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1920–21 Gillingham F.C. season

1920–21 Gillingham F.C. seasonDescription : 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 bette... Page:1487

Gillingham
1920–21 season
ChairmanE.N. Crawley
ManagerJohn McMillan
Football League Third Division22nd
FA CupSixth Qualifying Round
Top goalscorerLeague:
Tommy Hall (9)
All:
Tommy Hall (11)
Highest home attendanceapprox 12,000 vs Southampton (28 August 1920) and vs Millwall (30 October 1920)
Lowest home attendanceapprox 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

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.

DateOpponentsH / AResult

F – A

ScorersAttendance
1920-08-28SouthamptonH1–1Gilbey12,000
1920-09-01ReadingA2–1Roe, Gilbey7,000
1920-09-04SouthamptonA0–314,000
1920-09-08ReadingH1–0Gilbey7,000
1920-09-11Merthyr TownH0–09,500
1920-09-15PortsmouthH1–1Battiste5,000
1920-09-18Merthyr TownA1–6Thompson14,000
1920-09-25Plymouth ArgyleA1–3Hall16,000
1920-10-02Plymouth ArgyleH0–110,000
1920-10-09Exeter CityA1–2Wood10,000
1920-10-16Exeter CityH2–1Battiste 210,000
1920-10-23MillwallA0–420,000
1920-10-30MillwallH0–012,000
1920-11-06Newport CountyA0–18,000
1920-11-13Newport CountyH1–4Needham8,000
1920-11-27PortsmouthA2–2Gilbey, Robinson15,000
1920-12-11Swindon TownA1–1Gilbey9,000
1920-12-25Northampton TownH2–5Gilbey, Hall8,000
1920-12-27Northampton TownA0–210,000
1920-12-28Luton TownA0–511,000
1921-01-01WatfordA1–3Roe6,000
1921-01-15BrentfordH1–3Hall8,000
1921-01-22BrentfordA3–3Needham 2, Wood9,000
1921-01-29Bristol RoversH1–0Needham8,000
1921-02-05Bristol RoversA0–29,000
1921-02-12Norwich CityH0–07,000
1921-02-19Norwich CityA1–2Hall8,000
1921-02-26Crystal PalaceH0–18,000
1921-03-05Crystal PalaceA1–4Hall10,000
1921-03-12Brighton & Hove AlbionH1–0Waugh7,000
1921-03-16WatfordH1–1Hall6,000
1921-03-19Brighton & Hove AlbionA0–19,000
1921-03-26Grimsby TownA0–211,000
1921-03-28Southend UnitedA0–110,000
1921-04-02Grimsby TownH2–1Waugh, Wood7,000
1921-04-09Queens Park RangersA1–0Wood10,000
1921-04-13Swindon TownH1–1Wood8,000
1921-04-16Queens Park RangersH1–2Hall8,000
1921-04-23Swansea TownA0–213,000
1921-04-30Swansea TownH2–1Hall, Wood8,000


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

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.

DateRoundOpponentsH / AResult

F – A

ScorersAttendance
1920-11-20Fourth qualifyingMaidstone UnitedH1–0Gilbey6,725
1920-12-04Fifth qualifyingDulwich HamletH2–1Hall, Gilbey8,000
1920-12-18Sixth qualifyingNorthampton TownA1–3Hall10,000

Squad statistics

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.

NameLeagueFA CupTotal
AppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoals
Wally Battiste33330363
Tom Baxter21020230
Jack Branfield41030440
Albert Carter200020
Tom Gilbey11632148
Syd Gore800080
Joseph Griffiths500050
Tommy Hall419324411
Andy Holt600060
Fred Howard700070
Donald McCormick100010
Stuart McMillan11000110
Alfred Milton100010
George Needham36430394
Ernest Ollerenshaw100010
Jock Robertson41030440
Thomas Robinson211031
Archie Roe16210172
George Russell300030
George Shaw300030
Tom Sisson40030430
Tom Thompson37130401
John Waugh24200242
Clive Wigmore900090
Arthur Wood30630336
Harry Wright32020340
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