Friday, 17 February 2017

Personal reflections by Dick Chestnut

GillsConnect are sad to report the passing of Roy Proverbs a real Priestfield Hero who died on Wednesday 15 February at the age of 84. Supporters send sincere condolences to all of Ray's family and friends at this sad time. Below is contributor Dick Chestnut’s personal reflections on this great Gills Priestfield Hero defender known to all as ‘Chopper’.


Total League apps: 143

Total goals: 2

Previous Club: Bournemouth

Next Club:                            Canterbury City

He was not spiteful, just a one hundred percent team man who took the very strongest exception to any of his team mates being roughly treated by the opposition.

I recall a game at the original Den on a bleak 20 December 1958, in front of an attendance of 11,209 in the very first season of Division Four when Gills finished in eleventh position. 

It started badly on a personal basis when an old lady hit me over the shoulder with a rolled up umbrella, for cheering when the Gills ran out on to the pitch. Her son, a burly docker, apologized for his mother’s behaviour, confiscated the offending brolly and placed himself between her and me. Even so I kept very quiet for the remainder of the game.

There was little enough to cheer about anyway with a goal in each half to Millwall and no reply from the Gills. Millwall might have had their Lions but Gills had their very own Tiger in Proverbs.

A Millwall defender floored ex-Lions favourite and Gills left winger, Gordon Pulley before playing the ball up field to a big Millwall striker. Proverbs literally charged into the big man knocking his opponent flying and winding himself in the process. Meanwhile Jack Hannaway, the Gills captain, another hard man had been flattened trying to head away the centre that brought about Millwall’s second goal. Pulley also was still down and Proverbs was on his knees vomiting. Roy, however, was soon back on his feet and continued to give one hundred percent in the losing cause.

That really defined Roy Proverbs. A man who never gave up and would run into brick walls (even he could not run through them) for his team. After leaving Gills and with his best years behind him, he played for Canterbury City, Tunbridge Wells, Kings Lynn and finally Banbury. When Roy retired in the late 1960’s he was able to resume his original profession, which was a Signwriter.