A winning mix of Rovers' tales and pictures
A selection of stories and pictures spanning 40 years of Bristol Rovers Football Club, has been brought together for a new book.
The 92-page publication, which has one great photo and a well-researched story to accompany it on each page, has been put together by the Pirates' match day magazine editor, Keith Brookman, and long time club photographer, Alan Marshall.
Now Rovers' official history, we all know, dates back to 1899 (and as the Black Arabs to 1883) so why start in 1951?
Well, this was when Rovers reached the quarter final of the FA Cup, going out to Newcastle United after a replay that got the fans ("the Gas") on tenterhooks.
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The 1950s were, without doubt, glorious years for the club, a kind of golden age.
In 1955/6, in the old Division Two under manager Bert Tann, the club managed to finish sixth, just four points below promotion.
Many of the players and staff from those heady post-war days have retained – and quite rightly so – an honoured place in the history of the club.
The book kicks off with a photo of skipper Ray Warren, a player whose career began before the war, surveying a flooded Eastville pitch in January, 1951. This was just days before a third round FA Cup match with Aldershot, a game that the home side would win comfortably 5-1.
The early 1960s saw Rovers relegated to the old Third Division with the quartered shirts being ditched in favour of blue and white stripes and then an all blue strip. New names on the pitch included Bernard Hall, Ian Hamilton, Doug Hillard, Harold Jarman and the Jones Boys – Keith, Gwyn and Bobby.
In the 1970s Rovers enjoyed two seasons in the Football League Cup, reaching the fifth round in 1970/1 and again the following year
The appointment of Don Megson as manager in July 1972 heralded a new era for the club with promotion back to the old Second Division in 1974.
The 1980s also saw Rovers leave Eastville for a ten-year exile at Bath City's Twerton Park ground.
Under England international Gerry Francis – and with a little help from Ian Holloway – the club's fortunes changed yet again and in 1990 Francis led the side to the Third Division title and to their first ever appearance at Wembley.
A great Christmas present for any Rovers fan, old or young.
The Bristol Rovers Archive 1951-1991 by Keith Brookman and Alan Marshall is published by Tangent Books and costs £9.99.