By Keith Brookman
Where better to kick off our new series of players to remember than on the first day of the new season.
On this day in 2013 Rovers began what was to be one of their worst seasons ever with a 2-1 defeat against Exeter City at St James’ Park.
Making his debut that day was Shaquille Hunter, of whom great things were expected. Sadly, though, it was one of only three substitute appearances he made for the club.
On this day one year ago Sam Matthews, Gavin Reilly, Alex Rodman and Ed Upson, all new signings, made their Rovers debuts in the 2-1 defeat against Peterborough United at London Road.
All four players are still with the club, though Reilly is now on loan with Cheltenham Town, and we wish them every success this time around.
Three players, Steve Phillips, Ryan Green and Andy Sandell made their Rovers debuts on this day in 2006, in a 4-1 defeat against Peterborough United at London Road and all went on to play their part in a truly memorable season.
Eleven years later, in 2017, four more players made their debuts for the club. Tom Broadbent, Tom Nichols, Liam Sercombe and Adam Smith were all in the side that lost 1-0 to Charlton Athletic at The Valley.
In addition, former Rovers players Leonard Hodges (1959) and Alfred Micklewright (2006) died on this day.
Happy Birthday to former Rovers midfielder Wayne Brown, born on this day in 1988.
George Collins (1935) and Jimmy Humes (1942) were also born on this date.
When it comes to debuts on this date then we are spoilt for choice! Goalkeeper Scott Shearer, who recently announced his retirement, made his Rovers bow in a 1-1 draw against Barnet on this day in 2005, at their old Underhill Stadium.
On this day in 2011, though, new boss Paul Buckle handed Rovers debuts to no fewer that eleven players, namely; Joe Anyinsah, Lee Brown, Mustapha Carayol, Matt Gill, Matt Harrold, Scott McGleish, Scott Bevan, Michael Smith, Craig Stanley, Adam Virgo and Chris Zeboski.
Three of them, McGleish, Harrold and Virgo, scored their first Rovers goals in a 3-2 win against League newcomers AFC Wimbledon at Kingsmeadow.
One more debut on this day was Peter Hartley, who was in the side that lost 3-1 against Scunthorpe United at Glanford Park in 2016.
On this day in 1999 Ronnie Mauge first kicked a ball in anger for Rovers as he made his Rovers debut in a goalless draw against Brentford at the Memorial Stadium.
On this day in 2004 Ian Atkins handed debuts to eight players, namely Stuart Campbell, Paul Trollope, James Hunt, Steve Elliott, Jamie Forrester, Craig Hinton, Robbie Ryan and Richard Walker. They all featured in the 2-0 win against Mansfield Town at Field Mill, where Junior Agogo scored both goals.
There were three more Rovers debuts on this day in 2010 when Will Hoskins, Gary Sawyer and James Tunnicliffe all featured in a 3-0 defeat against Peterborough United at London Road. (Why do we always lose opening day games at Peterborough!)
Back in 1998 on this day, Marcus Andreasson, Trevor Challis, Guy Ipoua, Michael Meaker, Jason Roberts and Rob Trees made their Rovers debuts in a 2-1 defeat against Burnley at Turf Moor – wouldn’t it be nice to be playing there again!
Eleven years later, on this day in 2009, it was the turn of Dominic Blizzard, Fraser Forster and Carl Regan to make their debuts in the blue and white quarters. However Rovers were beaten 2-1 by Leyton Orient at the Memorial Stadium.
There were Rovers debuts on this day in 2015 for Billy Bodin, James Clarke, Jeffrey Monakana and Cristian Montano. They all featured in the 1-0 home defeat inflicted on us by Northampton Town.
Happy Birthday to Matt Hayfield, born on this day in 1975. Matt now lives and works in Norway.
Happy Birthday to Goalkeepers Conor Gough (1993) and Lee Jones (1970). Also born on this day, in 1939 was Thomas Baker.
On this day in 1969 goalkeeper Dick Sheppard, midfielder Gordon Marsland and striker Robin Stubbs made their Rovers debuts in a goalless draw against Southport at Haig Avenue.
