Tag: Bristol Rovers

On Gerry Francis & Bristol Rovers

It’s forty years ago this month since a man who would go on to be a Bristol Rovers legend scored one of the defining goals of his playing career and thirty years since he arrived at a club at which he would enjoy considerable managerial success. Here’s Paul Caulfield with a look back at the life and times of Gerry Francis. Mention the name of Gerry Francis to football fans of a certain vintage and they will tell you of two spectacular goals in England’s famous five-one humbling of Scotland in May 1975 and his Goal of the Season...

Read More

What On Earth Is Going Wrong At Bristol Rovers?

With Bristol City near the foot of League One and Bristol Rovers only four points from the relegation places in League Two, this hasn’t been the greatest of seasons for the conurbation of Greater Bristol. Here’s our West of England correspondent Irene Goodnight – see what I did there? – to bring us up to speed with what may or may not have been going wrong at The Memorial Ground of late. In December 2012 the Bristol Rovers Supporters Club Share Scheme marked its ten year anniversary, with fans contributing more than £1,000,000 since the launch. The hitting of seven figures was marked by celebrations on the pitch at half time of our home match versus Wycombe Wanderers earlier this season, with Andy Rammell – the striker bought with share scheme funds who saved us from relegation by scoring six goals in twelve games at the end of the 02/03 season –paraded round the pitch, and fans applauded for their efforts in transforming the club. You’d be forgiven for thinking that the scheme had revolutionised not only the fortunes of Bristol Rovers but also supporter involvement in how the club was run, yet the hot air coming out of the club with regard to these landmarks only tells half the story. At the time the share scheme started, Bristol Rovers was firmly rooted to the bottom of the Football...

Read More

Smash & Grab! Bristol Rovers – The Warboys & Bannister Years

It is now almost forty years since Bristol Rovers ran up one of the most remarkable unbeaten runs in the entire history of the Football League, and their attack at the time was one of the most feared around. Here’s Paul Caulfield on a team that is fondly remembered by its supporters, and the strikers that took them to promotion from the Third Division. The 1973-74 season belonged to Leeds United. Their twenty-nine match unbeaten run eclipsed all others in the top flight and finally brought the title to football’s nearly men. But bubbling under were Bristol Rovers, on a record-breaking thirty-two game run of their own, thanks to two of the League’s sharpest strikers; Alan Warboys and Bruce Bannister. Their goals made Rovers early promotion favourites in Division Three and by November they were second in the table behind Oldham Athletic. Their next fixture was an awkward trip to Brighton, under the newly-installed Brian Clough, on the first of December. The following day, Clough chatted with Brian Moore on The Big Match in calm, measured tones – his slightly forced smile only hinting at the atmosphere in the Brighton dressing room the day before, after a disastrous 8-2 defeat. Seven goals from the ‘Smash and Grab’ duo of Warboys and Bannister produced a perfect storm that blew Albion away. Shortly before, Bristol Rovers’ marketing team had used the...

Read More

Match Of The Week: AFC Wimbledon 2-3 Bristol Rovers

A lot of people worked very hard for this moment. In modern football, a considerable amount of time, paper and  bandwidth is spent on celebrating a relative few, but at Wimbledon it was the likes of Erik Samuelson, Kris Stewart, Marc Jones and Ivor Heller, who refused to let their club die with a that was brought about by little more than carpet-baggers. Today, though, is not a day for protesting. Today is a day for a celebration. It only, as the song goes, took nine years for AFC Wimbledon to rise from the Combined Counties League, and the glow to come from the club with promotion to the Football League has shone over all of English football during the entire summer. In the midst of all of this excitement, the scale of the challenge facing the club cannot be understated. They lost arguably their two best players – Danny Kedwell and Steven Gregory – during the summer, and on their limited resources, League Two may prove to be a culture shock to supporters considerably more used to winning far more matches than they have been losing each of their opening three matches, all against sides relegated from League One at the end of last season, may prove to be a shock to the system. Indeed, the relegation of their opposition today, Bristol Rovers, at the end of last...

Read More

Another Three Years Of “Match Of The Day”

The news that the BBC has secured a further three years of Premier League highlights makes for a potentially intriguing situation. In August 2014, a year after their next contract ends, the BBC’s flagship (and, it’s probably fair to say now, only) football show will be celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, but the new contract will expire in May 2013. Will “Match Of The Day” live to see its golden jubilee? The BBC makes much of the programme’s heritage. Whilst other long running BBC shows such as “Grandstand” and “Top Of The Pops” have been axed in the name of modernisation, the BBC has stuck by the “Match Of The Day” name – a name that harks back to a forgotten era of grainy black and white footage, terraces and rattles. The game has moved on a long way since those days, and “Match Of The Day” has moved on with it. As with the modernisation of the game, it’s an open question whether all of these changes have been for the best. Certainly, the programme is unrecognisable from the “Match Of The Day” of the 1970s and 1980s. In an age in which every single match seems to be recorded for posterity, it’s worth remembering that, for many years, the Football League’s fear of television cameras meant that not even every match was recorded. Under the television rights package...

Read More