Rovers on this day – June

JUNE 1ST

Former Rovers player Frank McCourt died on this day in 2006.

After joining the club in September 1945 he went on to score once in 32 league games for the club.

JUNE 2ND

Happy Birthday to former Rovers player Mark Walters, born on this day in 1964. Rovers were his last port of call as a player, following a career that had seen him play for Aston Villa, Rangers, Liverpool and Stoke City amongst others. He scored 13 goals in 82 league games for the Gas.

Mark Walters [Photo Credit – Alan Marshall]

Happy Birthday, also, to Nigel Pierre, born on this day in 1979. Nigel, a Trinidad & Tobago international, made just three league appearances for Rovers but, unable to gain a full work permit, returned to the Caribbean. (I have tracked down three different dates of birth for Nigel; 6th February, 2nd June and 2nd July so apologies if I have the wrong one!)

It’s also a Happy Birthday to current Rovers player Luca Hoole, who made his Rovers senior debut last September in the game against Plymouth Argyle in the EFL Trophy, and who was born on this day in 2002.

JUNE 3RD

Happy Birthday to former Rovers player/first team coach Paul Trollope, born on this day in 1972. As a payer Paul scored twice in 30 league games for the club. As first team coach he was in charge for 284 games and took the club to the JPT Final and League Two play off final in 2006/07. The Wembley play off final saw Rovers beat Shrewsbury Town 3-1 to gain promotion to League One.

Paul Trollope [Photo Credit – Neil Brookman]

Happy Birthday, also, to former Rovers midfielder Dave Martin, born on this day in 1985. Dave scored once in ten games for the club. He ended last season with Isthmian League South East Division side Whitehawk.

On this day in 1989 Rovers were beaten 1-0 by Port Vale in the second leg of their Division Three Play Off Final at Vale Park and Vale were promoted to Division Two, for the first time since 1957, having won 2-1 on aggregate.

Vale had finished ten points ahead of Rovers in the final league standings, so could justifiably argue that they deserved to be promoted, though that was scant consolation for Rovers who came so close to achieving promotion themselves.

Goalkeeper Nigel Martyn and his defenders performed heroically in the first half of this match and did well to go in at half time still on level terms.

Vale finally broke the deadlock in the 52nd minute when Simon Mills took a corner out on the right. The ball was flicked on by Darren Beckford and Robbie Earle was on hand to head home from close range.

The goal seemed to stir Rovers into action and both Devon White and Andy Reece went close to equalising, though they were unable to pierce a determined Vale defence and a season that began on 27th August 1988, ended on 3rd June 1989.

The next season was due to kick off on 19th August 19989 and what a campaign that turned out to be! Spurred on, no doubt, by that play off final defeat, Rovers gained promotion just under a year later when they were crowned Third Division champions after losing just five of their 46 league games.

JUNE 4TH

Happy Birthday to former Rovers players Steven Gillespie and Oli McBurnie, born on this day in 1985 and 1996 respectively.

Gillespie played for Bristol City, Cheltenham Town, and Colchester United before joining Rovers and he scored once in 13 league games whilst at the Memorial Stadium.

McBurnie joined Rovers on loan from Swansea City in 2016 and appeared in five league games for the Gas. He was an unused substitute on 7th May 2016 when we beat Dagenham & Redbridge to secure promotion to League One. Now starring in the Premier League for Sheffield United, of course.

JUNE 5TH

Happy Birthday to former Rovers goalkeeper Sam Slocombe, born on this day in 1988. Sam joined Notts County last summer and had played 32 games for them, in all competitions, until sustaining an injury in January of this year.

JUNE 8TH

Happy Birthday to former Rovers player Worrell Sterling, born on this day in 1965. Worrell, who joined the club in 1993, from Peterborough United, scored six goals in 119 league appearances for Rovers.

Former Rovers defender Frank Allcock, who appeared in 59 league games for the club, died on this day in 2005.