Three players made their Rovers debuts on this day in 1997, namely Steve Foster, Barry Hayles and Jason Perry and it was Hayles who scored Rovers goal in the 1-1 draw against Plymouth Argyle at the Memorial Stadium.
There were five debuts on this day in 2003 when Junior Agogo, Christian Edwards, Kevin Miller and Callum Willock pulled on the blue and white quartered shirt for the first time as Rovers recorded a 2-1 win against Scunthorpe United at Glanford Park courtesy of goals from Adam Barrett and Lee Hodges.
Matt Somner was the only Rovers player to make his debut on this day in 2005 when he featured in the side that suffered a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Grimsby Town.
On this day in 2008 Darryl Duffy and Jeff Hughes made their Rovers debuts in a 3-2 home defeat at the hands of Carlisle United.
On this day in 2014 Darrell Clarke handed Rovers debuts to the following seven players; Andy Monkhouse, Jamie White, Daniel Leadbitter, Stuart Sinclair, Lee Mansell, Jake Gosling and Matty Taylor. It was our one and only season in The Conference and the match against Grimsby Town at the memorial Stadium ended goalless.
Future England centre half Larry Lloyd made his Rovers debut on this day in 1968 in a 1-1 draw against Watford at Eastville.
There were six Rovers debuts on this day in 2002 when Adam Barrett, Danny Boxall, Giuliano Grazioli, Rob Quinn, Paul Tait and Anwar Uddin were all in the side that lost 2-1 against Torquay United at Plainmoor.
Former Rovers defender Doug Hillard was born on this day in 1935 and four other former players were born on this day; Danny Allsopp in 1978, Neil Ross in 1982, Lee Brown in 1990 and Stefan Payne in 1991.
Harold Haddon, who played just twice for Rovers, died on this day in 2013 at the age of 90.
Happy Birthday to former Rovers goalkeeper Nigel Martyn, born on this day in 1996 and to former midfielder Jake Gosling, who arrived in this world back in 1993.
Co-incidentally both are ex internationals, Martyn won 23 full caps for England, Gosling 11 full caps for Gibraltar and also scored on his international debut, the first international competitive goal scored by that country.
Scott Howie and Ross Weare made their Rovers debuts on this day in 2001, on the occasion of the second coming of Gerry Francis. Rovers beat Torquay United that day, in front of an opening day crowd of 10,127.
In 2007 David Pipe and Andy Williams made their Rovers bow, both appearing in the side that drew 1-1 against Port Vale at Vale Park, where Williams was on target for the Gas.
Just one debut to record on this day in 2018, that of Stefan Payne, who scored on his first Gas appearance which ended in a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Accrington Stanley.
Happy Birthday to current Rovers defender Josh Hare, signed from Eastleigh in the summer, who is 25 today.
Seven players, namely Marcus Bignot, Martin Cameron, Nick Culkin, Mark Foran, Lewis Hogg, Scott Jones and Che Wilson, all made their Rovers debuts on this day in 2000 against AFC Bournemouth at the Memorial Stadium in 2000. The match ended all square at 1-1.
Byron Anthony made his first Gas appearance on this day in 2006 in a 1-0 home win against Grimsby Town.
In 2014 there were two Rovers debuts on this day, as Neal Trotman and Will Puddy started for the first time in a 2-0 defeat at The Hive, the relatively new home of Barnet.
Former Rovers winger Peter Hooper died on this day in 2011. He scored 101 league goals for The Gas in 297 appearances and also had a spell at Ashton Gate with Bristol City, for whom he scored 14 league goals in 54 games.
Happy Birthday to former Rovers central defender Ian McLean, born on this day in 1966. Born in Scotland, his family emigrated to Canada when he was 11 months old. Signed for Rovers in September 1993 he went on to score twice in 35 league appearances.
It was on this day in 1984 that Micky Barrett passed away at the age of 24, just a few short weeks after being diagnosed with lung cancer.
