The Bristol Rovers Archive: 1951-1991: No. 1 (BOK)

Keith Brookman

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Introduction In season 1952/53 Bristol Rovers won their first ever Football League promotion, winning the Third Division (South) title. While this book is not a diamond anniversary tribute to that team it was the spur needed to produce this book, which brings together a collection of photos spanning forty years in the proud history of the club. The first images are from 1951 when Rovers reached the quarter final of the FA Cup, going out to the eventual winners of the competition, Newcastle United, after a replay that caught the imagination of the Bristol footballing public. The selected photos from the 1950s, widely regarded as a golden age for Bristol Rovers, feature many of the players and staff who, even today, retain a place in the history of this great club. Perhaps that's because they played alongside each other for so many years; the team of the 1950s virtually picked itself. The club's 'No Buy, No Sell' policy also contributed to the camaraderie of that side and their closeness to the supporters and, hopefully, the small selection of photographs from that time illustrates that point. Appropriately the first image is of influential skipper Ray Warren, a player whose career began before the Second World War, pictured at a flooded Eastville. We then move on to take in a number of the players who represented this proud club during those halcyon days. Harry Bamford, Alfie Biggs Geoff Bradford, Geoff Fox, Bert Hoyle, Barrie Meyer, George Petherbridge, Jack Pitt, and Dai Ward, not forgetting manager Bert Tann, are among those featured from a time when football was a totally different game from the one we know today. As well as the floods at Eastville, we see camping under canvas at Weston and training at Southend prior to a cup tie at Newcastle (though why they didn't set up a training camp in the north east is a little bit of a mystery, at least to me). Perhaps the most treasured photo among them, though, is the one featuring the heading practice with trainer Bert Williams - imagine that scene today! From the success of the 1950s we move on to the dawn of a new decade and whilst it is known affectionately as the Swinging Sixties, for Rovers it was anything but. Relegated to the Third Division in 1963, the famous quartered shirts were ditched in favour of blue and white stripes and then an all blue strip. There were, also, new names on the teamsheet for the next generation of supporters to remember. Bernard Hall, Ian Hamilton, Doug Hillard, Harold Jarman, and Bobby Jones are just a few of the new heroes to emerge, while the evergreen Alfie Biggs resumed his Rovers career following a brief interlude at Deepdale with Preston North End. Still ensconced in the Third Division as we entere the1970s, Rovers enjoyed two seasons of success in the Football League Cup, reaching the Fifth Round in 1970/71 and again in 1971/72. The appointment of Don Megson as manager heralded a new period of success. The Watney Cup was won in 1972 and promotion back to the second tier of English football achieved in 1974. The promotion success came about because Megson had built a wonderfully consistent team that worked so hard for each other and included the goalscoring talents of Alan Warboys and Bruce Bannister, alias 'Smash and Grab'. As well as Warboys and Bannister, another raft of players emerged before, during and after the promotion success, Colin Dobson, Mike Green, Lindsay Parsons, Frankie Prince, Dick Sheppard, Kenny Stephens and Stuart Taylor among them. Eastville, the proud home of Bristol's oldest professional football club, played host to many marvellous games during this decade, but it was all about to change as we entered the 1980s. Bobby Campbell had succeeded Megson as manager, before Harold Jarman took over in a temporary capacity. He was replaced by Terry Cooper and the former England international defender was in charge of the club at the time of the Eastville fire in 1980. A handful of games were played at Ashton Gate while Eastville was being prepared to host football once again. However, playing in what resembled a shell of the former stadium just wasn't the same and a disastrous season, following the fire, ended in relegation to the Third Division. Bobby Gould came and went as manager on two occasions and, amazingly, England World Cup winner Alan Ball ended his playing career with Bristol Rovers. The club celebrated its centenary with games against Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United and Wotton, and a number of players emerged who were to go on to enjoy careers at the highest level. Among them were Ian Holloway, Phil Kite, Gary Mabbutt, Tony Pulis, David Williams and Geraint Williams. We shouldn't forget Micky Barrett, either, who would surely have gone on to enjoy a successful career had he not been struck down with cancer, passing away at the age of 24. The 1980s saw Rovers leave Eastville for the last time, beginning a decade in exile in Bath, playing home games at Bath City's tiny Twerton Park ground. Amazingly, under the astute guidance of former England international, Gerry Francis, fortunes changed yet again and in 1990 he led the side to the Third Division title and to a first ever appearance at Wembley. Ian Alexander, Vaughan Jones, David Mehew, Brian Parkin, Andy Reece, Carl Saunders, Geoff Twentyman and Devon White were the latest in a long line of crowd favourites. Our journey from the past ends forty years after the first photo in this book, with Rovers still playing at Twerton Park. It is hoped that this book is the first in a series of photographic images to complement the historical reference books of the club that have already been published. Keith Brookman


Språk Engelsk Engelsk Innbinding Heftet
Utgitt 2012 Forfatter Keith Brookman
Tangent Books
ISBN 9781906477752
Antall sider 96 Dimensjoner 16,8cm x 24,5cm x 1cm
Vekt 246 gram Leverandør Bertram Trading Ltd
Emner og form Football (Soccer, Association football), Sports teams & clubs