Bristol Rovers F.C.

Bristol Rovers F.C.

Football club infobox
clubname = Bristol Rovers
current = Bristol Rovers F.C. season 2008-09

fullname = Bristol Rovers Football Club
nickname = The Pirates, The Gas
shortname= BRFC
founded = 1883 (as Black Arabs)
dissolved =
ground = Memorial Stadium
capacity = 11,916
chairman = Nick Higgs
mgrtitle = First-Team Coach
manager = flagicon|Wales Paul Trollope
league = League One
season = 2007-08
position = League One, 16th

Bristol Rovers Football Club is an English professional football team, based in Bristol. They currently play in Coca-Cola League One, after defeating Shrewsbury Town 3-1 in the League Two Play-Off Final at Wembley Stadium on 26 May 2007. [cite web |url= |title=Bristol Rovers |accessdate=2007-05-11 |format=HTML |work=Football Club History Database]

The club was founded in 1883 as Black Arabs F.C., and changed its name to Eastville Rovers in 1884. The name changed again briefly in 1897 to Bristol Eastville Rovers, before finally changing to Bristol Rovers in 1898.cite book |last=Byrne |first=Stephen |coauthors=Jay, Mike |title=Bristol Rovers Football Club - The Definitive History 1883-2003 |year=2003 |publisher=Tempus |location=Stroud |isbn=0-7524-2717-2]

The club's official nickname is "The Pirates", reflecting the maritime history of Bristol. The local nickname of the club is "The Gas", from the gasworks next to Eastville Stadium, their former home. Their main rivals are Bristol City, and according to a survey conducted in December 2003, Cardiff City and Swindon Town are considered the second and third biggest rivals. [ [ Club rivalries uncovered] (PDF) Football Fans Census. Retrieved 16 February 2007]

Rovers currently play at the Memorial Stadium, where they have played since August 1996. The ground was due to be demolished in 2008 and rebuilt as an 18,500 capacity all-seater stadium [cite web |url=,,10328,00.html |title=A new Memorial Stadium |accessdate=2007-05-11 |format=HTML | ] , although this has now been postponed until the summer of 2009. During the rebuilding process, the team will probably play their home games away from the city, at Whaddon Road in Cheltenham [cite web |url=,,10328~1032901,00.html|title=Whaddon Road to become home|accessdate=2007-06-05|format=HTML|] [cite web |url= |title=Football and rugby stay in city |work=BBC News |accessdate=2007-10-17 |format=HTML] , although after the delay to the new stadium this move is subject to a new agreement being struck.

On 16 February 2008, Bristol Rovers reached the quarter finals of the FA Cup for the first time since 1958 with a goal by Rickie Lambert in a 1-0 win over Southampton. This completed something of a clean sweep for the club in the rounds of the competition that year, with the club gaining victories over teams from all top five divisions in English Football; the Premiership, the Championship, Football League 1, Football League 2 and the Football Conference.


The club was formed following a meeting at the Eastville Restaurant in Bristol in September 1883. They initially went by the name Black Arabs F.C., the name coming from 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.

The club played only friendly games until the 1887-88 season, when they took part in the Gloucestershire Cup for the first time. They first joined a league in 1892, when they became a founder member of the Bristol and District League, which three years later was renamed the Western League. In 1897 Eastville Rovers joined the Birmingham and District League, and for two seasons played in both this league and the Western League. [,,10328,00.html Into the league] Retrieved 11 February 2007] At the beginning of the 1897-98 season, the team turned professional and changed their name to Bristol Eastville Rovers, and on 17 February 1899 the name was officially changed to Bristol Rovers.

In 1899 Bristol Rovers joined the newly-formed Southern League, where they remained until 1920. For the 1920-21 season, the Southern League teams were moved into the new Football League Third Division, which became the Football League Third Division South the following season. They remained in this division for over 30 years, before winning the league, and promotion in the 1952-53 season.

Promotion has been won by the team on three other occasions, in 1973-74 from the Third Division to the Second Division, again in 1989-90 as Division Three champions and also in 2006-07 to the Football League One. The team have been relegated four times in their history - in 1961-62, 1980-81, 1992-93 and most recently at the end of the 2000-01 season, when the team were relegated to the fourth level of league football for the first time in their history.

