News

A Tribute to Lindsay Parsons

20th March 1946 – 12th April 2019

Today we were saddened to learn of the death, at the age of 73, of former Rovers full back Lindsay Parsons, following a long illness.

Born in Bristol, on 20th March 1946, Lindsay signed his first professional contract with Rovers in March 1964, on his 18th birthday.  By the time he left the club, in July 1977, he had appeared in 360 league games, a total that included one run of 167 consecutive appearances.

Lindsay Parsons - Photo Credit Alan Marshall
Lindsay Parsons  [Photo Credit – Alan Marshall]

A member of the side that won the Watney Cup in 1972 and promotion to the Second Division in 1974, the right footed left back never though managed to get his name on the scoresheet for Rovers.

He more than made up for his lack of goals with his consistent defensive displays in a blue and white quartered shirt, though, and his no nonsense defending and goal line clearances were often the talk of the Eastville terraces.

He was awarded a testimonial season in 1974/75 and in the first home programme of that season we were told that; ‘We shall be concentrating all our efforts in helping Lindsay in his testimonial year. There will be various events, including the ever popular darts matches and the not too serious football fixtures.’

Scanned from programme photo taken by Alan Marshall on the occasion of his first testimonial event, a darts match at Snuff Mills
Scanned from programme photo taken by Alan Marshall on the occasion of Lindsay’s first testimonial event, a darts match at Snuff Mills

In the 1976/77 season, his last at Eastville, Lindsay skippered the side and appeared in 26 league games.

He moved on to Torquay United after leaving Rovers in the summer of 1977 and played 56 league games for the Plainmoor outfit before embarking on a non league career with Cheltenham Town, Taunton Town, Gloucester City, Forest Green Rovers, Yate Town, Hanham Athletic and Frome Town.

Lindsay was also a schoolboy coach at Rovers between 1983 and 1988 and in November 1990 he returned to Whaddon Road to take on coaching duties for Cheltenham Town. He became caretaker manager in 1992 and later that same year took on the role in a permanent capacity, with former teammate Peter Aitken as his assistant.

In 1995 he joined another former team mate, Tony Pulis, who was then manager of Gillingham and the two of them went on to work together at Bristol City, Portsmouth, Stoke City, Plymouth Argyle and Stoke City again.

He often returned to watch Rovers, both in a professional capacity when he was a coach/assistant manager at other clubs, and sometimes simply as a former player.

A popular figure, remembered with fondness by older supporters and his former Rovers team mates, Lindsay will be greatly missed, and we offer our condolences to his family and friends at this sad time.

by Keith Brookman

The BRFPA will pass on any funeral news when available / appropriate.

Rest In Peace Lindsay

Lindsay Parsons - 20Dec66 - Credit Unknown
Press photo from 1966 – Credit Unknown

 

 

Managers United

By Keith Brookman

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United have been a big news story this season.

Solskjaer, the incumbent of the managerial seat at Old Trafford, has hardly put a foot wrong since taking charge and has led the club to the quarter finals of the Champions League.

So, it’s hard to believe that in July it will be twenty years since Manchester United, and Solskjaer, played at the Memorial Ground.

Team group taken before the game [Photo credit - Neil Brookman]
Group photo taken before the game  [Photo credit – Neil Brookman]

The occasion was, of course, a testimonial match for Lee Martin.  The former United defender, who scored the winning goal in the 1989 FA Cup final replay against Crystal Palace (against former Rovers goalkeeper Nigel Martyn), had been forced to retire from the game through injury.

His career had seen him leave Old Trafford in 1994 having made only 73 league appearances for the club. He signed for Glasgow Celtic that year, but a broken leg sustained while in Scotland restricted his appearances to 19 and in the summer of 1996, he had been persuaded, by Ian Holloway, to join Rovers.

However, persistent back problems during his time in BS7 eventually persuaded him to call it a day, though not before a final attempt to save his career with a loan spell at Huddersfield Town, where he played four games.

It was all in vain, though, and he was forced to admit defeat and his former boss, Alex Ferguson, had no hesitation in agreeing to bring a United side down to Bristol to play against The Gas even though United were scheduled to face Arsenal in the Charity Shield at Wembley just two days later.

United, who had completed a remarkable treble of winning the Premiership, FA Cup and European Cup the previous season, included regular first teamers David Beckham, Paul Scholes, David May and Solskjaer in their lineup.

