At the Southend United game we were joined by former player Kevin Westaway, pictured here with Zoe Young Kirkby, of the Bristol Rovers Disabled Supporters Association, who made sure Kevin and his carer were comfortable at the bitterly cold match.
Kevin joined Rovers as an apprentice in July 1979 and became a professional on his 18th birthday in November 1980. Kevin was a tough-tackling full-back in the days when full-backs were allowed to be normal sized (5’ 9”), and he was also a member of the England Youth ‘shadow’ squad.
After 23 matches at full-back for Rovers reserves during the 1980-81 season Kevin made his debut for the first team in April 1981at the penultimate game of the season, a 3-1 defeat at Wrexham.
His second, and final, appearance was at Turf Moor in February 1982, where Rovers were not uncommonly beaten 4-0 – we’ve still only ever won one League game at Burnley and that day certainly wasn’t it!
After leaving Rovers at the end of that season Kevin played locally for several local clubs, including Clevedon Town, St. Joseph’s and Cadbury Heath.
Sadly Kevin’s football career was ended in the late 1980’s by serious head injuries sustained in a road accident in Germany. He was helped with rehabilitation by the charity ‘Headway’ at Frenchay Hospital and was visited by Rovers physio Roy Dolling who monitored his progress.
If any reader would like to volunteer as a befriender to spend time with Kevin in North East Somerset chatting about football please contact us (BRFPA) and we’ll put you in contact with his carers. It can be any day or time; as much time as you are willing to give. Full induction training is provided and any reasonable expenses associated with volunteering will be reimbursed. A formal application, including a DBS check and two references will be needed.
Kevin was also one of a long line of Pirates that came out of the club now known as Oldland Abbotonians, which was formed in 1998 by the merger of Oldland and Abbotonians.
Abbotonians rose to heady heights under the leadership of Alan Bush in the 1980’s with the help of former Rovers player Jeff Meacham, and Rovers favourites Graham Day, Peter Aitken and Phil Bater. Youngsters who left Abbots to play for Rovers included Stuart Taylor, Phil Kite and Kevin.
Oldland was often described as a nursery for Bristol Rovers, with Vic Lambden, Peter Sampson, Bryan Bush and Mike Tippett all playing for the club before turning professional at Eastville. Former Rovers favourite Bobby Jones was one of many successful Oldland managers, a list which also included Vic Lambden and David Hillier.