GasCast fans have a chance to win a pair of Carabao Cup tickets to Bristol Rovers v Cheltenham Town on Tuesday 13th August courtesy of Carabao Energy Drink!
Bristol Rovers start their “2019⁄20” League One season away at Blackpool with fans optimistic after avoiding relegation last term. The Gas go into the game having won the final pre-season game 1-0 away at recently relegated and hotly tipped to bounce back up to League One Plymouth Argyle last weekend.
As another season of football begins, we want to make this years GasCast better than ever. We have lots of exciting ideas, but we need your help to make this happen!
When Bristol Rovers signed two very tall goalkeepers over the summer my mind immediately went back to the summer of 1965, when Rovers fans felt the excitement of signing Ronnie Briggs a 6’ 3” Northern Irish International, from Swansea Town.
Earlier this summer we were sad to see James Clarke leaving the club, to reunite with Darrell Clarke at Walsall. We were lucky enough to have a quick chat with him following the move. Thank you to James for sparing the time to answer these questions and best of luck next season.
In August 1999, I watched the total solar eclipse, with an excited crowd of people, from higher ground overlooking St Austell Bay in Cornwall. The chill in the air, the feeling of anticipation and the quiet gasps from my fellow onlookers when it finally happened will always stay with me. I mention this by way of analogy- I will always remember where I was when that once in a lifetime event happened before my very eyes. Similarly, I will always remember exactly where I was when I saw Stefan Payne leave the ground in an attempt to win the ball in the air. I was standing in the Thatcher’s End, behind the goal, slightly to the left as you look at the pitch, and there was that same quiet gasp of awe from all those present as this unique spectacle transpired before us. I can’t imagine that a single person present at that 1-nil home defeat against Wycombe will ever forget it.
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.