News

Zamora, Williams and Basford

By Keith Brookman

Earlier in the season when we were drawn in the League Cup against Brighton & Hove Albion, I had hoped to pen a programme article about the time we played them at the Withdean Stadium in the same competition back in 2004.

I was asked though to write about Bobby Zamora.  To be honest I’m not keen on being asked to write about someone/something specific and prefer to choose my own topic.  On this occasion though, and because time was short, I went ahead with a piece on Zamora.

Bobby Zamora playing for West Ham at the Memorial Stadium for West Ham in August 2007 - Photo Credit Neil Brookman
Bobby Zamora playing for West Ham at the Memorial Stadium for West Ham in August 2007   [Photo Credit Neil Brookman]
The article is reproduced below, but I wasn’t really happy about it because during my research for the article I had gone back to some youth team photos from the time young Bobby was at the club and it got me to thinking about what had happened to the others in those team photos, especially the two other lads from London who were with us at the time.

Luke Williams, in particular, has an interesting career history while Luke Basford, after a brief Rovers career, is back supporting his beloved Millwall.

First up, though, here’s the Zamora piece:

There aren’t too many players who have turned out for Rovers and Brighton but Bobby Zamora, the subject of this article, is one of them.

A graduate of the London side Senrab FC (its name taken from Senrab Street in Stepney), Zamora somehow found his way to Bristol and signed, as a scholar, for Rovers.

He lodged at the club’s training HQ in Brislington, The Beeches, and was awarded a pro contract after two years as a trainee.  The route through to the first team though was a tough one as Rovers were blessed with strikers at that time (think Cureton, Roberts and Ellington).

Appearing in three senior games before Christmas 1999, he was sent out on loan in early 2000, to Bath City and then to Brighton and scored goals for both clubs (eight for the Twerton Park outfit and six for the Seagulls).

On his return he played three more games for The Gas but instead of tying him down to a new deal, the club allowed him to leave.

In his Autobiography ‘Ollie’, manager Ian Holloway wrote; “The board were trying to set up a structure whereby we paid a fixed wage to any youth or reserve player under a certain age who was up for a new deal. Bob wouldn’t sign for the amount they’d decided on, which you could probably guess wasn’t a great deal and I couldn’t really blame him…”

Brighton, impressed with his loan spell, forked out a fee in the region of £100,000 to sign him permanently and the rest, as they say, is history.

Subsequent moves took him to Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United (the team he supported), Fulham and Queens Park Rangers before a move back to Brighton, where he finished his career.

Along the way he won six England U-21 caps and two full caps for his country, won two promotions with Brighton and scored winning goals in Championship Ffnals for West Ham and QPR, and played in a Europa League Final for Fulham.

Given the way his career panned out, it’s doubtful he has any regrets about not signing a new deal with Rovers back in 2000.  It could have turned out differently for Rovers though, as he was a natural successor to Cureton and Roberts who both left the club the same summer that he did. How good a strike partnership of Zamora and Ellington might have been!

We were on a downward spiral though and the striker who might have made the difference became the striker who got away.

Bobby had arrived in Bristol in the summer of 1997 when Rovers trained at the Beeches and he lodged there with the aforementioned Basford, who had arrived a year earlier, and Williams, who landed in Bristol at the same time.

Basford hailed from Lambeth.  He was, as already mentioned, a staunch Millwall supporter and still is.  He went on to join the pro ranks and appeared in 19 first team games for Rovers before his departure.

There were a few non league games for Basford following his release, but he moved back to London where he is now a taxi driver in the capital and is, I believe, a Millwall season ticket holder.

In the team photo below the only other one who went on to appear in the first team was Mark Smith who played in 33 league games for the Gas.   Smith also played non league football when he left Rovers but is no longer involved in the game.

Youth Team Photo 1 - Credit Alan Marshall
Back (L-R) – Danny White, James French, Tony Court, Rob Claridge
Front (L-R) – Luke Basford, Kevin Coles, Chris Edwards, Mark Smith, Andy Lloyd  [Photo Credit – Alan Marshall]
From memory James French and Rob Claridge of the others came closest to making a league appearance for Rovers and it would be interesting to know what happened to all of them after they moved on from BS7.

