Bristol Rovers F.C.

This is a good article. Click here for more information.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bristol Rovers
Full nameBristol Rovers Football Club
Nickname(s)The Pirates, The Gas
Founded1883; 141 years ago (1883)
GroundMemorial Stadium
Capacity11,000 (3,000 seated)[1]
Coordinates51°29′10″N 2°34′59″W / 51.4862°N 2.5830°W / 51.4862; -2.5830
OwnerHussain AlSaeed
CEOTom Gorringe[2]
ManagerMatt Taylor
LeagueEFL League One
2022–23EFL League One, 17th of 24
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Bristol Rovers Football Club are a professional football club in Bristol, England. They compete in League One, the third tier of the English football league system. The club's official nickname is "The Pirates", reflecting the maritime history of Bristol. The local nickname of the club is "The Gas", derived from the gasworks next to their former home, Eastville Stadium. Since 1996, the club has played home matches at the Memorial Stadium in Horfield.

The club spent 89 years in the heart of North Bristol between 1897 and 1986 at the Eastville Stadium. Following a sale of the land they spent ten years at Twerton Park in Bath. The club's nickname: "The Gas" originally began as a derogatory term used by fans of their main rivals, Bristol City, but was affectionately adopted by the club and its supporters. Cardiff City and Swindon Town are considered their second and third biggest rivals.[3] Other rivalries include; Cheltenham Town, Exeter City, Forest Green Rovers, Plymouth Argyle, Torquay United and Yeovil Town. These rivalries are considered West Country Derbies and are often heated encounters. The women's team play in the Gloucestershire County Women's League.

The club was founded in 1883 as Black Arabs F.C. and entered the Bristol & District League as Eastville Rovers in 1892. The club moved to the Birmingham & District League in 1897, then changed divisions to the Southern League as Bristol Rovers in 1899. They won the Southern League in 1904–05 and were admitted to the Football League in 1920. They were placed in the Third Division South the following year and remained there until winning promotion as champions in 1952–53. They recorded their highest finishing positions in 1956 and 1959, a sixth-place finish in the Second Division, before suffering relegation in 1962. Promoted in second-place in 1973–74, they spent another seven seasons in the second tier until relegation in 1981. They won the Third Division title in 1989–90, though this time lasted just three seasons in the second tier and were relegated back into the fourth tier by 2001.

Rovers won the League Two play-off final in 2007, but relegations in 2011 and 2014 saw the club drop into the Conference Premier. They finished second in the Conference under the stewardship of Darrell Clarke and immediately regained their Football League status with victory in the 2015 play-off final. They followed up this success by securing promotion out of League Two at the end of the 2015–16 season. They were relegated from the third tier in 2020–21 but returned at the first attempt claiming the final automatic promotion spot to League One on the final day of the season by beating Scunthorpe 7-0.[4]

Rovers have won the Gloucestershire Cup 32 times, the Third Division South Cup in 1932, the Watney Cup in 1972, and have been Football League Trophy finalists two times.


Early years[edit]

The Black Arabs in February 1884

The club was formed following a meeting at the Eastville Restaurant in Bristol in September 1883. It was initially called Black Arabs F.C., after the Arabs rugby team and the predominantly black kits in which they played. This name only lasted for the 1883–84 season, and in a bid to draw more fans from the local area the club was renamed Eastville Rovers in 1884.[5]

Football: Wotton-under-Edge v Black Arabs (Bristol). A match under association rules has been played at Wotton-under-Edge between these clubs, resulting in the defeat of the visiting team. The home team were in every point superior to their antagonists and after a one-sided game Wotton were declared victors by six goals to nil.

Dursley Gazette, 3 December 1883, reproduced in Byrne & Jay (2003).[6] A report of the Black Arabs' first match.

The club played only friendly games until the 1887–88 season, when it took part in the Gloucestershire Cup for the first time.[failed verification] In 1892, the club became a founder member of the Bristol and District League, which three years later was renamed the Western League.[failed verification] In 1897, Eastville Rovers joined the Birmingham and District League, and for two seasons played in both this league and the Western League.[failed verification][7] At the beginning of the 1897–98 season, the club turned professional and changed its name to Bristol Eastville Rovers,[7] and, on 17 February 1899, the name was officially changed to Bristol Rovers.[8] In 1899, Bristol Rovers joined the newly formed Southern League, where they remained until 1920, winning the league title along the way in 1905.[additional citation(s) needed][9]

Into the Football League[edit]

For the 1920–21 season, the Southern League teams were moved into the new Division Three of the Football League, which became Division Three (South) the following season. They remained in this division for over 30 years, before winning the league, and promotion in the 1952–53 season.[10]

Chart of yearly table positions in the Football League

The team has won promotion on six other occasions: in 1973–74 from the Third Division to the Second Division, again in 1989–90 as Division Three champions, in 2006–07 to the Football League One, in 2014–15 to League Two from the Conference Premier, in 2015–16 to League One and then in 2021-22 to League One from League Two. The club has been relegated seven times—in 1961–62, 1980–81, 1992–93, 2000–01, 2010–11, 2013–14 and most recently at the end of the 2020-21 season.[11]

The highest position in the football ladder reached by Rovers at the end of season is sixth place in the second tier, which they acheived twice; once in 1955–56, and again in 1958–59.[9] The closest they came to the top flight was in 1955–56, when they ended the season just four points below the promotion positions.[12] The lowest league position achieved by the club is twenty-third out of twenty-four teams in the fourth tier, which has occurred twice. In the 2001–02 season,[9] relegation from the Football League was narrowly avoided on two counts; firstly they ended just one league position above the relegation zone, and secondly the rules were changed the following season to increase the number of relegation places to two, meaning that if Rovers had finished in that position one year later they would have been relegated.[13] This position was matched at the end of the 2013–14 season, which this time saw Rovers relegated to the Conference for the first time.[additional citation(s) needed][14] They returned to the league at the end of their first Conference season, with a penalty shootout victory over Grimsby Town in the play-off final.[15] In February 2016, it was announced that a 92% stake in the club had been bought by the Jordanian al-Qadi family, and that Wael al-Qadi, a member of the Jordan Football Association, would become the president.[16] The club is now[when?] owned by Dwane Sports Ltd, with 92.6% of the shares,[17] while Bristol Rovers Supporters Club owns the remaining 7.4%.[18]

