By Keith Brookman
Last week we looked forward to renewing rivalries with the four clubs coming up to join us from League Two; Swindon Town, Crewe Alexandra, Plymouth Argyle and Northampton Town.
In this article we take a look at the three sides coming down from the Championship and whilst we are certain to be facing Hull City and Charlton Athletic, the third side could be Wigan Athletic or it could be Barnsley.
By virtue of a 12 point deduction Wigan found themselves in the bottom three come the season’s end, though their appeal against that penalty will be heard on 31st July and if that appeal is successful then Barnsley will be the team to accompany Hull and Charlton into League One.
Hull City and Rovers are certainly no strangers to one another, having met 42 times in the league, with both sides winning on 16 occasions whilst there have been 10 draws.
The first league meetings were in 1953/54, Rovers winning 4-2 at Eastville in October 1953 and Hull winning the return encounter 4-1 in April 1954.
The only other meetings between the sides have come in the FA Cup, with Rovers winning twice, Hull once and there has also been one draw. Two of those FA Cup ties came as far back as 1910/11 when, following a goalless draw at Eastville, Hull were 1-0 winners in the replay.
Rovers were 3-0 winners in the next meeting in the competition, in 1950/51 at Eastville, and they came out on top again in 1956/57 when they were 4-3 winners at Boothferry Park.
The club moved from their former Boothferry Park home to what is now known as the KCOM Stadium in 2002 and Rovers have played there on two occasions, the last time being the final game of the 2003/04 season. Hull were celebrating promotion on a day they were 3-0 winners against a Rovers side led by Ian Atkins for the first time.
Players to have turned out for both clubs include Danny Allsopp, Bruce Bannister, John Anderson, Jamie Forrester and Ryan Williams while former Rovers loan striker Tom Eaves scored five goals in 40 league games in the season just ended. Eaves also scored an FA Cup hat trick against Rotherham United in January of this year.
Charlton Athletic made a bright start to their season, but troubles behind the scenes appear to have contributed to their downfall and a 4-0 defeat against Champions Leeds United on the final day of the season sealed their fate.
There have been 60 league meetings between the clubs, with Rovers having won on 19 occasions, Charlton have won 22 and there have been 19 draws.
Rovers have not won an away game against Charlton since 29th March 1958 and, after 62 years, it’s a record that needs to disappear!
The first ever league meetings came about in 1921/22 in Division Three (South), Rovers winning 4-2 on 10th September 1921 and Charlton winning the return game 2-0 just seven days later.
Our last game at the Valley was on 24th November 2018 when Charlton ran out 3-1 winners while the return fixture at the Mem the following March ended goalless.
Remarkably, the clubs played out a 5-5 draw at Eastville on 18th November 1978, a day when Paul Randall scored a hat trick.
Rovers hold the upper hand in both the FA Cup and League Cup. They have won two of the three FA Cup meetings, Charlton one; the last time the clubs met in this competition was on 30th January 1979 when Rovers were 1-0 winners.
The only League Cup meeting between the sides saw Rovers win 2-1 at Eastville on 3rd October 1971.
I have to admit that the Valley is one of my favourite grounds but getting there can be a bit of a pain and parking is a nightmare…but at least it’s not as far as Hull!
Players to have turned out for both Rovers and Charlton are Joe Anyinsah, Dennis Bailey, Tareiq Holmes-Dennis, Dick Plumb and Scott Sinclair.
Former Rovers skipper Tom Lockyer scored once in 43 league appearances for Charlton in the season just ended, but it remains to be seen if he will still be with them when the new season comes around.
Rovers and Wigan Athletic are fairly evenly matched, as both have recorded ten wins in their 26 league meetings, with six games having been drawn.
It’s the only competition in which the clubs have played each other as they have not been paired in either the FA Cup or League Cup.
Rovers completed a notable double over Wigan in the first season the teams met (1982/83) winning 4-0 at Eastville in October 1983 and 5-0 at Springfield Park in February 1983.
Springfield Park was the venue when Wigan ran out 3-0 winners against Rovers who finished the match with only seven men after red cards were issued to Andy Tillson, Jason Perry, Dave Pritchard and Josh Low while Wigan were only a man down at the final whistle as Graeme Jones was also sent off.
Our last league fixture against Wigan was on 22nd April 2018 when the clubs shared the points in a 1-1 draw at the Memorial Stadium.
Players to have turned out for both clubs are Nathan Ellington, Jason Roberts, Les Bradd, Larry Lloyd and Lee Nicholls.
There you have it, the three relegated sides I think we will be playing. All are familiar foes, as are their stadia though I’m guessing that some of our younger supporters may not have visited Hull’s KCOM Stadium.
As for Barnsley, I’m assuming they will stay up. That would be a relief; I didn’t enjoy my one and only visit to Oakwell and it seemed to take forever to get there, so I’m happy to settle for Hull, Charlton and Wigan!