Full Name: Jonathan Antoni Gittens
Born: 22 January 1964, Moseley (England)
Transferred from: Middlesbrough, 09 August 1993, free transfer
Previous Clubs: Southampton, Swindon Town, Southampton
Pompey Debut: 31 August 1993 v Bristol City, Anglo Italian Cup (W 3-1)
First Pompey Goal: 04 September 1993 v Stoke City (D 3-3)
Games: 98 (82 League, 16 Cup)
Goals: 2 (2 League, 0 Cup)
Final Game: 07 January 1996 v Southampton (L3-0)
Transferred to: Torquay United 05 August 1996, free transfer
Subsequent Clubs: Exeter City, Nuneaton Borough, Dorchester Town (loan)
Gittens was picked up by Southampton in October 1985 for £10,000 from non-league side Paget Rangers. His professional debut came in April 1986, but he always found it hard to command a regular first team spot so he left the South Coast club in 1987 for Swindon for a tribunal arranged fee of £40,000. After a little over three-and-a-half years at the County Ground, and having played alongside would be future Pompey stars Alan McLoughlin and Fitzroy Simpson, he returned to Southampton in 1991. The defender was again unable to establish himself at The Dell and left for a loan spell with Middlesbrough in February 1992, before completing a permanent transfer to Ayresome Park in July 1993.
Middlesbrough soon became a Premiership club, and a goal from Gittens helped them gain promotion into the first Premiership season. With this Gittens’ struggles for regular first team action returned, so with this came another move and a further return to the South Coast, this time with Pompey, when he was signed by on a free transfer in August 1993 by Jim Smith after a trial.
Gittens was a near regular throughout the 93/94 and 94/95 seasons but following the sacking of Smith in 1995 his appearances were limited under Terry Fenwick and the 95/96 season saw his chances limited to just 15 appearances, the last of these coming in January 1996 as the club crashed out of the FA Cup against local rivals, and his former side, Southampton. After failing to make another first team appearance, and stranded just two games short of the milestone of 100 appearances for the Blues he was granted a free transfer in the summer of 1996 and signed for Torquay.
After success at Plainmoor, having originally been released towards the end of the 96/97 season due to the commuting he was doing from Dorchester, he returned the following season to be crowned the Torquay Player of the Year in 1998. Despite this award Gittens was still released, but it was not long before Torquay’s South West rivals Exeter, then managed by former Pompey defender Noel Blake, snapped him up. Two-years were spent at St James Park before the veteran was allowed to leave and his professional career ended as he moved back into non-league football with spells at Nuneaton Borough and Dorchester Town before retiring in 2001 aged 37.
Gittens remained in the game, moving into coaching in December 2001, a post with Fareham Town awaited before he took over as manager in 2002. Team Solent and Blackfield & Langley are others to benefit from his guidance.
October 1985 – Becomes a professional footballer, signing for Southampton
19/04/86 – Professional debut for Southampton in a 2-0 win at Birmingham
28/05/90 – Played in Swindon’s 1-0 Second Division play-off final win over Sunderland, a match that Alan McLoughlin scored the winning goal in, to see the club promoted to Division One. This highlight would soon become a lowlight as this promotion was later overturned due to financial irregularities and Swindon were demoted to Division Three, with Sunderland taking their place in Division One! Eventually this was amended and Swindon just returned to Division Two
09/08/93 – Joins Pompey on a free transfer from Middlesbrough
31/09/93 – Debut for Pompey in a 3-1 win over Bristol City at Fratton Park in the Anglo Italian Cup
04/10/93 – League debut for Pompey in a 3-3 draw with Stoke at Fratton Park, a league debut that he marks with a goal
May 1998 – Named the 97/98 Torquay Player of the Year
05/06/02 – Handed his first managerial role with Fareham Town
Other Interesting Facts:
Gittens was studying to be a ‘men’s tailor’ when he was picked up by Southampton for £10,000 in 1985. They would then sell him to Swindon for £40,000 in 1987 but resigned him in 1991 for £400,000
Gittens became the first of two Pompey players sent off in January 1995’s 1-0 FA Cup 4th round defeat at Fratton Park against Leicester. In appalling conditions, conditions that probably should have seen the game not even played, referee Dermott Gallagher firstly sent Gittens off then harshly made Alan Knight join him after his momentum saw him slide out of the area with the ball in his hands
Allegedly punched West Ham’s new record signing Florin Raducioiu on his Torquay debut in a pre-season friendly. This is something that then West Ham manager Harry Redknapp wanted Gittens reported to the Football Association for
Before singing for Exeter in the summer of 1998 Gittens was close to a player-coach role with Swansea
His final Torquay appearance came in a losing Division Three play-off final to Colchester in May 1998. Gittens was harshly adjudged to have conceded the penalty that won the game, which was also controversially played on a Friday night due to England playing at Wembley the following day. Due to this many fans could not attend the Wembley showpiece
Charged with misconduct when Fareham manager in April 2004 for using ‘foul’ language against a referees assistant on Easter Monday 2004. Gittens was sent to the stands for calling the assistant a Nugget! When charged he contested the fact that he was charged as having said he called him a ‘chicken nugget’, when he only called him a nugget, a charge in itself that he found laughable
Gittens has a sports shop, Jon Gittens Sports, in Southampton
Gittens is a UEFA ‘A’ licensed coach
Season by season games played via PompeyRama
Vital Pompey Author: pompeyrug
Statistics provided by: PompeyRama.com
Date: March 2009