In May 2016, the club recorded a second consecutive promotion in dramatic fashion by finishing third in League Two after a 92nd-minute goal secured victory over Dagenham and Redbridge and Accrington Stanley failed to beat Stevenage on the last day of the season.[close paraphrasing][19] It marked the first time Rovers had reached the third tier of English Football since relegation in 2011.[citation needed] In June 2020, it was announced that president Wael al-Qadi had obtained a 90% stake in Dwane Sports Ltd,[non-primary source needed][20][21] after he bought the shares of other members of his family, while it was also announced that the club's debt would be capitalised and a new training facility would begin construction at Hortham Lane, Almondsbury, which is close to the M5 motorway.[failed verification][22] Rovers have owned the site formerly known as 'The Colony' and re-branded by the club 'The Quarters' since 2017,[failed verification][23] and, in June 2020, the club announced that it would be ready for the beginning of the 2020–21 season.[vague][24]

On 3 August 2023, Kuwaiti businessman Hussain AlSaeed bought a controlling 55% share in Dwane Sports, the holding company for the football club, thus becoming chairman. As part of the takeover, all debt owed to the company was capitalised.[clarification needed][25]

Cup competitions[edit]

Bristol Rovers playing against Tranmere Rovers at Wembley in 1990

The only major cup competition won by Bristol Rovers is the 1972 Watney Cup, when they beat Sheffield United in the final.[26] The club also won the Division Three (South) Cup in 1934–35, as well as winning or sharing the Gloucestershire Cup on 32 occasions.[citation needed] The team has never played in European competition;[citation needed] the closest Rovers came was when they missed out on reaching the international stage of the Anglo-Italian Cup in the 1992–93 season on a coin toss held over the phone with West Ham United.[failed verification][27]

In the FA Cup, Rovers have reached the quarter-final stage on three occasions. The first time was in 1950–51 when they faced Newcastle United at St James' Park[28] in front of a crowd of 62,787, the record for the highest attendance at any Bristol Rovers match.[29] The second time they reached the quarter final was in 1957–58, when they lost to Fulham,[28] and the most recent appearance at this stage of the competition was during the 2007–08 season, when they faced West Bromwich Albion.[30] They were the first Division Three team to win an FA Cup tie away to a Premier League side, when in 2002 they beat Derby County 3–1 at Pride Park Stadium.[28]

They have twice reached the final of the Football League Trophy, in 1989–90 and 2006–07, but finished runners-up on both occasions.[failed verification] On the second occasion they did not allow a single goal against them in the competition en route to the final, but conceded the lead less than a minute after the final kicked off.[31]


Bristol Rovers (blue) against Bristol City (red) in a Football League Trophy match at Ashton Gate in February 2007

Bristol Rovers's main rivals are city neighbours Bristol City, with whom they contest the Bristol derby.[better source needed][failed verification][3] An in-depth report by the Football Pools in 2008 deemed this rivalry 8th fiercest rivalry in English football.[additional citation(s) needed][32] The most recent encounter between the clubs took place on 4 September 2013, which saw Rovers beaten by City in a Football League Trophy tie at Ashton Gate Stadium by a 2–1 scoreline.[additional citation(s) needed][33] Other rivals are Newport County and mainly teams from the West Country, such as Swindon Town, Cheltenham Town, Yeovil Town and Forest Green Rovers.

In the past, rivalries also emerged with Severnside rivals Cardiff City known as the Severnside derby.[vague][failed verification][34] Rovers's most recent meeting against Cardiff was a League Cup match on 11 August 2016, with Chris Lines scoring the goal for Rovers in a 1–0 victory.[additional citation(s) needed][35] The last time Cardiff and Bristol Rovers were in the same league was in the 1999–2000 season.

The first time Rovers encountered Yeovil was a Football League Trophy match which was played on 31 October 2001, which Rovers won via a penalty shoot-out. The most recent encounter between the teams was in a Football League Two match on 16 April 2016, which Rovers won 2–1.[failed verification][36] Because of the close proximity many players have also represented both the clubs, for example Adam Virgo, Gavin Williams, Dominic Blizzard and Tom Parkes.

Rovers last played Swindon Town in the 2021–22 League Two season (a 1–1 draw) Cheltenham Town in the 2023–24 League One season, a 1–1 draw, and Forest Green Rovers in the 2022–23 League One season (a 3–1 away victory).

Other clubs in the West country such as Plymouth Argyle and Exeter City have also been considered rivals despite being further away from Bristol (162 km for Plymouth and 104 km for Exeter). Bristol Rovers last played Plymouth in the 2022–23 League One season where Rovers lost 2–0 away from home and they last played Exeter at home in the 2023–24 season when they lost 0–1.