JUNE 10TH

Happy Birthday to former Rovers midfielder Nicky Platnauer, born on this day in 1961. Signed for Rovers in 1982 and scored seven goals in 24 league appearances for the club. Later played for Coventry City, Birmingham City, Reading, Cardiff City, Notts County, Port Vale, Leicester City, Scunthorpe United, Mansfield Town and Lincoln City.

Nicky Platnauer [Photo Credit – Alan Marshall]

JUNE 11TH

Happy Birthday to former Rovers player Graham Withey, born on this day in 1960. Graham scored 10 goals in 22 league appearances after joining the club in August 1982. One year later he joined Coventry City and also appeared in 22 league games for them, scoring four goals.

Happy Birthday, also, to another former Rovers player, Wayne Noble, who made 21 league appearances for the club. Wayne later worked in the club’s Community Department and also had a short spell as kitman.

Former Rovers forward Michael Tippett, who scored twice in eight games for the club, was born on this day in 1930.

JUNE 12TH

Happy Birthday to former Rovers players, and managers, Don Megson and Bobby Gould.

Don was born on this day in 1936 and joined Rovers in March 1970 after an outstanding career with Sheffield Wednesday for whom he made 386 league appearances. He went on to score once in 31 league games for Rovers before being appointed player/coach in May 1971 and then manager in July 1972.

Led the club to Watney Cup success after only three games at the helm and then to promotion to Division Two in 1973/74. Remained in charge until November 1977 when he headed to America and took charge of Portland Timbers.

Don Megson [Photo Credit – Alan Marshall]

Bobby Gould, who was born on this day in 1946, scored 12 goals in 36 league games for Rovers following a career that had seen him play for Coventry City, Arsenal, Wolverhampton Wanderers, West Bromwich Albion, Bristol City, West Ham United and a second stint with Wolves.

Appointed manager in October 1981, he left in May 1983 to take charge at Coventry, but returned to Rovers as boss for a second spell in May 1985 and was in charge for the final season at Eastville and the first at Twerton Park before leaving to manager Wimbledon in June 1987.

His managerial career was as nomadic as his playing career and after Wimbledon he enjoyed a second stint as manager at Coventry and also managed the Welsh National side, not to mention quite a few other clubs!

JUNE 13TH

Harry Smith, or Henry Stanley Smith to give him his full name, died on this day in 1993.

Having initially joined the club in 1939, just before the outbreak of war, he had to wait until 1946 for his league debut and appeared in three games in the inaugural post war season, becoming the oldest man to make his league debut for the club.

He was, for a while, player/coach before becoming head groundsman and he remained on the groundstaff until 1982.

The photo and text below has been scanned from an old Rovers programme.

JUNE 14TH

Happy Birthday to former Rovers midfielder James ‘Jimmy’ Hamilton, born on this day in 1955.

He scored once in 20 league games for Rovers after Joining the club in December 1976 from Plymouth Argyle in an exchange deal that saw Bruce Bannister move to Home Park.

He left in September 1977 for Carlisle United in another exchange deal, which saw Mike Barry move to Eastville.

Happy Birthday, also, to former Rovers defender Richard Dryden, born on this day in 1969.

He appeared in 13 league games for the club, after graduating through the ranks at Eastville and has since enjoyed a lengthy career with a number of clubs as a player, manager and coach.

Former Rovers forward Roger Frude, who scored eight goals in 41 league games for the club, died on this day in 1996.

After leaving Rovers he played for Mansfield Town and Brentford in the league and then non league football for Falmouth Town and Tavistock Town.

Only 49 when he died, his ashes were scattered at Eastville Stadium.

JUNE 16TH

Happy Birthday to former Rovers striker Martin Cameron, born on this day in 1978.

Martin joined Rovers from Alloa Athletic in the summer of 2000 and, after a successful trial period, signed a permanent deal with the club for a fee reported to be £100,000.

