Tales from Grandad’s Tool Shed: Introduction

The Personal Memoirs Of Charlie Westwick, born 1879, The Oldest Gillingham Supporter In The World (as told to his Grandson)

Once upon a time, when there were no such things as the internet and football supporter message-boards, and everyone who lived in the Medway Towns was a Gills fan, it was the established practice for the old-timers to tell the youngsters all about the Gills – the great games and the great players from the past. For me and my mates for example, growing up in the 1950’s, there were legions of relatives and people who lived round about who could vividly recount tales to us of Cardiff in the Cup in 1924, New Brompton forcing a draw at Manchester City’s Hyde Road ground in 1908, and several old-timers then nearing their Eighties who had actually seen New Brompton play in their very first season.

As a Gills fan who has supported the club for over fifty years, it is now my turn to pass on the memories that were passed on to me, and adding my own which have occurred along the way. The result, which follows, is a canter through the major highlights and lowlights of the history of New Brompton/Gillingham Football Club from 1893 to 1995, presented at an even pace.

The flavour and style is personalised, hence the title, but everything in the tales is researched and verifiable, even if only by established hearsay from the time. Some of the things described will seem incredible, but they really did happen that way. Collectively I hope the recollections of Charlie Westwick form a reasonable potted history of the Gills which is informative and entertaining. With these tales, and a copy of the recently published statistical book “The Definitive Gillingham FC” anyone who has come to support the Gills in the last few years will have little trouble in knocking up a decent score on Mastermind. And if the Mastermind people haven’t read Grandad’s tales you’ll have the advantage with any question relating to, for example, toilet facilities at Priestfield in 1934 (or rather the lack of!)

Yes, the great games, the great players, the triumphs and tragedies, the rows and the rumours – Grandad has seen the lot. And now he’s telling the lot, exclusively for your enjoyment!

Play Up Brompton!!

Danny Westwick

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