4. Gavin Peacock (1987-1989)

At Gillingham, the Keith Peacock / Gavin Peacock combination should have meant as much as the Clough father and son partnership at Forest, but sadly Keith’s sacking came before we had a chance to reap the rewards.

The side was being rebuilt after the playoff defeat and a midfield of Quow, Shipley and Peacock had enormous potential but before we knew it a lack of patience (or common sense and decency) at the top level plunged the club into a crisis form which we took eight years to recover.

Gavin showed commendable attitude during his first season given the way his father was treated, and his ability was clear for all to see with a series of impressive performances topped by a sublime goal – an incandescent 25-yard chip on an otherwise gloomy afternoon at Brentford.

The following campaign was an unmitigated disaster from start to finish and I really hate to think what would have happened had Peacock not been around to hold the side together as best he could. He was head and shoulders above the rest of the team and literally had to take on opponents on his own at times. In fact, he was so much better than the rest of the team around him it was almost embarrassing.

A devout Christian, it was at times like this that his friend and saviour Jesus Christ came to the fore, although He may have been able to help Gavin drive on through shaky circumstances our Lord sadly could not plug the defensive shortcomings of the likes of George Burley and Alan Reeves and we were emphatically relegated. He inspired the team to a late surge (by which time we were on our 6th manager in little over a year), single handedly overcoming promotion-chasing Fulham at Craven Cottage (the last Gills player to score there in the League, in fact) but he deserved better and left for Bournemouth in the summer of 1989.

We should be grateful that he stuck it out to the miserable end. He went on to carve out an impressive career for himself at Newcastle and Chelsea, and quite frankly should not have ever had to prop up a side including the likes of Francis Joseph, Steve Walford and Jerry Williams.

81 apps, 12 goals

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