If one player summed up the Peacock era it would be Dave Mehmet. He arrived on a free-transfer from Charlton athletic in March 1983 and soon blossomed into an outstanding midfield talent. He combined a fine touch, pace, vision, and determination with sublime creativity, a stunning dead-ball and could score goals too. What a combination! Mehmet had his detractors too, due to the fact that the Peacock side of the time had a midfield crammed full of attacking talent but lacking in the muscles and work-rate department. Mehmet often got the blame when the Gills were occasionally battered by big, powerful opponents, which was grossly unfair.
Mehmet also shared Beckham’s penchant for extreme haircuts, his mullet-esque, blond bubble perm still causes wry smiles, even now. Likewise his ginger-tinged skinhead… but this should not detract from the fact that he was a supremely talented performer. One major quality was his ability to score from direct free-kicks. Every free-kick within range would raise a cheer and a genuine buzz of anticipation.
Very occasionally his “commitment” was questioned, until one fateful Boxing Day in 1984. The visitors Derby County had just retaken the lead through Bobby Davison who blatantly punched the ball into the net. Mehmet was livid and protested to the referee who then sent him off. Mehmet took his shirt off and flung it in the face of the clueless official before storming off the pitch. His finest goal came against Hull City in February ’85. The ball was crossed hopefully towards the edge of the box. Mehmet met it on the full in mid-air with a sideways bicycle-cum-hook-shot which nearly broke the net. Unforgettable stuff. Sadly he returned to his first club Millwall in the summer of 1986 and never recaptured the form of his halcyon Peacock years, drifting into non-league football. Ultimately a very special talent wasted.
155 apps, 43 goals