It is with sadness that the club learned this week of the death of former player Johnny Gibbons, aged 95, on 31st January.
The centre-forward turned out at Stonebridge Road for three seasons, joining in the summer of 1953 and playing his last game in May 1956.
Having played for Dartford and QPR after the Second World War, Johnny having served in the Army from 1943, he moved to Ipswich Town in 1949 and was their oldest living player, having made 11 appearances for the Portman Road club.
He moved on to Spurs, where he was part of a squad under former Northfleet United player Arthur Rowe and alongside other ex-Stonebridge Road men such as Ted Ditchburn, Bill Nicholson, Ron Burgess and Les Bennett.
He didn’t make the Spurs first team but spent three years in the club’s ‘A’ and Reserve sides before signing for the Fleet in 1953.
Over the next three seasons, Johnny played 130 times for the club, making his debut in front of 3,621 fans at Stonebridge Road against Guildford City. In his debut season he was top scorer with 29 goals in all competitions, achieving a total goals return of 48 across his three campaigns in a red shirt.
His first goal came against Tonbridge in October 1953 and he scored his one and only hat-trick for the Fleet a month later at Hereford United.
In his final season, he was reunited with former Spurs colleague Jimmy Scarth as well as new manager Lionel Smith and Arsenal great Jimmy Logie, the backbone of a side who would go on to win the Southern League in 1957/58.
Johnny’s last goal for the club saw him score twice alongside Logie in a 4-2 win over Hastings and he bid the Fleet farewell in his final game at Bath City.
Not only was he Ipswich’s oldest living player but most likely Fleet’s as well, being four months older than ex-goalkeeper Ted Bennett who passed away aged 93 in 2018.
We offer our sincerest thoughts and sympathies to all Johnny’s friends and family including his son Paul.
• The sad news of Johnny’s passing follows the loss of Trevor ‘Tosh’ Chamberlain last month. The 86-year-old forward played 187 times for Fulham, scoring 59 goals, and was a schoolboy friend and teammate of the great Johnny Haynes and Jimmy Hill. Tosh then had a season at Dover before joining the Fleet in 1966, playing 21 games that year and scoring seven goals.Embed from Getty Images