So, what’s June normally like for Rovers fans? A month of continuously scrolling through the Facebook groups and Twitter pages getting excited about which new ‘big name’ signing we are looking to bring in this time. In previous years June has only been as exciting as bringing in Liam Sercombe or the even more exciting arrival of Ed Upson! So this year we were all expecting more of the same from Graham Coughlan, especially considering that it’s his first summer transfer window as a manager. Then, on the morning of June 4th, some good news came out that we’d signed ex-Bolton right-back Mark Little on a free transfer. A player who most fans have viewed as a good, competent signing for our level of football this coming season. A ‘Little’ step in the right direction you might even say, especially considering the number of trophies that he has won at this level with his previous clubs.
Since about the age of about seven, Bristol Rovers has had a place in my heart. I can still remember the first game I ever saw at the Mem, a 1-0 win over Shrewsbury where Lewis Haldane scored the only goal. In my first season watching, we went up and spent the best £300,000 anyone’s ever spent, on a striker by the name of Rickie Lambert. Little seven year old me thought the good times would never end (of course, this being Rovers, I was wrong.) Yet I kept on going through the turnstiles most Saturdays, moving from the stand to the terrace, going to buy a pasty or a sausage roll at half time, and hoping that each game would mark the start of the inevitable rise to world domination (I believe this fits the definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results). And I carried on doing this, up until last September.
Late-era Darrell Clarke was partially characterised by the wildly inconsistent results of his forays into the transfer market. For every Billy Bodin there was a Tom Nicholls, for every Liam Sercombe there was a Stefan Payne. But a much less-heralded purchase has ended up providing a much more lasting legacy for the club. Step forward Tony Craig.
One big thing which has always been needed at Rovers is the use of loan players, both in and out the door. In the summer it was all about who we were able to bring in on loan, which turned out to be two notable additions to the squad in both Jack Bonham and Alex Jakubiak. Alongside this was Joe Martin, however the less said about him the better. Yet when it got to the January transfer window, it was all about who we could get out on loan to allow us to bring players in on permanent transfers. The players then sent out on loan were Kyle Bennett, Sam Matthews, Stefan Payne, Bernard Mensah and Rollin Menayase.
This year, we increased the frequency of our podcast, and hopefully the quality! We’re looking for feedback from our listeners on what they thought of the 2018⁄19 series! Please spare a few minutes to fill out this short form.
GasCast’s Max Alderson joined Walsall podcast “One Pod Beyond” to give his take on the appointment of former Rovers manager Darrell Clarke.
Off-the-pitch, GasCast surpassed the 50 episode mark this season, and we hope that you all enjoyed listening as much as we enjoyed making the podcast. On-the-pitch, however, it was a turbulant season. The whole point of the podcast is to share differing views, so we thought it would be a good idea to summarise our different takes on how the 2018⁄19 season went.
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