Brentford FC is saddened to report the death of one of our greatest ever players – Peter Gelson. Peter died last night, Monday 26 April, at the age of 79. The Club will be paying tribute to Peter at our game against Rotherham United this evening.
Peter is one of only four men to play more than 500 games for The Bees and is in the Club’s Hall of Fame. Born and raised in West London, Peter had such an affinity to the Club that he was still a Season Ticket Holder in our last seasons at Griffin Park, our historic stadium where he made his name. He was so well respected by Brentford supporters that in 2013, almost 40 years after his last game in red and white, he was placed second in a poll for all-time fan favourite, conducted to mark the 125th anniversary of the Football League.
Peter was a typical one-club man, coming through the youth ranks at Brentford and making it to the First Team. He made his Football League debut in 1961, aged 19, after progressing through the Youth Team, A Team and Reserve Team. Peter was working in the Post Office at the time and played football part-time for the first four years of his career. He still established himself in the First Team and did eventually play football full-time.
He was a fixture in the Brentford team for more than a decade, playing more than 40 league games in eight out of ten seasons between 1964 and 1974. He helped The Bees to the Fourth Division championship in 1962/63 and then back out of the fourth tier again in 1971/72 after relegation in 1966. Peter was named Supporters’ Player of the Year in both 1972/73 and 1973/74 and Players’ Player of the Year in 1973/74.
Awarded two testimonials, Peter played a total of 516 games for The Bees – only Ken Coote and Jamie Bates have played more – and scored 18 goals. 471 of those games came in the Football League, second only to Coote, and 17 of the goals. He was inducted in the Brentford FC Hall of Fame in 2014 at a dinner to make the Club’s 125th anniversary.
Peter left Brentford in 1975 and played non-league football for Hillingdon Borough, Walton and Hersham and Hounslow. His post-football life included working in security at Heathrow Airport. But as a player who was part of the group that battled through the 1967 crisis when it looked as if The Bees would cease to exist with Queens Park Rangers buying Griffin Park, Brentford FC was always a part of Peter’s life.
He attended games with his family and was a regular at Club functions with former team mates. He had a close bond with former goalkeeper Gordon Phillips. The pair were great friends, played together for more than a decade and were godparents to each other’s children.
Peter will be greatly missed by all at Brentford FC. Everyone at the Club sends deepest sympathies to Peter’s wife Christine and the rest of his family. The current Brentford squad will wear black armbands at our game tonight and there will be a minute of applause to remember of our greatest players ever.