Colours and badge[edit]

Team colours from 1883 to 1885

Bristol Rovers are known for their distinctive blue and white quartered shirts, which they have worn for most of their history. The current home kit consists of a light blue and white quartered shirt and white shorts, while the away kit is mainly grey with black accents. The away strip raises attention for blindness, and features braille on the body.[clarification needed][failed verification][37] During the 2008–09 season, a special third strip, which was black with a gold sash, and a reproduction of the original Black Arab shirt, was used for a single match to celebrate the club's 125th anniversary.[38]

Team colours on winning the Southern League in 1905

The team began playing in black shirts with a yellow sash from their foundation in 1883 as Black Arabs F.C. until 1885, by which time they were called Eastville Rovers. For the next fourteen years, until 1899, the team wore blue and white hooped shirts. These were replaced by black and white striped shirts until 1919.[39]

When Rovers were admitted to The Football League in 1920 they wore white shirts with blue shorts. These remained the team colours until 1930, when the colours were reversed to blue shirts and white shorts for one season.[39] The blue and white quarters were first worn in 1931, when they were introduced to try to make the players look larger and more intimidating.[40] Rovers continued to wear the quarters for 31 years, until they were replaced by blue pinstripes on a white background.[clarification needed][39]

1996–97 "Tesco" shirts

Over the next ten years, Rovers went on to wear blue and white stripes, all blue, and blue shirts with white shorts before returning to the blue and white quarters in 1973, which have remained the colours ever since.[clarification needed][39] During the 1996–97 season, Rovers wore an unpopular striped quartered design, prompting fans to refer to it as the Tesco bag shirts[41] because of their similarity to the design used for the company's carrier bags.[improper synthesis?] The change in design prompted the Trumpton Times fanzine to change its name to Wot, No Quarters?[clarification needed][42]

The black and gold shirts were also used as the away kit for the 2002–03 season, the club's 120th anniversary.[citation needed]

In 2005, Rovers ran an April Fools' joke on their official website, stating that the team's new away strip would be all pink. Although this was intended to be a joke, a number of fans petitioned the club to get the kit made for real, and also suggested that funds raised through the sale of the pink shirts should be donated to a breast cancer charity.[failed verification][43] Although the pink shirts were never used in a competitive fixture, they were worn for a pre-season friendly against Plymouth Argyle in 2006.[failed verification][44]

A pirate features on both the club badge and the badge of the supporters club,[45] reflecting the club nickname of The Pirates.[improper synthesis?] Previous club badges have featured a blue and white quartered design, based on the quartered design of the team's jerseys.[improper synthesis?]

Kit suppliers and sponsors[edit]

Rovers first used Bukta as an official kit supplier in 1977, and Great Mills as the first kit sponsor followed 1981. Rovers' longest running kit supplier is Errea who supplied the club kits for eleven years (2005–16).[46][47] The club's longest running kit sponsorship was from local company Cowlin Construction, who sponsored the club for 11 years before ending the deal in 2009.[48] Following the end of the Cowlin deal, sponsors were chosen by raffle, via the 1883 Club.[clarification needed][49] This process lasted nine seasons before the club announced Football INDEX as new sponsors for both home and away kits.[50] In 2019, Utilita become the main shirt sponsors of both the home and away kits for the 2019-2020 season,[51] and the deal was then extended in July 2020 to cover the 2020-2021 season,[52] marking the first time a shirt sponsor had lasted for more than one season since the end of the Cowlin sponsorship in 2009.[improper synthesis?]

Period Kit suppplier Home Kit Sponsor Away Kit Sponsor
1977–1981 Bukta No sponsor
1981–1983 Great Mills
1983–1984 Toshiba
1984–1986 Hobott
1986–1987 Henson Peter Carol
1987–1988 Design Windows
1988–1990 Spall Design Windows Universal Components
1990–1992 Design Windows
1992–1993 Roman Glass
1993–1995 Matchwinner
1995–1996 Le Coq Sportif Elite Hampers
1996–1997 Cica Bradshaw's Snack Box
1997–1998 The Jelf Group
1998–1999 Cowlin Construction
1999–2001 Avec
2001–2005 Strikeforce
2005–2009 Errea
2009–2010 N-Gaged Stevens, Hewlett & Perkins
2010–2011 Smart Computers Stalbridge Linen
2011–2012 McCarthy Waste ITS
2012–2013 Opus Recruitment Solutions CR Windows
2013–2014 Eurocams Highspec Travel Services
2014–2015 Arco Office Beverages
2015–2016 The Sportsman Pub Pensord Press
2016–2017 Macron Dribuild Powersystems UK Ltd
2017–2018 Thorntons Travel Barrs Court Construction
2018–2019 Football INDEX
2019–present Utilita Energy




Rovers play their home games at the Memorial Stadium in Horfield, a ground they formerly shared with Bristol Rugby. The team moved to The Mem, as it is known informally, at the beginning of the 1996–97 season, initially as tenants but purchased it two years later.[failed verification][53]

When Bristol Rovers were known as Black Arabs F.C. in 1883, they played their home games at Purdown, Stapleton.[citation needed] The following year they moved to Three Acres, the precise location of which is not known, but is believed[by whom?] to have been in the Ashley Down area of Bristol, where they remained for seven years.[citation needed] This was followed by brief stays at the Schoolmasters Cricket Ground, Durdham Down and Ridgeway.

For the majority of their history, Bristol Rovers have played their home games at the Eastville Stadium, where they remained for a period of 89 years from 1897 to 1986.[citation needed] Financial problems led to the team being forced to leave Eastville, now it is an IKEA Store.[citation needed] Bristol Rovers found a temporary home at Twerton Park, the home of Bath City.[citation needed] They stayed in Bath for 10 years, before returning to Bristol in 1996.[citation needed]

Aftermath of the fire at Eastville Stadium, August 1980

Rovers also played five home games at Ashton Gate Stadium, home of rivals Bristol City, following a fire which destroyed the South Stand of the Eastville Stadium on the night of the 16–17 August 1980.[better source needed] Rovers returned to Eastville in October 1980.[citation needed] During World War II, some friendly matches were played in Kingswood, and in their early history some games were played at Parson Street, Bedminster[5]

In January 2007, planning permission was granted for a new 18,500 capacity all-seater stadium to be built on the site of the Memorial Stadium.[failed verification][54] The project was abandoned after a series of delays.[failed verification][55][56][57] In June 2011, the club announced its intention to relocate the club to a new 21,700 all-seater stadium on the University of the West of England's Frenchay campus.[failed verification][close paraphrasing][58] The planned UWE Stadium was shelved in August 2017 due to disputes between the club and the university, and attention returned to redeveloping the Memorial Stadium.[improper synthesis?][59]

