsby Town, Tommy Hall from Newcastle United, Tom Thompson from Sunderland and Tom Gilbey from Darlington. Only five players who had represented the club in non-league football went on to make appearances in the Football League: Jock Robertson, Jack Branfield, Joseph Griffiths, Donald McCormick and Arthur Wood.

The club's first ever Football League match was against Southampton at Priestfield Stadium in front of a new club record crowd of approximately 12,000 fans, and ended in a 1–1 draw, with Tom Gilbey scoring the Gillingham goal. Four days later the team defeated Reading 2–1 away from home to register their first victory, and a week later repeated the feat at home, beating the Berkshire club 1–0 to give the club a record of two wins, one draw and one defeat from its first four matches. This was followed, however, by a run of six matches without a win, including a heavy 6–1 defeat against Merthyr Town.

After beating Exeter City in mid-October, Gillingham then played 12 consecutive matches without a win, including an emphatic 5–2 defeat at home to Northampton Town on Christmas Day. The winless streak came to an end when a George Needham goal gave the team a 1–0 win over Bristol Rovers on 29 January, but there then followed a sequence of five games in which the team could only manage a goalless draw and four defeats. The team staged a late rally in April, winning three of their last six matches, but it was not enough to avoid finishing the season bottom of the table.

Date Opponents H / A Result

F – A

Scorers Attendance
1920-08-28 Southampton H 1–1 Gilbey 12,000
1920-09-01 Reading A 2–1 Roe, Gilbey 7,000
1920-09-04 Southampton A 0–3 14,000
1920-09-08 Reading H 1–0 Gilbey 7,000
1920-09-11 Merthyr Town H 0–0 9,500
1920-09-15 Portsmouth H 1–1 Battiste 5,000
1920-09-18 Merthyr Town A 1–6 Thompson 14,000
1920-09-25 Plymouth Argyle A 1–3 Hall 16,000
1920-10-02 Plymouth Argyle H 0–1 10,000
1920-10-09 Exeter City A 1–2 Wood 10,000
1920-10-16 Exeter City H 2–1 Battiste 2 10,000
1920-10-23 Millwall A 0–4 20,000
1920-10-30 Millwall H 0–0 12,000
1920-11-06 Newport County A 0–1 8,000
1920-11-13 Newport County H 1–4 Needham 8,000
1920-11-27 Portsmouth A 2–2 Gilbey, Robinson 15,000
1920-12-11 Swindon Town A 1–1 Gilbey 9,000
1920-12-25 Northampton Town H 2–5 Gilbey, Hall 8,000
1920-12-27 Northampton Town A 0–2 10,000
1920-12-28 Luton Town A 0–5 11,000
1921-01-01 Watford A 1–3 Roe 6,000
1921-01-15 Brentford H 1–3 Hall 8,000
1921-01-22 Brentford A 3–3 Needham 2, Wood 9,000
1921-01-29 Bristol Rovers H 1–0 Needham 8,000
1921-02-05 Bristol Rovers A 0–2 9,000
1921-02-12 Norwich City H 0–0 7,000
1921-02-19 Norwich City A 1–2 Hall 8,000
1921-02-26 Crystal Palace H 0–1 8,000
1921-03-05 Crystal Palace A 1–4 Hall 10,000
1921-03-12 Brighton & Hove Albion H 1–0 Waugh 7,000
1921-03-16 Watford H 1–1 Hall 6,000
1921-03-19 Brighton & Hove Albion A 0–1 9,000
1921-03-26 Grimsby Town A 0–2 11,000
1921-03-28 Southend United A 0–1 10,000
1921-04-02 Grimsby Town H 2–1 Waugh, Wood 7,000
1921-04-09 Queens Park Rangers A 1–0 Wood 10,000
1921-04-13 Swindon Town H 1–1 Wood 8,000
1921-04-16 Queens Park Rangers H 1–2 Hall 8,000
1921-04-23 Swansea Town A 0–2 13,000
1921-04-30 Swansea Town H 2–1 Hall, Wood 8,000


Pld
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
42
8
12
22
34
74
28

Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; F = Goals for; A = Goals against; Pts = Points

FA Cup[edit]

Gillingham entered the FA Cup at the fourth qualifying round, defeating fellow Kent club Maidstone United, then went on to beat another non-league club, Dulwich Hamlet. The club was then eliminated by fellow Division Three team Northampton Town in the sixth qualifying round.

Date Round Opponents H / A Result

F – A

Scorers Attendance
1920-11-20 Fourth qualifying Maidstone United H 1–0 Gilbey 6,725
1920-12-04 Fifth qualifying Dulwich Hamlet H 2–1 Hall, Gilbey 8,000
1920-12-18 Sixth qualifying Northampton Town A 1–3 Hall 10,000

Squad statistics[edit]

Tommy Hall was the leading goalscorer for the season

Gillingham used a total of 26 players over the course of the season. No player was ever-present, but captain Jock Robertson, goalkeeper Jack Branfield and top goalscorer Tommy Hall each missed only one match.

Name League FA Cup Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Wally Battiste 33 3 3 0 36 3
Tom Baxter 21 0 2 0 23 0
Jack Branfield 41 0 3 0 44 0
Albert Carter 2 0 0 0 2 0
Tom Gilbey 11 6 3 2 14 8
Syd Gore 8 0 0 0 8 0
Joseph Griffiths 5 0 0 0 5 0
Tommy Hall 41 9 3 2 44 11
Andy Holt 6 0 0 0 6 0
Fred Howard 7 0 0 0 7 0
Donald McCormick 1 0 0 0 1 0
Stuart McMillan 11 0 0 0 11 0
Alfred Milton 1 0 0 0 1 0
George Needham 36 4 3 0 39 4
Ernest Ollerenshaw 1 0 0 0 1 0
Jock Robertson 41 0 3 0 44 0
Thomas Robinson 2 1 1 0 3 1
Archie Roe 16 2 1 0 17 2
George Russell 3 0 0 0 3 0
George Shaw 3 0 0 0 3 0
Tom Sisson 40 0 3 0 43 0
Tom Thompson 37 1 3 0 40 1
John Waugh 24 2 0 0 24 2
Clive Wigmore 9 0 0 0 9 0
Arthur Wood 30 6 3 0 33 6
Harry Wright 32 0 2 0 34 0

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Brown, Tony (2003). The Definitive Gillingham F.C.: A Complete Record. Soccerdata. ISBN 1-899468-20-X. 
  • Triggs, Roger (1984). Gillingham Football Club: A Chronology 1893–1984. Kent County Libraries. 
  • Triggs, Roger (2001). The Men Who Made Gillingham Football Club. Tempus Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0-7524-2243-X. 
  • Bradley, Andy; Roger Triggs (1994). Home of the Shouting Men: Complete History of Gillingham Football Club 1893–1993. Gillingham F.C. ISBN 0-9523361-0-3.