The Dutch Connection – Pt.2

In part 2 of the ‘Dutch Connection’ Keith Brookman, brings you up to date with our brace of recent encounters with a Dutch team, and also looks at the ephemera of all things Dutch Gas related.

 The last time that Rovers faced Dutch opposition in Bristol was at The Mem on 2nd August 2008 when ADO Den Haag were in town for a pre-season friendly and, in front of a crowd of 1,816, won 3-2 thanks to goals from Richard Knopper, Hirsut Meric and Hans van den Haar while Ben Hunt and Rickie Lambert replied for Rovers.

Rovers meet Den Haag - Photo Credit Neil Brookman
Rovers meet Den Haag  [Photo Credit – Neil Brookman]
Rovers were missing a number of players, including new signings Darryl Duffy and Jeff Hughes and picked up two more injuries in this game, as Danny Coles and Ryan Green were forced off.

Knopper opened the scoring in the first half and while Rovers had chances to equalise, they were thwarted by goalkeeper Robert Zwinkels who made saves from Craig Hinton, Craig Disley and Lambert.

The visitors added a second goal just minutes after half time when Meric headed beyond the reach of goalkeeper Steve Phillips.

However Lambert pull a goal back for The Gas when he sprung the offside trap and drove a low shot past Zwinkels.

Phillips then gave away a penalty and was beaten by Van Den Haar from the spot before Hunt scored Rovers’ second goal of the afternoon.

Rovers: Phillips, Green (Hunt), Lines, Campbell, Lambert, Pipe (Parrinello), Coles (Hinton), Rigg, Disley, Lescott.

Ben Hunt in action against Den Haag Photo Credit Neil Brookman
Ben Hunt in action against Den Haag  [Photo Credit – Neil Brookman]
Last year, of course, Rovers returned to Holland and played a match against FC Eindhoven at DOSL Sports Park in Leende on the outskirts of the city.

More than 300 Gasheads made the trip to see their side run out comfortable 2-0 winners thanks to goals from Ollie Clarke and Kyle Bennett.

Rovers’ starting XI for the match were; Slocombe, Clarke (J), Lockyer, Broadbent, Kelly, Rodman, Sercombe, Upson, Clark (O), Bennett, Mensah.

On the bench were; Smith, Kilgour, Craig, Leadbitter, Russe, Matthews, Nicholls.


In addition to the three Dutch born players who have played for Rovers, and who are mentioned at the beginning of this article, several Rovers players have played football in the Netherlands.

The Northern Irish international striker James Quinn spent a month on loan with Rovers over Easter 2002 and scored once in six League matches. He joined the Dutch Eredivisie side Willem II at the end of that season and, over nearly three years, scored 11 times in 30 (+17) matches.

Paul Bannon (1956-2016) scored eight League goals for Rovers in 27 (+2) League matches between February 1984 and July 1985, when he left Rovers deal to join the Dutch club NAC Breda.

Jamie Forrester, who was with Utrecht in 1999/2000, scored nine goals for Rovers in 23 (+9) League games between 2004 and 2006.

Harry Rose (1900-41), who played centre half in 15 League games for Rovers in the early 1920s, was manager of Ajax Amsterdam for the 1925/26 season.

Harry Topping (1913-2001) played for Rovers in the unofficial FA Cup campaign of 1945/46 and was coach at Feyenoord in 1950/51, as well as PSV Eindhoven the following season.

Les Talbot (1901-83), who represented Rovers during wartime football in the Second World War, died in Alkmaar, having coached five Dutch professional sides. He led both Heemstede in 1953 and DWS in 1964 to the Dutch title and was manager at our 2018 opponents FC Eindhoven from 1969 to 1973.


In addition, there have been a number of Dutch players who have played against The Gas.

Only one Dutch international has opposed Rovers in League football; this was the unmistakable figure of Edgar Davids.

At the age of 39, after a long career encompassing many years with Ajax, for whom he played in the 1996 Champions League Final, as well as 74 caps and six goals for Holland, Davids was player/manager of the Barnet side which lost 2-1 to Rovers at The Mem in February 2013.

Billy Hunter, a Scotsman who played in seven Southern League fixtures for Millwall against Rovers between 1904 and 1909, was later manager of the Dutch national side.

Jack Reynolds, in Watford’s side against Rovers in March 1908, was manager of Ajax in three spells between 1915 and 1947, leading them to eight Dutch championships. He also coached the national side, as did Edgar Chadwick (Southampton, 1900-02), who led Holland to the bronze medal in the 1912 Olympics before coaching Sparta to the Dutch League championship in 1915.

Jack Hall, who played in the Southern League for Brighton against Rovers in April 1909, coached at Feyenoord, PSV Eindhoven and Willem II between 1926 and 1936.

Rickie Lambert in action against Den Haag - Photo Credit NeilBrookman
Rickie Lambert in action against Den Haag in 2008 [Photo Credit – Neil Brookman]
Twenty seven Dutch-born opponents have opposed Rovers in League football, amongst them Pim Balkestein (Brentford and AFC Wimbledon), the son of a Netherlands international.

Most recently, Anfernee Dijksteel, born in October 1996, was in the Charlton Athletic side which opposed Rovers in April 2018, whilst Dutch born Queensy Menig and Gevaro Nepomuceno (both Oldham Athletic) and Rodney Kongolo (Doncaster Rovers) also played against The Gas.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, with 23 Dutch caps to his name, managed Northampton Town against Rovers last season.


Many of Rovers’ opponents down the years, most frequently in recent years, have enjoyed football in Holland as well as England.

Amongst the earlier names is Raymond Lawrance (1911-87), who played against Rovers in both Newport County’s games of the 1937/38 season, before spending the final inter war season at Dutch club Haarlem.

Having played in the Swindon Town side that lost 1-0 at Eastville in a Southern League fixture in March 1908, Frank Warburton was manager in 1910 at Amsterdamsche FC, from 1910 to 1913 at Hercules Utrecht and between 1913 and 1935 at Den Haag. He was also national manager of Holland from 1919 to 1923, a tenure that included winning a bronze medal for football at the 1920 Olympic Games.

Fred Pagnam, who scored twice in eight games for Fulham against Rovers between 1922 and 1926, later coached in Holland. Len Hill, in goal for QPR in nine League games against Rovers between 1921 and 1925, coached Sports Club Utrecht in 1933.

Jimmy Yates scored twice for Southampton when they met Rovers in the FA Cup in December 1897; he was the first foreign coach in the Netherlands when he joined HVV in July 1904.

Another opponent was Wilson Lennox (1901-76), who scored twice in the three games he played against Rovers whilst with Charlton. In May 1934 he accepted a post as coach at the Dutch club Enschede to help the growth of football in Holland.

The future England manager Bobby Robson played five times for Fulham against Rovers between 1953 and 1956, scoring twice; he was manager at PSV Eindhoven, 1990-93 and 1998/99. Steve McClaren was in the Bristol City side beaten by Rovers on New Year’s Day 1987 and was manager of Twente in two spells.


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