Jim Corbett

*Indicates unconfirmed information. Figures in brackets after English team names indicate all appearances made and goals scored in competitive matches for Football League clubs from 1888 onwards. For Scottish League clubs the figures show details of all competitive appearances and goals scored from 1946/47 onwards.

Jim Corbett

Appearances: 0+1 Goals: 0

Date / Year of birth: 6th July 1980

Position: Midfielder

Season of first appearance: 2005/06

Season of last appearance: 2005/06

Also played for: Gillingham (8+11,2), Blackburn Rovers (0), Portsmouth (0), Darlington (9+1,2), Southend United (19+12,4), Dagenham & Redbridge, Heybridge Swifts, Welling United, Folkestone Invicta, Faversham Town and Herne Bay

Talented 5' 9" tall midfielder born in Hackney who started his career at Gillingham. Jim progressed through the Gills' youth ranks and made his first team debut as a substitute in a 3-0 defeat at Birmingham in the League Cup on 26.8.97. Future Margate player Lenny Piper also featured as a sub in the match and Jim had only turned 17 a few weeks earlier. He made his full debut in a 2-0 win over Bristol City in Division 2 (later League One) at Priestfield on 4.10.97 and Jim scored his first goal for the Gills in a 2-0 win at Bristol City on 14.2.98. By the end of the 1997/98 season he'd played 19 times (11 as sub) and scored twice.

In May 1998 Premier League club Blackburn paid Gillingham £525,000 for Jim's services and he was still only 17 at the time. The deal included an appearances-related clause that could have seen the fee eventually rise to over £1 million. His time at Ewood Park was blighted by a succession of injuries and by the time Jim was loaned to Portsmouth in February 2000 he'd never played for Blackburn's first team. He spent a month with Pompey but didn't feature in their senior side.

After another three years had passed without Jim appearing in Blackburn's first team he joined Darlington on loan in March 2003 and made his first Football League appearance for almost five years when he came on as a substitute in a 2-2 home draw with Exeter in Division 3 (later League Two) on 15.3.03. Jim featured regularly for Darlington in the remaining weeks of the season and on 29.3.03 he scored in a 3-1 win over Bury at Feethams.

He was released by Blackburn at the end of the 2002/03 campaign having still never made a senior appearance and Jim was signed by Division 3 club Southend in July 2003.

He made his debut for the Roots Hall outfit in a 2-0 home win over Cheltenham on 9.8.03 and Jim went on to make a total of 23 first team appearances during 2003/04, scoring three times. He featured in eight more senior matches during the early part of the 2004/05 campaign and scored once but in November 2004 injury put an end to Jim's season. He was released by Southend in May 2005.

After a spell out of football Jim signed for Margate early in September 2005 and the Isle of Thanet Gazette said his signing was "quite a coup". Manager Chris Kinnear told the paper "Jim would have cost Blackburn £1.1 million had he played enough games, making him the most expensive teenager since Matthew Upson signed for Arsenal. Gillingham got about £500,000 for him in the end, but he was some player as an 18 year-old."

Jim was due to make his debut in an Isthmian League Premier Division game against Fisher at Hartsdown Park on 6.9.05 but ended up not featuring. Manager Chris Kinnear told the Isle of Thanet Gazette "Jim lives in Gillingham so I picked him up and he was going to play, but then his wife - who is expecting a baby any minute - felt a twinge, so I dropped him off at the station and he went to the hospital."

Over the next few weeks there were several mentions of Jim being about to make his first appearance but a combination of fitness problems and the new addition to his family meant that he wasn't involved at all until 12.11.05 when he was an unused substitute for an FA Trophy tie against Dartford at Hartsdown Park.

Curiously Jim played for Dagenham & Redbridge's reserves in a game against Maldon in the North East Division of the Capital Football League on 16.11.05 and scored in a 3-1 win. Whether Margate knew about it is a moot point as two days later Chris Kinnear told the Isle of Thanet Gazette "He's a little way from fitness where he's been out for so long, but he's got some nice touches in training - you can see he's a footballer. I don't quite know what's going to happen with him yet, but I see him as an attacking player."

On 22.11.05 Jim finally made his first appearance for Margate as a very late substitute in a 1-1 draw with Bromley at Hartsdown Park but barely touched the ball. It turned out to be his only appearance although Jim was also on the bench for a 3-2 win over Hampton & Richmond in the Isthmian League Premier Division on 26.11.05. He was eventually released in mid-December 2005 and Chris Kinnear told the Isle of Thanet Gazette "Jim only turned up to training on the odd occasion to be honest, we've not seen much of him. He doesn't know what he wants."

Later in December 2005 Jim linked up with Heybridge but only made one sub appearance for them in the Isthmian League Premier Division before leaving the club.

In February 2006 he joined Conference South club Welling as a non-contract player but Jim never played for the Wings' first team and in April 2006 he was released.

He returned to football in September 2006 when he signed for Isthmian League Premier Division outfit Folkestone and Jim finally enjoyed a good run of games. By the end of the 2006/07 season he'd played 28 times in the league (twice as sub) and scored three goals. Jim then scored once from 31 Isthmian League outings (two as sub) for Folkestone during 2007/08 and his only goal came in a remarkable 5-4 win at Margate on 19.4.08. Jim made 12 further league appearances for Folkestone at the start of the 2008/09 campaign, scoring twice, before leaving the club by mutual consent in December 2008.

Jim made a comeback with Kent League side Faversham at the start of the 2009/10 season but left the club towards the end of September 2009.

After another spell out of the game he resurfaced once again in July 2010 when he signed for Kent League club Herne Bay. Jim was in and out of the Bay side during the 2010/11 campaign, mainly due to injury problems, and stayed with the club for the start of the 2011/12 season. He made five appearances (one as sub) during the opening weeks of the campaign but after featuring in a 3-0 home win over Deal in the FA Cup on 3.9.11 Jim didn't play again. In December 2011 he officially announced his retirement at the age of 31.

Jim was advised to give up playing by Gillingham's physio who'd been treating him and Herne Bay's website wrote "Jim is totally devastated. His return to the game with Herne Bay had re-ignited his passion and he was really enjoying playing with this team and looked forward to every game as soon as the final whistle went for the last one". Bay's manager Simon Halsey said "I'm very sad for Jim. His skill and teamanship were an example, especially to the younger players, and his contribution to the team will be hard to impossible to replace." Jim himself summed things up with more than a hint of understatement by saying "I think I've broken my right ankle five times, my left one four times, I've had two hernias and a couple of knee operations, so I haven't had the best luck with injuries."










2005/06 (MFC)

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