Tom Gibbons
Tom Gibbons
Tom Gibbons
● Tom Gibbons, mid-1900s (SOLC)

born in Scotland

Thomas Grant Gibbons was born on Friday, 28th July, 1876, in Dundee.

The forward signed for Thistle on Monday, 18th June, 1900, having most recently been with Third Lanark.

Aged 24, he made his debut appearance on Wednesday, 15th August, 1900, in a 3-3 draw away to Celtic in the SFL First Division.

That day, Tom became a member of our scoring debutant's club.

He scored the last of his 4 goals on Saturday, 23rd February, 1901, in a 2-1 defeat away to Port Glasgow Athletic in the Western League.

He played his last game for the club on Saturday, 11th January, 1902, in a 4-0 defeat away to Kilmarnock in the Scottish Cup, having appeared as a Jag on 27 occasions.

His club-list included Queen's Park, Third Lanark, Partick Thistle and London Caledonians.

Tom died on Monday, 12th July, 1915, in Greenock, Renfrewshire, aged 38.

Bio Extra

The son of Edward Gibbons (railway canvasser) and Elizabeth Gibbons (nÊe Grant).

In his late teens, Tom played with Queen's Park in the mid 1890s, and featured in an excellent 4-2 win at Parkhead in January 1896, knocking Celtic out of the Scottish Cup. Tom transferred to Third Lanark in January 1897 where he played for 4 seasons. Was a near ever-present with the top-flight Hi-Hi towards the end of the decade, and could be relied upon to score one every three games. The in-demand forward turned down offers from down South and joined the ambitious Partick Thistle revolution in the close season of 1900. The Jags (or the Wasps as some were calling them due to the new black & mustard hoops) were back in the top-flight and looking to stay there by way of the cheque book.

Tom, an inside right specialist, could hardly have got off to a better start, putting Thistle one up at Celtic Park on the opening night of the League campaign. In the end a point was gained after a 3-3 thriller, and it was a most encouraging start. However, as the season unfolded, Thistle found the going tougher and tougher. Tom took ill (to the extent that he required an operation in hospital for internal troubles) and that certainly didn't help as he was seen as a key man in the forward line. He missed 3 whole months and 8 League games (i.e. 40% of the whole campaign) and, by the time he was back, the team were stuck in a rut. Just days before Tom returned from convalescence, Willie Freebairn died from injuries sustained in a Glasgow Cup tie against Cameronians in late October. How's your luck Partick Thistle? It was a wretched time for everyone connected with the club. In the final tally up, Thistle finished bottom with 49 goals conceded in the 20 games played. Relegation was confirmed via election at the League AGM on 30th May, 1901.

The inevitable end-of-season cull was necessarily brutal, and Tom was out the door. Such is the nature of the fickle business, he was invited back for a short spell from December 1901, and played 3 matches, although one of these was abandoned with Thistle leading Clyde by one Tom Gibbons goal to nil! Thistle held Tom's registration papers for three seasons from 1902-03 onwards, but he was never involved with the club throughout that period. Tom permanently relocated to London where he worked as a railway accountant, and on the footballing front was next heard of playing with London Caledonians. The Caleys were an amateur club, primarily for Scottish players. It was there that Tom found a great deal of fulfilment. Thanks to Andy Mitchell at the Scottish Sports history blog having digitised it, we can read a little about Tom as told in The Story of the London Caledonians Football Club (1924) external-link.png

T. G. Gibbons played his first game for the Caleys against Richmond Association on 10th October, 1903, and the following Saturday in a London Charity tie vs. Dulwich Hamlet at Dulwich he appeared as inside left to Billy Porter in a game of real thrills. Playing against nine men during the first few minutes the Caleys lost a couple of goals and it looked an odds-on chance for a Hamlet victory. The combination between Gibbons and Porter later became absolutely bewildering and although by this time the home team were at full strength, do what they would, they could not hold this wonderful pair, who in the end were chiefly instrumental in gaining a 3-2 victory. It may have been simply a fortunate chance that gave Tommy Gibbons to the Caledonians as a player, but it was an absolute inspiration on the part of the executive when they invited him to take part in the management of the club. In 1905, he was elected in the dual capacity of Vice-Captain and Honorary Secretary and held the latter office until his untimely death in 1915. The period in which he officiated was one of the most succesful experienced by the club and there can be no doubt that this was due entirely to his organizing ability, his tact and his almost uncanny judgement in the spotting of talent. Jimmie Laidlaw, who later became Vice-President, also put in a lot of useful work for the club, both as a player and committee man and as Hon. Match Secretary he was one of the greatest possible assistants to Tommy Gibbons.

Tom, who lived in Addiscombe, Greater London, was back in Scotland for the summer of 1915 but, shockingly, was admitted to the Greenock infirmary with severe head pain. After 10 days of suffering, Tom succumbed to a battle with basilar meningitis on the 12th July. He left a widow, Maud Basham. Both of Tom's parents were deceased at this time. His brother, Marshall Gibbons, a resident of Dunkeld, signed the death register entry.


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