The second team photo (below) shows the 1997 intake of trainees/scholars with then Rovers manager Ian Holloway.  Apart from Zamora, Ray Johnston and Mike Trought were the only other two in this photo who went on to appear in the league for the Gas.

Goalkeeper Johnston, now manager of Hallen, appeared in just one game, against Macclesfield Town at Moss Rose in the final game of the 1998/99 season (Rovers won 4-3) though he was an unused substitute on a number of occasions.

Trought’s Rovers debut was against Manchester City at Maine Road when he marked former Rovers striker Gareth Taylor, for just over 25 minutes at least.  He had to come off injured at that point and was replaced by the aforementioned Mark Smith. Trought would go on to appear in another 32 league games for the Gas.

Youth Team Photo 2 - Credit Alan Marshall
Back (L-R) – Guy Jones, Mike Adams, Ray Johnston, Bobby Zamora, Luke Williams       Front (L-R) – Dean Pendry, Ali Hines, Ian Holloway, Dave Watts, Mike Trought     [Photo Credit – Alan Marshall]
Of the rest of those players, Dean Pendry was assistant at Mangotsfield United last season though he’s not listed on their website for the current campaign.

I’m not sure what happened to Messrs Jones, Adams, Hines and Watts, but Luke Williams has returned to Bristol.

He once classed Bobby Zamora as his best mate and, as already mentioned, they joined Rovers at the same time and were in digs together at the Beeches.

However, as Zamora’s career was progressing Williams was released by Rovers and whilst playing for non league side Ashford Town he sustained a horrific knee injury which was followed by three years of operations/rehab/physio.

He remained in touch with the game that had cost him his playing career and headed up an organisation that was a partnership between West Ham and the Metropolitan Police, using football to try to keep youngsters off the streets.

From there he took a position as an FA Skills Coach and combined that with coaching at Leyton Orient.

His old mate Bobby put his name forward to the then Brighton boss Gus Poyet for the position as the club’s Development Coach and later in 2013 he moved to Swindon Town as assistant to manager Mark Cooper.

There was a spell as manager at the County Ground following Cooper’s dismissal but in June 2017 he was on the move again, back to Bristol, as U-23 coach in Bristol City’s Academy.

Luke Williams was Swindon’s boss when they played at The Memorial Stadium in January 2017 - Photo Credit Neil Brookman
Luke Williams was Swindon Town’s boss when they played at The Memorial Stadium in January 2017   [Photo Credit Neil Brookman]
Regarded as an outstanding coach, this is what former Rovers striker Andy Williams, who worked with Luke at Swindon had to say about him;  “He was as bubbly as they come and made every day enjoyable. He made you want to learn. I genuinely think a lot of my success was down to Luke.”

After two years at Ashton Gate it remains to be seen how much longer City can hold on to their talented young coach.  Having already had a taste of management just up the M4, he will almost certainly be on the radar of other EFL clubs should any suitable Managerial/Head Coach vacancies arise.

On Remembrance Sunday

By Keith Brookman

Today, of course, is Remembrance Sunday 2019 and a day when Rovers welcome National League leaders Bromley to the Memorial Stadium for the first ever competitive match between the clubs.

They might never have met, but there are connections as I discovered when I delved into the history books.

Ijah Anderson, Michael Boateng, Bradley Goldberg, Ben Swallow, Adam Cunnington and Alex Wall have all, at one time or another, been on the books of both clubs.

Of those six players, four are still playing; Goldberg for Welling United, Swallow for Merthyr Town and Cunnington and Wall for Hemel Hempstead Town.

Rememberance Day 2 - Photo credit JMP UK
Remembrance Day  [Photo credit JMP UK]
There is, though, one more connection and whilst his playing days are in the past, Rovers Chairman Steve Hamer played for Bromley. In early 1976 he returned to this country and signed for today’s opponents, having played in South Africa.

His stay was a short one, though as at the beginning of the 1976/77 season the central defender became player/manager of Corinthian Casuals.

