We ended up three points above Huddersfield in 4th with Yorkshire neighbours Rotherham and Barnsley finishing one and two with Chesterfield back in 5th.
(Hopefully) my Mum has still got my Fads hat with the holes in it that the majority of the home crowd wore on that warm Saturday in the first week of May. A few Gills fans sprinklered themselves around the now seated Jimmy Seed stand as we all stood around looking very pleased with ourselves that the Addicks had won promotion at the first attempt back to the (old) 2nd Division.
Mike Bailey was the man behind our promotion, an ex-player (151 games) with an unruffled and friendly exterior but sadly our success led him to being offered the Brighton job, who were in the (old) 1st Division at the time. Incidentially the man who he replaced, Alan Mullery (who I still can't abide) took over at The Valley.
Bailey's team was pretty much unchanged from the side that were embarrasingly relegated the previous season but was added to by the emerging talent of Paul Walsh and the not quite as talented but competent nevertheless, Kevin Smith. Bailey instilled a good morale and a winning attitude and with much help from Nicky Johns our defence was water-tight with 20 league clean sheets.
Bailey wrote in the Gillingham programme: "Certainly the last few weeks have been nerve-wracking for all of us but I never really doubted that we would make it in the end but I had a few sleepless nights on the way."
He also praised the 300 Addicks who were at Carlisle the week before saying: "Certainly we have been disappointed by the numbers attending The Valley this season considering our position in the league table but the quality and enthusiasm of our ardent supporters especially away from home has been magnificent."
As for the game Steve Bruce captained Gillingham, on what was their last visit to The Valley, Micky Adams was in midfield and Trevor Lee, ex of Millwall, also played. Meanwhile for us Paddy Powell was making his 56th appearance of the season (a then record).
A crowd of 9,367, only bettered by games at home to Fulham and Millwall, and over 2,000 higher than our average saw us play some relaxed football with 19-year old Paul Walsh putting us ahead with his 18th goal of the season in the first half before Trevor Lee equalised right on half-time.
All kind of celebratory stuff took place during the half-time break and a Kevin Smith shot on the hour gave us the victory to round off a great day before I and many others got on the pitch after the final whistle and welcomed Bailey and the players out into the main stand.