Taken from the South Stand End, you can see there was still no roof on what is now the Thatcher’s End [Photo credit - Neil Brookman]
Taken from the South Stand End, you can see there was still no roof on what is now the Thatcher’s Terrace [Photo credit – Neil Brookman]
A crowd of 10,534 turned up on a balmy July evening and they saw United take an early lead through Solskjaer who tapped the ball in from close range after goalkeeper Lee Jones failed to hold a Ryan Ford cross.

Rovers scored twice in four minutes just after half time, though, Jamie Cureton whipped in a curling right foot shot off the underside of the crossbar for the equaliser before putting Rovers ahead from the penalty spot after Jason Roberts had been fouled by John O’Shea.

Mind you, his spot kick was beaten out by goalkeeper Nick Culkin, who later spent a season long loan with The Gas, but ‘Curo’ picked up the rebound and slotted home.

Lee Jones saved a penalty at the other end, from Alex Norman after Mike Trought had fouled David Healy, but United did equalise two minutes from time with a 25 yard effort from Healy.

It’s a Solskjaer sandwich - the United striker is flanked by Steve Foster and David Hillier [Photo credit - Neil Brookman]
It’s a Solskjaer sandwich – the United striker is flanked by Steve Foster and David Hillier  [Photo credit – Neil Brookman]
The Rovers side that night included a number of members of the current Former Players Association, the full lineup being as follows; Jones, Pethick, Thomson (Smith, 67), Tillson (Martin, 84), Foster (Trought, 67), Challis, Hillier (Trees, 65), Mauge, Pritchard (Leoni, 65), Roberts (Bennett, 63), Cureton (Ellington, 63).

United’s lineup was; Culkin, Clegg, May, O’Shea (Hilton,77), Curtis, Ford (Healy, 64), Beckham (Stewart, 64), Scholes (Welling, 64), Chadwick, Solskjaer (Norman, 64), Greening.

All of this brings me to the title of the article inspired, naturally, by the photos shown below; Michael Meaker with Paul Scholes and Solskjaer with Ray Johnston.

All four, of course, are or have recently been managers, something probably only Solskjaer might have been thinking about all those years ago. While he’s in charge at Old Trafford, his erstwhile colleague Paul Scholes recently took his first steps in management, with the club next to where he grew up, Oldham Athletic, but resigned after just 31 days.

As for Meaker, well he was assistant manager at Truro City until last week, and Johnston, whose only Rovers appearance came in the final game of the 1998/99 season against Macclesfield Town (‘Curo’, who else, scored a hat trick that 4-3 win at Moss Rose) is now in charge at Hallen.

I’m not too sure if any of the other United players involved that night have gone on to manage/coach at any level, but of the Rovers players on duty, Lee Jones is goalkeeping coach at Morecambe, Andy Tillson has had extensive coaching duties with Exeter City and Team Bath, while Trevor Challis is with the Bristol City Academy and David Hillier did have a spell as manager of Oldland Abbotonians.

Stephane Leoni is manager of French side US Sarre-Union and Jamie Cureton, while still playing, and scoring for Bishop’s Stortford, is also their joint Interim Manager.

BRFPA Former Players Dinner 2019

Oh, no, you just missed the 3rd Annual Former Players Dinner which danced its way into town on 28th March, and then lumbered out in a slightly more merry haze.

The good news is that there is a link to the ‘match report’ HERE, which includes over 30 photos and a FREE 20 page match night programme that is available to view or download > BRFPA Annual Dinner 2019 – Match Night Programme

This year’s Special Guest was none other than former Rovers, Liverpool and England striker Sir Rickie Lambert  –   back of the net!

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Rickie, Craig Hinton, Byron Anthony & Steve Elliott  –  To register an interest for our 2020 Dinner please email –  mo.bell@brfpa.org.uk   [Photo by Neil Brookman]

 The sold out event featured, in the end, 27 former players and first team members of staff, boasting 5,518 appearances and 479 gas goals between them!

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Left to Right –  Seated – Paul Randall, John ‘Josser’ Watling, Howard Radford, Harold Jarman.

Standing – Andy Reece, Bobby Gould. Tom Stanton, Rickie Lambert (behind), Peter Aitken, Steve Elliott, Dave Gilroy, Lee Mansell, Byron Anthony, Craig Hinton, Dave Wilcox (far behind), Justin Skinner, Tom Ramasut, Simon Bryant (behind), Bob Bloomer, Geoff Twentyman, Lewis Hogg (behind), Gavin Kelly, Vaughan Jones, Billy Clark (far behind, almost obscured), Trevor Challis, Christian McClean and Phil Purnell.