In 2017, there was a crowd recording at the Memorial Stadium for Early Man, a 2018 Aardaman film.[clarification needed][60]

In June 2020, the club began construction of a new training facility at a site on Hortham Lane, Almondsbury near the M5 motorway.[clarification needed][22] The site is set to include two full size pitches, a goalkeeping area, a gym and a clubhouse building.[clarification needed][22] Having owned the land since 2017,[failed verification][23] no work had previously been carried out before the club moved into the training ground for the start in October 2020.[vague][61]

On 6 April 2023, Conygar Investment Company exchanged contracts with the Wholesale Bristol Fruit Market for the land at St. Philips Marsh, with the football club seeing it was a 'move in the right direction' with regards to a new stadium, having been involved in discussions for 2+12 years prior.[failed verification][close paraphrasing][62] In October 2023, new owner Hussain AlSaeed confirmed that the club's proposed move to the site was off and they would instead be redeveloping the Memorial Stadium.[close paraphrasing][63]

Supporter culture[edit]

Rovers fans at the Football League Trophy final at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff in 2007

The team traditionally draws the majority of its support from north and east Bristol[close paraphrasing][64] and South Gloucestershire. Many towns and villages in the surrounding area are also home to significant pockets of Rovers supporters.[non-primary source needed][39]

The nickname given to Bristol Rovers supporters is "Gasheads".[vague][65] "The Gas" was originally coined as a derogatory term by the supporters of Bristol Rovers's rivals Bristol City, and was in reference to the large gas works adjacent to the old Bristol Rovers stadium, in Eastville, Bristol which wafted the sometimes overpowering odour of town gas across the crowd.[failed verification][39] "Gasheads" was adopted as a name by a splinter group of Rovers supporters in the mid-1980s to early 1990s.[citation needed] The chant "Proud to be a Gashead" spread to regular fans, and a fanzine was produced called The Gashead.

The term "Gasheads" is now universally accepted within the English media and football fraternity as referring to Bristol Rovers supporters.[better source needed][66] After the club's relegation to the Third Division in 2001, the club designated the squad number 12 to the Gasheads, to signify them as the club's 12th Man in recognition of their loyal support.[failed verification][65]

The retired Conservative MP for Hayes and Harlington Terry Dicks was a Bristol Rovers fan. He mentioned the club in parliament ("now struggling in the second division of the Endsleigh league") on 5 May 1994 when debating with Labour MP and Chelsea fan Tony Banks.[relevant?][67] Other notable fans are local musicians Roni Size[additional citation(s) needed][68] and Geoff Barrow of Portishead[non-primary source needed][69] and writer David Goldblatt.[70] Former Bristol Rovers player and manager, Ian Holloway, who also managed QPR and Blackpool as well as featuring as a pundit, is still a big fan of the club.

Based on September 2014 statistics released by the Home Office,[71] the Rovers fan base were named the Most Dangerous English Football fan base for the 2013–2014 season, with 57 arrests on the season, of which 35% were for "violent disorder."[failed verification] Particularly dangerous was the scene on 3 May 2014 when the Rovers were assured relegation from the Football League for the first time.[clarification needed][72]

The Rovers fans have good relations with Spanish club CE Sabadell FC, which initially began due to several Rovers fans noticing that the club had the same colours.[73] In July 2016, the clubs played each other in a pre-season match in Spain.[additional citation(s) needed][74]

One Bristol Rovers print fanzine is currently active and is entitled Last Saturday Night.[failed verification][non-primary source needed][75] There is also a fan-run podcast and blog called GasCast.[non-primary source needed][76]

Club song[edit]

The song which is synonymous with Rovers is "Goodnight, Irene", which was written by Lead Belly.[failed verification][better source needed][77]

Opinions differ as to how this came about, but it is thought to have become popular in the 1950s when a version of the song was in the British charts—the line "sometimes I have a great notion to jump in the river and drown"—seemed to be particularly apt when Rovers lost, as the Bristol Frome flows alongside the old Eastville ground.[additional citation(s) needed][39] It is believed that John Clapham is responsible for the song as he used to work at Eastville stadium for the greyhound racing and the last record he would play at the end of the night was "Goodnight Irene" also having a daughter called Irene, the record would then be left in the player and was played at the football.[failed verification][39] Another theory is that it was sung at a fireworks display at the Stadium the night before a home game against Plymouth Argyle in the 1950s. During the game the following day, Rovers were winning quite comfortably and the few Argyle supporters present began to leave early prompting a chorus of "Goodnight Argyle" from the Rovers supporters—the tune stuck and "Irene" became the club song.[78]

Another popular Bristol Rovers song is "Tote End Boys", which was written and sung by Ben Gunstone. The name derives from the section of Gasheads who stood in the Tote End terrace at Rovers' old home, Eastville Stadium.


