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The Belgian who lit up the Rec

As England take on Belgium in the World Cup this evening, we look back at the Belgian Winger who excited the crowds at the Rec in the mid-to-late-50s.

Marcel Gaillard was born in Chaleris, Belgium on 15th January 1927 and had played for Olympique Charleroi pre-war before coming to the UK in 1940. He joined Crystal Palace in 1947 where he was the first non-British player to play and score for the Eagles, he made 21 appearances and scoring 3 goals, before he moved to Tonbridge in 1950. In January 1951 he joined Portsmouth for £4500, going on to score 12 goals in 64 appearances.

The Hampshire club put a £3000 price tag on him when he joined Weymouth in June 1953, turning down overtures from Sheffield Wednesday to join the Terras on 1st July 1953.

After trying his luck for one season (1956-57) at Yeovil he returned to Weymouth where he stayed scoring 156 goals in a total of 308 appearances.

He moved to Dorchester, as player manager, in May 1960 staying until 1964 although an ankle injury meant that he was – quickly – forced to concentrate on the manager’s role.

At the Avenue he scored 4 goals in 14 appearances.

Whilst with the Terras he represented the Southern League v Yeovil in October 1955.

As a Weymouth player Gaillard scored 156 goals in 308 appearances and off the field was an insurance agent.

Later he was to run a sweetshop/tobacconists shop on the corner of the Newstead and Abbotsbury Roads in the town.

Gaillard died on 27 June 1976.

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