Rovers’ FA Cup record in recent seasons has been, for want of a better word, abysmal. The last time we reached the third round of the competition was back in 2013/14 when a tepid performance against Birmingham City at St Andrews resulted in a 3-0 defeat.

Home ties against lower league opponents haven’t gone well, either, and we have been beaten by non league sides in three of the last four seasons. Chesham United (2015), Barrow (2016) and Barnet (2018) have all won FA Cup ties at The Mem.

The side that beat us in 2017, Notts County, are now a non league team themselves, so it’s almost four out of four!

In the post Second World War period Rovers have played a total of 14 games on Remembrance Day, winning six, losing four and drawing four yet only one of those games was in the FA Cup.

That was in 2007 when we drew against Leyton Orient at Brisbane Road, where Rickie Lambert scored the goal that earned The Gas a replay.

Rememberance Day 3 - Photo credit JMP UK
Remembrance Day  [Photo credit JMP UK]
The best individual goalscoring feat in games played on this day in the post war period belongs to Harold Jarman, who scored a hat trick in a 4-2 win against Bradford City in 1970. Harold, in fact, is the club’s top scorer on this day, with four as he also scored in the 3-1 win against Notts County on this day in 1962.

Only two other players, Alfie Biggs and Ray Mabbutt have scored more than one goal on this day. Biggs scored twice against Swansea Town in a 3-2 win on this day in 1956, while Mabbutt’s double came in a 3-3 draw against Tranmere Rovers in 1967.

Remembrance Day is a time for reflection as we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Great War of 1914-1918 and in all conflicts since.

Rememberance Day 4 - Photo credit JMP UK
Remembrance Day  [Photo credit JMP UK]
Previous articles have mentioned those with Rovers connections who were killed in action in the war to end all wars; they were John Hardman, Walter Gerrish, Joe Hulme, Albert Rodgers and Harry Phillips, all of whom had played first team football for the club. Reserve team player William Brewer also lost his life.

Peter Roney, also a first team player, with 178 Southern League games for the club to his name served in the War. He was with the Machine Gun Corps and his time on the front line affected him deeply. Today he would almost certainly have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

His final game for Rovers was in a 3-2 home win against Plymouth Argyle on 17th October 1914 and although he survived the War, he never appeared for Rovers again and died in 1930 aged just 43.

He is pictured here in a team photo taken for the 1913/14 season, third from the left on the back row.

Rovers 1913

If you are fortunate to be attending this afternoon’s match, then take a short time out to remember that the reason you are able to is because so many made the ultimate sacrifice to enable you to do so.

And I can’t help but wonder…
Do all those who lie here, know why they died?
Did you really believe them when they told you the ‘The Cause?’
You really believe that this war would end wars?
The suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame,
The killing, the dying, it was all done in vain,
For it all happened again,
And again, and again, and again, and again!

Eric Bogle – ‘No Man’s Land’

Rememberance Day - Photo credit JMP UK
Remembrance Day  [Photo credit JMP UK]

Did You Know That?

Today we have another of our new, occasional, columns from Stephen Byrne, who believes that the eleven minutes between the own goal scored by Portsmouth’s Craig MacGillivray at the end of the last Gas home game, and the one scored by Rochdale’s Eoghan O’Connell last Saturday at the Spotland Stadium is the shortest time between two own goals scored in Rovers’ favour.

photo from yesterday’s game of Eoghan O’Connell who scored the own goal - no credit
Eoghan O’Connell. the own goal scorer at last Saturday’s Rochdale game

Two Carlisle players scored for Rovers 25 minutes apart in 2005/06 (Danny Livesey, 57 minutes, and Zigor Aranalde, 82 minutes) and two Warmley players (George Gay and Edwin Wilmot) conceded own goals when Rovers drew 3-3 there in Oct 1889.

We have a photo related to the Carlisle match but not one from Warmley!  Tut tut.

Stephen can’t find anything else close to this, but is quite prepared to be proved wrong.  Answers on a postcard please…

Danny Livesey who scored an own goal for Rovers when playing for Carlisle United on 1st October 2005 - No photo credit
Danny Livesey, who scored an own goal for Rovers when playing for Carlisle United on 1st October 2005