As of 1 February 2024[79]

Current squad[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
2 DF Wales WAL James Connolly
3 DF Scotland SCO Lewis Gordon
4 MF England ENG Josh Grant
5 DF Wales WAL James Wilson
6 MF England ENG Sam Finley (captain)
7 MF England ENG Scott Sinclair
8 MF England ENG Grant Ward
9 FW England ENG John Marquis
10 MF Costa Rica CRC Brandon Aguilera (on loan from Nottingham Forest)
11 MF England ENG Luke Thomas
14 MF England ENG Jordan Rossiter
17 DF England ENG Connor Taylor
18 FW Scotland SCO Chris Martin
19 MF England ENG Harvey Vale (on loan from Chelsea)
No. Pos. Nation Player
20 FW Jamaica JAM Jevani Brown
21 MF England ENG Antony Evans
22 MF Sierra Leone SLE Kamil Conteh
23 MF England ENG Luke McCormick
25 DF France FRA Tristan Crama (on loan from Brentford)
26 DF Indonesia IDN Elkan Baggott (on loan from Ipswich Town)
30 DF Wales WAL Luca Hoole
31 GK England ENG Jed Ward
32 DF England ENG George Friend
33 GK England ENG Matthew Cox (on loan from Brentford)
35 GK England ENG Matthew Hall
42 DF England ENG Jack Hunt
45 MF Republic of Ireland IRL Harry Vaughan (on loan from Hull City)

Development squad and Under-18s[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
37 MF England ENG Kofi Shaw
43 FW Wales WAL Ollie Dewsbury
DF England ENG Zak Ford
MF Wales WAL Max Edwards-Stryjewski
FW England ENG Jaheim Allen

Out on loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
27 FW England ENG Harvey Greenslade (on loan at Oxford City)
28 DF England ENG James Gibbons (on loan at Cambridge United)
34 MF England ENG Jerry Lawrence (on loan at Tiverton Town)
38 DF England ENG Will Larvin (on loan at Yate Town)
No. Pos. Nation Player
39 MF England ENG Theo Lynden (on loan at Melksham Town)
44 DF England ENG Ryan Jones (on loan at Bromley)

Notable former players[edit]

Hall of fame[edit]

The football club launched its official Hall of Fame in 2021 in partnership with Retro Rovers podcast with the purpose of recognising the players and managers who had had the greatest impact. It was announced that ten people would be inducted in the Hall at a rate of one per week in the first half of 2021, with three added per year thereafter.[80] The first inductee was the club's all-time record goalscorer Geoff Bradford.

Bristol Rovers Hall of Fame Inductees
Inductee # Name Appearances Goals Period Date inducted Notes
1 Geoff Bradford 461 242 1949–1964 26 February 2021[81] Club record goalscorer
2 Stuart Taylor 546 28 1965–1980 5 March 2021[82] Club record appearance maker
3 Harry Bamford 486 5 1945–1958 12 March 2021[83] Second most appearances for the club.
4 Alfie Biggs 463 197 1953–1961 & 1962–1968 19 March 2021[84] Second top scorer in the club's history.
5 Ray Warren 450 28 1936–1956 26 March 2021[85] Title winning captain in 1952-53.
6 Jack Pitt 499 16 1946–1960 3 April 2021[86] Spent 50 years at club as player, coach & groundsman
7 George Petherbridge 457 85 1945–1962 9 April 2021[87] More FA Cup appearances than any other player for the club.
8 Mickey Barrett 129 18 1979–1984 16 April 2021[88] Talented fan favourite who died from lung cancer in 1984, aged just 24
9 Harold Jarman 452 127 1959–1973 (player)
1979–1980 (manager)
23 April 2021[89] Third top scorer in the club's history
10 Josser Watling 323 19 1945–1963 30 April 2021[90] Oldest living former Rovers player. Died on 3 June 2023 at the age of 98.[91]

Other notable players[edit]

This is a list of the other most noted former players at Bristol Rovers Football Club (excluding those listed in the Hall of Fame above) stating the period that each player spent at the club, their nationality and their reason for being listed. To be included in this list a player must have made over 400 league appearances for the club, scored over 100 league goals or hold a club record.

Note: all details from Byrne & Jay (2003), unless otherwise stated
Years Nation Player Achievement Notes
1928–1932  England Ronnie Dix The club's youngest ever player, at 15 years 173 days.
The Football League's youngest ever goalscorer, at 15 years 180 days.
1945–1955  England Vic Lambden Scored 117 goals in 268 league appearances.
1945–1962  England George Petherbridge Played 457 league games.
1953–1962  Kenya Peter Hooper Scored 101 goals in 297 league games.
1956–1973  England Bobby Jones Played 421 league games and scored 101 goals.
1959–1973  England Harold Jarman Played 452 league games and scored 127 goals.
1981–1999  England Ian Holloway Named the fans' Cult Hero in a BBC poll. [93]
1987–1989  England Nigel Martyn Became the first goalkeeper to command a million pound transfer fee when he was sold to Crystal Palace. [94]
1992–2000  England Andy Tillson Record signing, and former club captain. [95]
1997–1999  Jamaica Barry Hayles Club record sale when he moved to Fulham for £2,100,000.
2000–2003  Latvia Vitālijs Astafjevs Most internationally capped Bristol Rovers player, with 31 appearances for Latvia while playing with Rovers 158 times. [95]
2016–2018  England Byron Moore Scorer of Rovers' fastest ever league goal (11 seconds) vs AFC Wimbledon [96]

Club staff[edit]

Club personnel[edit]

As of 2 February 2024[97]

Job title Name
Manager Matt Taylor
Assistant manager Jamie McAllister
First-team coach Kevin Bond
Goalkeeping coach Anssi Jaakkola
Club Doctor Ian Ferguson
Sports Therapist Leighanne Kelly
Head of Analysis Adam Mahoney
Assistant First Team Analyst Lewis Mahoney
Assistant Sports Scientist Harvey Baker
Strength & Conditioning Coach Chris Cone
Academy Manager Byron Anthony
Youth Development Phase Lead Coach (U13-U16s) Phil Hicks
Foundation Phase Lead Coach Jake Sainsbury
Groundsman Ben "Fordy" Ford
Kit Man Josh Evans
Assistant Kit Man Tom Foley
Club Secretary Vacant

Board of directors[edit]

Position Name[17]
President Wael al-Qadi
CEO Tom Gorringe
Head of Football Operations Eddy Jennings
Non-Executive Director Chris Gibson MBE
Supporters Club Representative Stephen Lamble
Supporters Club Representative Helen Wigmore

Managerial history[edit]

The first manager of Bristol Rovers, Alfred Homer

36 men have been appointed as a manager of Bristol Rovers Football Club, excluding caretaker managers.[98][failed verification][99] Bobby Gould, Gerry Francis and John Ward are the only men to have been given the job on a permanent basis twice, although Garry Thompson had a spell as caretaker manager before later being appointed permanently, and Phil Bater was caretaker manager on two occasions.

