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Club News


27 October 2018

With a brief sojourn in the Football League during the early 1920s before returning to the league in the 1950s, it is perhaps no surprise that the majority of City's 50 meetings with Gillingham have come in more recent times.

This afternoon, the Bantams head to Kent looking for what would only be their 15th victory against The Gills.

Though Gillingham were formed some 10 years before City were - initially as New Brompton FC - they were not actually brought into the Football League until 1920, when a number of non-league clubs were elevated to create the new Division Three (South). Given their geographical location, and the fact they spent another spell out of the league between 1938 and 1950, it was until 1961, when City joined The Gills in Division Four, that they met for the very first time in any professional competition. On that occasion, John Reid scored the only goal as City were beaten 3-1 in Kent - though we would avenge that later in the year, as David Layne scored a hat-trick in a 5-2 win at Valley Parade. Gillingham were promoted a couple of seasons later, and by the end of the decade, City had joined them in Division Three.

As City moved into what would become a 22-year stint in the top two divisions in the mid-1980s, Gillingham spent the majority of that time in Division Three and Division Four. It meant that the two meetings with The Gills in 1984-85 (the great Tony Cascarino scored an own goal in one of them!) would be our last for 16 years. When we did meet again in 2001, City were just recovering from the Premier League. They initially adjusted well to life back in Division One, which included a 5-1 win against The Gills in September 2001. David Wetherall, Robbie Blake, Benito Carbone, Eoin Jess and Andy Tod all scored. Later that season, what would become one of only four league wins at Gillingham saw City again win big; with Danny Cadamarteri scoring on his debut as the Bantams won 4-0. In fact, all four of City's wins in Kent have come this century. In February 2009, Omar Daley and Michael Boulding scored in a 2-0 win; four years later, the legendary Gary Jones scored the winner in a 1-0 victory - while as recently as last season, City were victorious at Gillingham. That day, Dom Poleon scored the winner as City made it back-to-back wins at the start of the season with a 1-0 victory. The Bantams are unbeaten in their last four encounters with The Gills in league competition. 

Forty-four players have scored league goals against Gillingham for Bradford City. Included in that list are some of the greatest-ever players to wear claret and amber, such as Peter Jackson, Bobby Campbell, James Hanson and Gary Jones. However, only seven have scored more than once. Those seven, in order of their debuts - coupled with Heritage Numbers - are David Layne (#549). Two goals: Les O'Neill (#642), Dean Windass (#907), Danny Cadamarteri (#940), James Hanson (#1065), Nahki Wells (#1112), Dominic Poleon (#1228), who have all scored three goals.

Gillingham's current squad does not feature any players who have featured for Bradford City in the past - but one former Gills player makes his return to Kent this weekend. City midfielder Josh Wright spent two seasons with the club between 2015 and 2017 - as well as a loan spell there in 2009.

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