Where Are They Now? Gillingham’s Division Two play-off winners 1999-00

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 gut-wrenching 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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