Bertrand Bossu only played eight games for Gillingham but the power of the FA Cup means his name has gone down in history.
It’s coming up to 20 years since Gillingham last met Charlton in an FA Cup match - a memorable third-round meeting at Priestfield that saw the Blue boys win 3-2, thanks in part to the heroics of Frenchman Bossu.
Gillingham are set to host Charlton on Saturday in the second round of this year’s FA Cup competition.
January 3, 2004 was the date of the infamous FA Cup fixture at ME7, which pitted the Gills against a Charlton side who at the time were riding high in the Premiership, sitting fourth in the top-flight ahead of the clash which was broadcast on Match of the Day.
Division 1 Gills even gave Charlton a headstart, Ian Cox finding his own net with less than a minute played after Bossu - the club’s fourth-choice keeper - started the game in nervy fashion, flapping at a cross to give his defender no help.
Bossu, then 23, was selected to play with their other three senior keepers unavailable, two out injured and loan man Nico Vaesen not given permission to play. He’d only played one full game for the Gills prior to the match.
Player-manager Andy Hessenthaler was also out injured, one of several forced to sit the game out.
Charlton were looking to add to their early opener - which was timed at 34 seconds - but Tommy Johnson fended off a challenge to level the score on 17 minutes with a shot into the bottom corner in front of almost 11,000 fans at Priestfield, helping to turn the tide.
Two minutes later Mamady Sidibe made it 2-1 with a super header. Paul Smith added a third with just over half an hour gone with a shot that crept in from distance, sending the home crowd wild, and there were chances that came and went for the Gills to extend the lead.
As Charlton kept the score at 3-1, Calais-born Bossu had made some important interceptions at the other end, recovering from the early mistake, including a super triple save late on with The Addicks pushing late on to avoid a cup upset.
Charlton substitute Paolo Di Canio hit the woodwork and Carlton Cole - on loan from Chelsea - got a late reply for the visitors after Bossu had kept out his first shot. The Gills clinched the win and onto round four.
It had been the first time since 1929 that the Gills had beaten their near-neighbours.
Current Gills head coach Stephen Clemence was told of the win on Thrusday, during the pre-match press conference, and he’ll be trying to pull off another shock ths weekend, adding: “A repeat of that result would be nice!”