He scored six goals in 39 league appearances (23 of which were from the bench) and returned to Scotland in February 2002, joining Partick Thistle on loan before making a permanent move to St Mirren in July of that year.

JUNE 19TH

William James ‘Jimmy’ Morgan was born on this day in 1922.

The Bristol born forward joined Rovers in April 1946 and went on to score 24 goals in 104 league appearances. He remained at Rovers until May 1952.

Former Rovers goalkeeper Tim Carter died on this day in 2008; he was just 40 years old.

After joining the club in 1984 he went on to appear in 47 league games before a move to Sunderland in December 1987. There were subsequent moves to a number of clubs, many for short loan spells, before a return to Sunderland as goalkeeping coach in the summer of 2003.

Tim Carter [Photo Credit – Alan Marshall]

JUNE 20th

Happy Birthday to former Rovers defender Donny Gillies was born on this day in 1951.

He joined Bristol City from Scottish club Morton in 1973 and remained at Ashton Gate for seven years, making 200 league appearances. Joined Rovers in May 1980 and by the time of his departure, in October 1983, he had appeared in 59 league games.

Former Rovers player Randall Burnell Watkins died on this day in 2004.

In a 12 year career with the club, he scored seven goals in 115 league appearances and appeared in the Rovers’ first 52 post war league fixtures.

JUNE 21ST

Happy Birthday to former Rovers defender Bob Bloomer, born on this day in 1966.

Bob signed for Rovers in March 1990, after scoring 15 goals in 141 league games for Chesterfield. He went on to appear in 22 league games for Rovers before joining Cheltenham Town in August 1992.

Happy Birthday, also, to another former Rovers defender, Garry Kenneth.

A former Dundee United player who had been capped twice by Scotland, Kenneth joined Rovers in July 2012 and scored once in 18 league games before his departure in January 2014.

Current Rovers player Josh Barrett was born on this day in 1998, so Happy Birthday to him as well.

Josh became manager Ben Garner’s first permanent signing when he moved to BS7 in January of this year. He had previously played for Reading and enjoyed loan spells with Coventry City and Aldershot Town and had appeared in seven league games for Rovers when the season was curtailed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

JUNE 23RD

Former Rovers defender Ray Warren was born on this day in 1918.

Ray first joined Rovers in 1935 and turned professional in 1936 and appeared in 69 league games for the club prior to the outbreak of war.

Rejoined Rovers after the war and became a permanent fixture at the heart of defence. When he retired in 1956 he had scored 28 goals in 450 league games and had been an ever present in five post war seasons.

He was twice awarded benefit matches and was captain of the side that won the Third Division (South) title in 1952/53.

Ray Warren

JUNE 25TH

Former Rovers midfielder Gordon Fearnley died on this day in 2015.

Gordon joined the club in July 1970 from Sheffield Wednesday, though he had never appeared in a first team game for the Owls.

He went on to score 21 goals in 120 league games for Rovers in almost seven years before leaving to further his career in America. One of his Rovers goals came in the famous 8-2 win against Brighton & Hove Albion in the promotion season of 1973/74.
He graduated as an American attorney and practised law before becoming a physiotherapist in 1985 and a State Registered Nurse in 1991.

JUNE 26TH

Happy Birthday to former Rovers goalkeeper John Vaughan, born on this day in 1964.

Joined Rovers in September 1985, on loan from West Ham United, and made six league appearances during his short stay with the club.

Happy Birthday, also, to another former Rovers goalkeeper, Michel Kuipers, born on this day in 1974.

Michel made just one league appearance for Rovers but went on to enjoy a long career with Brighton & Hove Albion for whom he made 247 league appearances.

Happy Birthday to another former Rovers player, defender Mark McChrystal, born on this day in 1984.

Joined the club from Tranmere Rovers in January 2013 and went on to captain the side during our Conference season. Appeared in over 100 first team league games for the club.