Youth Academy[edit]

The Bristol Rovers Academy currently[when?] operates at The City Academy Bristol and Sir Bernard Lovell School. Current[when?] first-team squad members Luca Hoole and Jed Ward both graduated from the Academy to earn professional contracts.[citation needed] In May 2021, U16s player Kyrie Pierre joined Aston Villa for an undisclosed six-figure fee, a record fee received by the Academy for a player.[close paraphrasing][100]

Perhaps the most successful[according to whom?] former member of the academy is Scott Sinclair, who was signed by Chelsea in 2005 for £200,000, with further payments to the club possible, depending on performance.[101] In October 2022, he returned to Bristol Rovers following his release from Championship club Preston North End.[citation needed]

Other former Academy players currently[when?] contracted to teams in the Premier League or English Football League include Ryan Broom (Fleetwood Town), Ollie Clarke (Mansfield Town, Ellis Harrison (Milton Keynes Dons), Alfie Kilgour (Mansfield Town), Tom Lockyer (Luton Town), Matt Macey (Portsmouth) and Donovan Wilson (Grimsby Town) (.[citation needed]

Women's team[edit]

Bristol Academy v Birmingham City, October 2006

The club foremrly had a women's team, set up in 1998, as Bristol Rovers W.F.C., following a merger with Cable-Tel L.F.C..[failed verification] This merger came about as Bristol Rovers only had girls' teams up to the under-16 age group level, so when girls reached the age of 16 they were forced to leave the club.[failed verification] The merger with Cable-Tel meant that Bristol Rovers had a senior squad.[failed verification] The club's name was changed to Bristol Academy W.F.C. in 2005, to reflect the increased investment from the Bristol Academy of Sport.[failed verification] In 2016, Bristol Academy were re-branded as Bristol City following a sponsorship arrangement with Rovers' local rivals.[additional citation(s) needed][102]

In 2019, it was announced that Rovers were to reform their women's team. They began fielding two teams in the Gloucestershire County Women's Football League in the 2019–20 season. The relaunched Bristol Rovers Women's FC was founded by Matthew Davies and Nathan Hallett-Young.[failed verification] As of 2019, the first team played in Division One, with a development team playing in Division Two.[103][104]


Bristol Rovers have won the following honours:[105]





Bristol Rovers record goalscorer, Geoff Bradford. Picture taken in 1988, when he was 61 years old.





