League One Lowdown: Bristol Rovers

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 09 July 2017

Vital Statistics

Founded: 1883

Chairman: Steve Hamer

Last Season: League One - 10th

Nicknames: The Pirates, The Gas

Rivals: Bristol City

Major Honours

None

Scheduled Matches

Portsmouth vs Bristol Rovers: Tuesday, September 26th (7:45pm)

Bristol Rovers vs Portsmouth: Monday, January 1st (3pm)

Bristol Rovers: A brief history

Rovers were formed in an Eastville restaurant and were originally named Black Arabs FC after the rugby club which were known for wearing black shirts. The name was changed after a season to Eastville Rovers and then eventually to Bristol Rovers before the turn of the century.

In their most recent guise, Rovers played at Eastville stadium where a fire broke out in 1980. In 1986 the club were forced out of their home and played at Bath's Twerton Park until they moved back to Bristol to their current home ground; the Memorial Stadium a decade later. A new stadium for Rovers is set to be built eventually.

Rovers' only trophy triumph of note was their 1972 Watley Cup win. The tournament was a short-lived competition played in the 70's between the top scorers of each division. Having been relegated into non-league for the first time at the end of the 2013/2014 season, Rovers bounced straight back into the Football League with a win over Grimsby in the following season's Conference play-off final and then won back-to-back promotions by finishing third in League Two the following year.

The Manager: Darrell Clarke

Clarke spent most of his playing career as a winger for Mansfield and Hartlepool before retiring at Salisbury where he went on to become their manager.

Having achieved two promotions from non-league, Clarke was appointed as John Ward's assistant in June 2013 and was promoted to full manager later that season but couldn't prevent Rovers' relegation.

He rebuilt the team the following summer and the club finished as runners-up in the Conference and beat Grimsby Town in the play-off final to return to the Football League after just one season away. His stock continues to rise following another promotion to League One and a challenge for the play-offs last season.

The Stadium: The Memorial Ground (Capacity: 12,000 - Away: 1,100)

The Memorial Ground is certainly one of the most unique grounds in the Football League with all four sides very different from one another. The majority of Pompey fans will be situated in the open west terrace of the East Stand, which does get very cramped and is fairly shallow.

The Pompey fans who wish to be seated can do so in the South Stand which looks more like a giant tent, complete with portaloos and segregation for the home supporters too.

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The West Stand is probably the best looking of the bunch and houses anyone brave enough to do corporate at the Mem. However, it is flanked by two "not-so-nice" looking stands just to give the round more of an "uneven" feel.

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If you look to the right then you will see the Blackthorn Terrace which is home to the noisiest Gasheads who can belt out a good rendition of "Goodnight Irene" now and then. If you continue looking to the right you're bound to catch some abuse from the Rovers fans on the elevated East stand as they stand on the overhang overlooking the away supporters.

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Overall, you can see why Rovers wish to move to a new stadium given the facilities at the Memorial Ground but it's a unique place that sells a damn good pasty and is surrounded by some excellent pubs too. If you can brave the crowded open terrace then it's an away day well worth doing.

Portsmouth Match Reports

Sky Bet League One Sat 18th November 15:00

Portsmouth 1 - 0 Southend United

Last game - Match Centre


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