Mark also played in goal on one occasion, taking the gloves in a Conference game at Wrexham following an injury to Steve Mildenhall.

JUNE 27TH

Happy Birthday to former Rovers defender Jerel Ifil, born on this day in 1982.

Signed for Rovers from Aberdeen on a free transfer, in February 2011, he made just three league appearances for the club. He had appeared in over 200 league games for Swindon Town before joining Aberdeen.

Former Rovers player John Cook was born on this day in 1929.

The seventeen year old forward made his senior debut, when an amateur, against Merthyr Town in the FA Cup in November 1946 and appeared in two league games for the club, against Brighton & Hove Albion on 7th December 1946 and Walsall on Christmas Day of that year.

JUNE 28TH

Former Rovers trainer, trainer/coach, and manager, Bobby Campbell was born on this day in 1922.

Played in Scotland, for Falkirk, and won the first of five international caps for Scotland in 1947 before Chelsea paid £9,800 to take him to Stamford Bridge that same year.

Bobby Campbell [Photo Credit – Alan Marshall]

During his time with Chelsea he appeared in 188 league games before leaving, in 1954 to become player/coach and, later, trainer at Reading.

Appointed manager of Dumbarton in 1961, he was recruited by Rovers boss Bert Tann in May 1962 as trainer. He then became trainer/coach and took over as manager from Don Megson in November 1977 and remained in post until December 1979.

JUNE 29TH

Happy Birthday to former Rovers striker Nathan Blissett, born on this day in 1990.

One week after scoring against Rovers for Kidderminster Harriers at the Mem, Nathan opened his Rovers account with a goal for the Gas in a 2-2 draw at Chester. A fee in the region of £50,000 is believed to have been paid to secure his signature.

Scored six goals in 23 Conference games for Rovers but made only two appearances on the club’s return to the EFL. Was with National League side Solihull Moors last season, having joined them in December 2018.

Happy Birthday, also, to Ollie Clarke the former  Rovers midfielder and skipper, born on this day in 1992.

Having graduated through the ranks at Rovers, Ollie made his league debut on the final day of the 2010/11 season.

By the end of last season he had become the club’s longest serving player and had appeared in 269 games for Rovers, in all competitions, scoring 21 goals along the way.

His debut came in Stuart Campbell’s last game in charge and he went on to play played under six more permanent managers. Two days after celebrating his birthday Ollie left the club to join Mansfield Town.

Ollie Clarke [Photo Credit – Neil Brookman]

JUNE 30TH

Happy Birthday to former Rovers defender Peter Aitken, born on this day in 1954.

Turned professional with Rovers in July 1972 and went on to score three goals in 234 league games for the club. He also skippered the side and was ever present in the 1974/75 campaign.

Joined Bristol City in November 1980 and was one of the ‘Ashton Gate Eight’ in 1982. Also played 18 league games for York City and one for Bournemouth.

Returned to Rovers as Community Manager in July 2000 and remained in post until his retirement in 2016. Was awarded a testimonial match, against West Bromwich Albion, in 2017.

Happy Birthday, also to another former Rovers defender and skipper, Andy Tillson, born on this day in 1966.

Scored 11 goals in 253 league games for Rovers after joining the club from Queens Park Rangers for £370,000 in November 1992 and made his debut two days into his Gas career…a 5-1 defeat at Wolves.

Led the team out at Wembley in the 1995 play off final against Huddersfield Town and remained at the club until he joined Walsall. Later played for Rushden & Diamonds and then coached at Team Bath and then Exeter City.

Happy Birthday to another former Rovers player, Ciaran Toner, born on this day in 1981.

Made six league appearances after joining the club from Tottenham Hotspur, on loan, in March 2002.

Played for a number of clubs after his return to Spurs, including Orient, Lincoln City, Cambridge United, Grimsby Town and Rochdale and is currently Academy coach at Rotherham United.