  1. ^ "Bristol Rovers". Official website. Archived from the original on 3 May 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
  2. ^ "Tom Gorringe Appointed Bristol Rovers CEO". Bristol Rovers. Archived from the original on 2 December 2021. Retrieved 17 November 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Club rivalries uncovered" (PDF). Football Fans Census. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2008.
  4. ^ "Bristol Rovers 7-0 Scunthorpe: Joey Barton's side pip Northampton to claim promotion to League One".
  5. ^ a b Byrne, Stephen; Jay, Mike (2003). Bristol Rovers Football Club – The Definitive History 1883–2003. Stroud: Tempus. ISBN 0-7524-2717-2.
  6. ^ Byrne & Jay (2003), p29
  7. ^ a b "Into the league". 6 August 2007. Archived from the original on 16 September 2008. Retrieved 26 October 2008.
  8. ^ Byrne & Jay (2003), p52
  9. ^ a b c "Bristol Rovers". Football Club History Database. Archived from the original on 20 April 2010. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  10. ^ Byrne & Jay (2003), p229
  11. ^ "Wanderers send the Gas down". Chairboys on the Net. 2 May 2001. Archived from the original on 8 October 2006. Retrieved 24 October 2008.
  12. ^ Byrne & Jay (2003), p242
  13. ^ "Promotion to/Relegation from the Football League". The 9 January 2005. Archived from the original on 29 October 2008. Retrieved 28 October 2008.
  14. ^ "League Two: Bristol Rovers relegated after Wycombe and Northampton win". The Guardian. 3 May 2014. Archived from the original on 29 May 2014. Retrieved 29 May 2014.
  15. ^ Mitchell, Brendon (17 May 2015). "Bristol Rovers 1–1 Grimsby". BBC Sport. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  16. ^ "Bristol Rovers: Al-Qadi family complete takeover of League Two club". BBC Sport. Archived from the original on 21 February 2016. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  17. ^ a b "Bristol Rovers FC Club Contacts". Bristol Rovers Football Club. Archived from the original on 14 March 2016. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
  18. ^ Geoff Twentyman (presenter) & Steve Hamer (guest) (19 February 2016). Friday Night Sport (Radio broadcast). Bristol: BBC Radio Bristol. Archived from the original on 23 February 2016. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  19. ^ "Bristol Rovers won promotion to League One in dramatic fashion". BBC Sport. Archived from the original on 21 July 2020. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  20. ^ "Club President's Open Letter to Fans..." Archived from the original on 27 July 2020. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  21. ^ "Club Statement: Ownership and Board Structure". Archived from the original on 27 July 2020. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  22. ^ a b c "Work To Begin at Training Ground Site Next Week". Archived from the original on 27 July 2020. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  23. ^ a b "THE COLONY TRAINING GROUND". Archived from the original on 27 July 2020. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  24. ^ Frost, Sam (4 June 2020). "Bristol Rovers announce The Colony training ground will be ready for next season". Bristol Post. Archived from the original on 11 January 2022. Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  25. ^ "Club Statement: New Ownership". 3 August 2023. Retrieved 8 August 2023.
  26. ^ Greg Struthers (24 February 2008). "Caught in time: Bristol Rovers win the Watney Cup, 1972". The Times. London. Archived from the original on 16 May 2009. Retrieved 27 October 2008.
  27. ^ "Anglo-Italian Cup 1992–93". Football Club History Database. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 26 October 2008.
  28. ^ a b c "Up for the Cup". 1 August 2007. Archived from the original on 16 September 2008. Retrieved 25 October 2008.
  29. ^ Byrne & Jay (2003), p221
  30. ^ "FA Cup quarter-final draw". BBC Sport. 27 February 2008. Archived from the original on 31 January 2009. Retrieved 29 October 2008.
  31. ^ "Bristol Rovers 2–3 Doncaster AET". BBC Sport. 1 April 2007. Archived from the original on 23 August 2007. Retrieved 25 October 2008.
  32. ^ "Football Rivalries Report 2008". The Football Pools. Archived from the original on 5 March 2008. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
  33. ^ Caroline Chapman (5 September 2013). "Bristol City v Bristol Rovers: Managers condemn pitch invasion". BBC Sport. Retrieved 16 September 2022.
  34. ^ O'Brien, Chris (9 December 2004). "Bluebird to the Bone – Football Rivalries: The Complete Results". sportnetwork. Archived from the original on 17 June 2017. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
  35. ^ "Bristol Rovers 1–0 Cardiff City". BBC Sport. 11 August 2016. Archived from the original on 16 August 2016. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  36. ^ "Yeovil Town vs Bristol Rovers results in Johnstone's Paint Trophy". ESPN. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
  37. ^ "The look of Rovers in 2008/09". Bristol Rovers Football Club. 2 June 2008. Archived from the original on 29 August 2008. Retrieved 6 November 2008.
  38. ^ "Rovers full of eastern promise". The Football League. 23 October 2008. Archived from the original on 10 February 2009. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  39. ^ a b c d e f g h "Bristol Rovers Frequently Asked Questions". Archived from the original on 22 August 2007.
  40. ^ Byrne & Jay (2003), p161
  41. ^ "Bristol Rovers – Historical Kits". Historical Football Kits. Archived from the original on 29 March 2007. Retrieved 9 May 2007.
  42. ^ "About us". Black Arab fanzine. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 13 February 2007.
  43. ^ "Bristol Rovers fans are pretty in pink". BBC Bristol. 19 April 2005. Archived from the original on 22 April 2005. Retrieved 14 May 2007.
  44. ^ "Walker strike sinks Pilgrims". Bristol Rovers Football Club. 29 July 2006. Archived from the original on 8 February 2009. Retrieved 14 May 2007.
  45. ^ "Bristol Rovers Supporters Club logo". Bristol Rovers Supporters Club. Archived from the original on 16 June 2007. Retrieved 30 April 2007.
  46. ^ "Bristol Rovers". Historical Football Kits. Archived from the original on 16 September 2017. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  47. ^ "Bristol Rovers join forces with Macron". Bristol Rovers F.C. 28 June 2016. Archived from the original on 16 September 2017. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  48. ^ "No More Cowlin For Rovers". Vital Football. 5 March 2009. Archived from the original on 16 September 2017. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  49. ^ "Bristol Rovers fan scoops sponsorship double". South West Business. 22 April 2013. Archived from the original on 16 September 2017. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  50. ^ "New Front of Shirt Sponsor Announced". Bristol Rovers F.C. 20 July 2018. Archived from the original on 20 July 2018. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  51. ^ "Utilita Energy Announced as Front of Shirt Sponsor". Archived from the original on 27 July 2020. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  52. ^ "Utilita Partnership Extended". Archived from the original on 27 July 2020. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  53. ^ "Back to Bristol". Bristol Rovers Football Club. 2 August 2007. Archived from the original on 16 May 2008. Retrieved 6 November 2008.
  54. ^ "Memorial Stadium given go-ahead". BBC News. 18 January 2007. Archived from the original on 19 August 2022. Retrieved 6 November 2008.
  55. ^ "Football and rugby stay in city". BBC News. 17 August 2007. Archived from the original on 19 August 2022. Retrieved 6 November 2008.
  56. ^ "Memorial Stadium plans hit hurdle". BBC News. 30 May 2008. Archived from the original on 6 September 2017. Retrieved 1 June 2008.