The only major cup competition won by Bristol Rovers is the 1972 Watney Cup, when Sheffield United were beaten in the final. The club also won the Division Three (South) Cup in 1934-35, as well as winning or sharing the Gloucestershire Cup on 32 occasions. The team have never played in European competition, the closest they 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.cite web | url=,,10328,00.html | title=Bristol Rovers Frequently Asked Questions | archiveurl=,,10328,00.html | archivedate=2007-08-22] They have twice reached the final of the Football League Trophy, in 1989-90 and 2006-07, but finished runners-up on both occasions.

Colours and badge

Bristol Rovers are known for their distinctive blue and white quartered shirts, which they have worn for most of their history. The current kit consists of a light blue and white quartered shirt, white shorts and light blue socks. The away kit is green with a black trim, and the third-choice strip is rumoured to be a white shirt with black trim. The goalkeepers kit for the 2008-09 season is black and white, with his second kit being yellow and black.

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.


Management team

Notable managers

Youth Academy

The Bristol Rovers centre of excellence is associated with the Bristol Academy of Sport, located at Filton College, which offers a college education along with football coaching. [ [ Bristol Rovers U18s] Filton College. Retrieved 30 April 2007] Current squad members Sean Rigg, Tom Parrinello, Lewis Powell, James Palmer, Darren Mullings, Chris Lines and Mike Green all graduated from the Academy to earn a professional contract. Perhaps the most successful former member of the academy is Scott Sinclair, who was signed by Chelsea in 2005 for an initial fee of £200,000, with further payments to the club possible, depending on performance. [ [,,10794~738992,00.html Chelsea compensation figures confirmed] The Football League. Retrieved 30 April 2007]

Women's Team

The club boast a successful women's team, formed in 1998 as Bristol Rovers W.F.C. and now known as Bristol Academy W.F.C.. They play in the top flight of women's football in England, the FA Women's Premier League National Division, and have won ten trophies since their formation, as well as reaching the semi-finals of the FA Women's Cup on five occasions. [ [,,10328~713626,00.html Women's team: History & honours] Retrieved 30 April 2007]


*sport honours|Southern Football League Division One|1|1904-05
*sport honours|Football League Third Division South|1|1952-53
*sport honours|Football League Third Division|1|1989-90
*sport honours|Football League Two play-offs|1|2006-07
*sport honours|Football League Third Division South Cup|1|1934-35
*sport honours|Watney Cup|1|1972
*sport honours|Football League Trophy, Runners-up |2|1989-90, 2006-07
*sport honours|Gloucestershire Cup|32|1888-89, 1902-03, 1904-05, 1913-14, 1924-25, 1927-28, 1934-35, 1935-36, 1937-38, 1947-48, 1948-49, 1950-51, 1953-54, 1954-55, 1955-56, 1958-59, 1962-63, 1963-64, 1964-65, 1965-66, 1967-68, 1973-74, 1974-75, 1981-82, 1982-83, 1983-84, 1984-85, 1988-89, 1989-90, 1992-93, 1993-94, 1994-95



*Biggest League Win: [,,10328,00.html Dates & Honours] Retrieved 9 February 2007]
**7-0 (v Brighton & Hove Albion, Division Three (South), 29 November 1952)
**7-0 (v Swansea City, Division Two, 2 October 1954)
**7-0 (v Shrewsbury Town, Division Three, 21 March 1964)
*Biggest Cup Win:
**Competition proper: 6-0 (v Merthyr Tydfil, FA Cup Round 1, 14 November 1987)
**Qualifying: 15-1 (v Weymouth, FA Cup Third Qualifying Round, 17 November 1900)
*Biggest League Defeat: 0 - 12 (v Luton Town, Division Three South, 13 April 1936) [ [ Bristol Rovers] Retrieved 9 February 2007]


*Most League Appearances: 546 - Stuart Taylor, 1966 - 1980Rollin, Glenda & Rollin, Jack (2006):Sky Sports Football Yearbook 2006-2007. ISBN 0-7553-1526-X]
*Most Goals for club: 242 - Geoff Bradford, 1949 - 1964
*Most Goals in a season: 33 - Geoff Bradford, 1952-53
*Highest Transfer Fee Paid: £375,000 - Andy Tillson from Queens Park Rangers, November 1992
*Highest Transfer Fee Received: £2,100,000 - Barry Hayles to Fulham, November 1998


*Record Home Attendance: 38,472 (v Preston North End, FA Cup, 30 January 1960


External links

* [ Official site]
* [ Official Fan's Forum]
* [ Fans photos on Flickr]
* [ Supporters Club Website]
* [ "Black Arab" on-line fanzine]
* [ Vital Gas, A site run by the fans]
* [ Alternative Forum for Rovers fans]

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