Gibbins - Gillis
Eddie Gibbins was brought up at Tottenham Hotspur in the Arthur Rowe era of “push and run”, and developed a reputation as being a ‘stickler’ for good football. An oil firm representative, who lived in Chiswick, he had formerly been manager of Edmonton (1962-3), Hounslow (1963-4) and Fulham Youth (1965-6), when he was appointed manager-coach of Hayes in summer 1966. This coincided with a low in Hayes' fortunes, when the club finished in mediocre positions in the Athenian League and made little progress in the cup competitions. How much this was attributable to the manager may be gauged by the fact that he was selected to manage both the Rest of the Athenian League and Middlesex County teams. He resigned from Hayes in January 1970, when his assistant was fired for expenses irregularities. In spite of his contention that his resignation had been engineered by committee members who disliked his spirit of independence, he obviously did not bear a long-term grudge, for his son joined Hayes on loan eight years later. Eddie sadly passed away in August 2011.
Roger Gibbins had also started with Tottenham, and had commanded a fee of £70,000 when he was transferred to Norwich City. He then played for Oxford United and joined Boston Teamen for £60,000. He played for Hayes in 1978-9 on loan from the renamed New England Teamen, to whom he returned in March 1979. During this spell he made 14 appearances and scored four goals at centre-forward.
Another centre-forward, AH ‘Jackie’ Gibbons, was the first former Hayes player to become the manager of a Football League club. Born in 1914, he was a serving officer of the RAF and had played for Uxbridge and Kingstonian when he joined Hayes in 1937 to replace Len Townsend, who had turned professional with Brentford. He played only three games for Hayes, scoring one goal, when he went to Tottenham Hotspur as an amateur. In 1938-9 he played for Brentford in Division One, still as an amateur. During this time he won an amateur international cap. After the war, he turned professional with Bradford Park Avenue and joined Brentford for £8,000 in August 1947, becoming leading scorer with 13 goals. At Brentford he was groomed to succeed Harry Curtis as secretary-manager, and took over from him in 1949. In three seasons, his club finished in the top ten of Division Two, despite having permanent financial problems. But he found himself progressively at odds with the Board and resigned in August 1952, more a victim of circumstances than of his record. Later he coached in South Africa and Belgium, and was employed by Coca Cola in Kenya towards the end of the 1960s.
When Don Stoker suddenly retired to look after his growing business empire, Bob Gibbs was appointed to oversee Hayes’ entry into the Isthmian League in 1971. A headmaster of Slough Junior School and a JP, he was an FA coach and had previously managed Slough Town, taking them from the Corinthian League to the championship of the Athenian League. Similarly, he took Hayes from being an average Athenian League side to a competitive Isthmian League outfit. Under his stewardship, Hayes took their first Football League scalp in the FA Cup, when they defeated Bristol Rovers 1-0 in November 1972, before going out to Reading in a replay. He resigned in January 1974 after Hayes’ elimination in the 1st round of the last-ever Amateur Cup, but agreed to stay on until a replacement had been found.
Only a year later, he was back, after the disastrous managership of Allan Harris. He managed to steer Hayes away from likely relegation, but results were not much better in the following season, and he left in October 1976, as he felt the club needed a ‘change of direction’.
Throughout his spells in charge, he had ample opportunities to display the man-management skills of his day-job, with the likes of Keith Searle, Robin Friday and John Hutchison, and was greatly respected for his fairness and honesty. He died in September 1990 after a long illness.
Norman Gibson was a larger-than-life character straight out of a boys’ magazine. A native of Darlington, he joined the RAF in 1928 and was posted to Iraq the next year. He then served in India from November 1931 until sailing home in November 1934, when he was posted to Uxbridge. At this juncture, he joined Southall and captained them in their FA Cup run to the First Round in 1936, but broke a leg at Cardiff. In the programme for that match, he was described as a sturdy full-back, a non-smoker, a teetoller and a vegetarian. He came to Hayes at the beginning of the 1938-9 season and played for The Rest versus England in an international trial at Hastings in December 1938, but never gained a full international cap. In the 1939-40 wartime season, he was a popular captain of the Hayes team in the Great Western Combination, but suffered a bad injury in the semi-final of the Middlesex Red Cross Cup semi-final at Hendon, and never played again for the club. For Hayes he made 42 appearances and scored once.
In the RAF he was regarded as one of their finest all-round athletes, playing hockey and tennis to a high standard as well as representing that service at football.
A typical product of the post-war era, George Gillis came from Enfield in November 1947 as an inside-forward, but converted to wing-half when Jack Rawlings arrived from the same club two years later. He stayed at Hayes for seven seasons, before joining Uxbridge in November 1954, but turned out for Hayes when needed in 1955-6, and was appointed Reserve Team Secretary in 1961. Over this period he made 149 appearances for Hayes, scoring seven goals. He played representative matches for both Middlesex County and the Civil Service. He originally worked for club patron EJ Mylon at Merriman’s, but later worked for Hayes Council Housing Department. George died on 27 October 2004.
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