  57. ^ "Stadium regeneration delayed". Bristol Rovers Football Club. 3 June 2008. Archived from the original on 22 November 2008. Retrieved 23 November 2008.
  58. ^ "ROVERS ANNOUNCE NEW STADIUM PLANS". 9 June 2011. Archived from the original on 11 June 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2011.
  59. ^ McCormick, Ken (2 August 2017). "Bristol Rovers abandon UWE stadium plan after club is unable to agree terms with university". Bristol Post. Archived from the original on 16 September 2017. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  60. ^ "Take part in a Crowd Record for Aardman's latest movie!". 29 May 2017. Archived from the original on 21 June 2018. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  61. ^ Frost, Sam (26 October 2020). "Bristol Rovers to use their new training ground for first time ahead of Hull City game". Bristol Post. Archived from the original on 14 February 2022. Retrieved 14 February 2022.
  62. ^ "Club Statement". 6 April 2023. Retrieved 6 April 2023.
  63. ^ "Bristol Rovers owner Hussain AlSaeed says proposed stadium move is off". BBC Sport. 28 October 2023. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  64. ^ "Bristol City vs. Bristol Rovers". Football Archived from the original on 17 December 2010. Retrieved 9 May 2007.
  65. ^ a b "First Team – Gasheads". Bristol Rovers F.C. Archived from the original on 20 July 2008. Retrieved 25 October 2008.
  66. ^ Brown, Oliver (7 January 2008). "Craig Hinton puts Bristol Rovers on a high". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 9 January 2008. Retrieved 24 April 2008.
  67. ^ HC Deb, 5 May 1994 vol 242 cc851–925
  68. ^ "9 classic Bristol underground tunes selected by Roni Size". Red Bull. Archived from the original on 6 July 2018. Retrieved 6 July 2018. I've known Geoff since before Portishead – we still play football together, we're going to see Bristol Rovers later.
  69. ^ "Geoff Barrow on Twitter". Retrieved 6 July 2018 – via Twitter.[permanent dead link]
  70. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "INTERVIEW: David Goldblatt" – via YouTube.
  71. ^ "Football-related arrests and football banning order statistics : Season 2013-14" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 27 February 2022. Retrieved 8 March 2022.
  72. ^ Edgley, Ross. "5 Most Dangerous Fanbases in English Football During the 2013-2014 Season". Bleacher Report. Archived from the original on 21 July 2020. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  73. ^ Yong, Michael (23 April 2015). "Barcelona fans from FC Sabadell [sic] to cheer on Bristol Rovers in home game against Alfreton Town". Bristol Post. Archived from the original on 17 December 2015. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  74. ^ "ROVERS PRE-SEASON TOUR TO SABADELL". Bristol Rovers F.C. 5 January 2016. Archived from the original on 10 March 2016. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  75. ^ "Last Saturday Night @LSNZine Probably the shittest Bristol Rovers fanzine ever". Archived from the original on 19 August 2022. Retrieved 8 March 2022.
  76. ^ "GasCast Podcast". Archived from the original on 22 June 2019. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  77. ^ "Goodnight, Irene". Harry Lewman Music. Archived from the original on 13 June 2007. Retrieved 30 April 2007.
  78. ^ Byrne & Jay (2003), p. 225
  79. ^ "Bristol Rovers Squad". Sky Sports. Archived from the original on 19 August 2022. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  80. ^ "Rovers Announce Official Hall of Fame!". Bristol Rovers Football Club. 19 February 2021. Archived from the original on 6 March 2021. Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  81. ^ "Hall of Fame: Geoff Bradford". 26 February 2021. Archived from the original on 10 April 2021. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
  82. ^ "Hall of Fame: Stuart Taylor". 5 March 2021. Archived from the original on 10 April 2021. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  83. ^ "Hall of Fame: Harry Bamford". 12 March 2021. Archived from the original on 10 April 2021. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  84. ^ "Hall of Fame: Alfie Biggs". 19 March 2021. Archived from the original on 10 April 2021. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  85. ^ "Hall of Fame: Ray Warren". 26 March 2021. Archived from the original on 10 April 2021. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  86. ^ "Hall of Fame: Jackie Pitt". 3 April 2021. Archived from the original on 10 April 2021. Retrieved 3 April 2021.
  87. ^ "Hall of Fame: George Petherbridge". 9 April 2021. Archived from the original on 17 April 2021. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  88. ^ "Hall of Fame: Mickey Barrett". 16 April 2021. Archived from the original on 16 April 2021. Retrieved 16 April 2021.
  89. ^ "Hall of Fame: Harold Jarman". 23 April 2021. Archived from the original on 27 April 2021. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  90. ^ "Hall of Fame: Josser Watling". 30 April 2021. Archived from the original on 30 April 2021. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  91. ^ "Obituary - Josser Watling". 4 June 2023. Retrieved 27 June 2023.
  92. ^ Kempson, Russell (2 October 2008). "Barnsley's bright young thing Reuben Noble-Lazarus back at school". The Times. London. Archived from the original on 19 August 2022. Retrieved 3 November 2008.
  93. ^ "Bristol Rovers' cult heroes". BBC Sport. 18 March 2005. Archived from the original on 19 August 2022. Retrieved 3 November 2008.
  94. ^ Byrne & Jay (2003), p391
  95. ^ a b "Bristol Rovers all time records". Soccerbase. Archived from the original on 7 February 2009. Retrieved 6 November 2008.
  96. ^ "AFC Wimbledeon 0 1 Bristol Rovers". BBC Sport. 8 April 2017. Archived from the original on 8 December 2017. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  97. ^ "Staff Profiles". Bristol Rovers FC. Retrieved 16 September 2022.
  98. ^ Byrne & Jay (2003), pp.479–484
  99. ^ "Bristol Rovers manager history". Soccerbase. Archived from the original on 13 June 2007. Retrieved 3 November 2008.
  100. ^ "Academy Prospect Kyrie Pierre Completes Move to Aston Villa". 17 May 2021. Archived from the original on 17 May 2021. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  101. ^ "Chelsea compensation figures confirmed". The Football League. 9 November 2005. Archived from the original on 19 September 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2009.
  102. ^ "Bristol Academy to rebrand as Bristol City Women's FC". BBC Sport. 20 November 2015. Archived from the original on 28 November 2015. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  103. ^ "Bristol Rovers Community Trust Launch 'The Return of the Gas Girls'". Bristol Rovers. 30 April 2019. Archived from the original on 30 April 2019. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  104. ^ "Bristol Rovers Community Trust Launch New Gas Girls Promotional Branding". Bristol Rovers. 5 June 2019. Archived from the original on 5 June 2019. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  105. ^ "Dates & Honours". Bristol Rovers F.C. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2009.
  106. ^ a b c "Dates & honours". Archived from the original on 23 November 2008.
  107. ^ "Bristol Rovers 6–0 Darlington". BBC Sport. 29 November 2020. Archived from the original on 29 November 2020. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  108. ^ "Bristol Rovers Football Club Information". Sporting Chronicle. Archived from the original on 16 December 2006. Retrieved 9 February 2007.
  109. ^ a b c d Rollin, Glenda; Rollin, Jack, eds. (2006). Sky Sports Football Yearbook 2006–2007. London: Headline. p. 115. ISBN 0-7553-1526-X.
  110. ^ Byrne & Jay (2003), p476


External links[edit]