Happy Birthday to former Rovers striker Andy Williams, born on this day in 1986, and to Lee Howells, born on this day in 1968. Also born on this day was former goalkeeper Ray Chandler, in 1931.
Two former Rovers captains, Brian Godfrey and Mike Green, made their Rovers debuts on this day in 1971 in a goalless draw against York City at Bootham Crescent.
Worrell Sterling made his Rovers debut on this day in 1993, an opening day home defeat at the hands of AFC Bournemouth at Twerton Park.
On this day in 2016 Luke James made his Rovers debut after joining on loan from Peterborough United, the game ending in a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Oxford United.
Four players made their Rovers debuts on this day in 1987, namely Jason Eaton, Nigel Martyn, Andy Reece and David Wiffill. Rovers beat Rotherham United 3-1 that day at Twerton Park, the first game of the 1987/88 season.
In 1992 Paul Hardyman made his Rovers debut on this day in a 2-1 defeat at Oxford United, while goalkeeper Aaron Chapman played his first Rovers game on this day in 2015 when on loan from Accrington Stanley. Rovers were 1-0 winners at Yeovil that day.
Former Rovers defender Leslie Edwards died on this day in 2014.
Former Rovers and Plymouth Argyle skipper Johnny Williams was born on this day in 1935.
Former player and player/manager David Williams made his Rovers debut on this day in 1975, as did Andrew Evans, in a 2-0 defeat against Oldham Athletic at Boundary Park.
In 1980 former City player Donny Gillies made his Rovers debut on this day in 1980 in a 1-1 draw against Orient at Eastville.
Ben Hunt tasted first team league action for the first time on this day in 2008 in a 1-1 draw against Brighton & Hove Albion at the Withdean Stadium.
Dave Martin’s debut arrived in 2014 when he played in the 2-1 defeat at Altrincham.
Alan Hoult never played a league game for Rovers, but he made his senior bow in a first round second leg League Cup Tie at Hereford on this day in 1978. Rovers lost 4-0.
On this day in 2004 former Rovers stalwart Jackie Pitt died. As a player he appeared in 466 league games for Rovers and on his retirement he became a valued member of staff as groundsman.
Former Rovers player Michael Boateng was born on this day in 1991, the same day that Marcus Stewart and Richard Evans made their Rovers debuts in a 3-3 draw against Ipswich Town at Twerton Park. Marcus scored one of Rovers’ goals that day.
Joe Gadston made his Rovers debut in 1968 on this day in a 2-2 draw at Walsall while Lee martin and Matt Lockwood made their Gas debuts on this day in 1996 in the final match we played at Twerton park, a 1-0 victory against Peterborough United.
Legendary Rovers striker Geoff Bradford was born on this day in 1927 and it’s a Happy Birthday to Michael Meaker, born on this day in 1971.
Gwyn Jones and goalkeeper Esmond Million made their first Rovers appearances on this day in 1962 when Rovers were beaten 3-0 at Hull City.
Stewart Barrowclough and Terry Cooper made their Rovers debuts on this day in 1979 in a 2-0 defeat against Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road
Stephen Badock, Ian Davies, Andy Spring, Byron Stevenson and Nicky Tanner all made their Rovers debut on this day in 1985 as Rovers drew 3-3 at Darlington on the first day of the 1985/86 season.
There were debuts for Fabian Broghammer, David Clarkson and goalkeeper Sam Walker on this day in 2012 when Rovers were beaten 2-0 by Oxford United at the Memorial Stadium.
Former Rovers goalkeeper Harry Liley was born on this day in 1918.
Goalkeeper Bert Hoyle made his Rovers debut on this day in 1950, in a 1-0 home win against Swindon Town.
Brian Carter and John Hills made their Rovers debuts on this day in 1961, a 2-0 home defeat by Liverpool.
Miah Dennehy’s Rovers debut came on this day in 1978 when Rovers beat Fulham 3-1 at Eastville, while Aidan McCaffery’s debut arrived on this day two years later, in 1980 when Rovers lost 4-0 against Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.
Ian Willmott made huis Gas debut on this day in 1989 in a 1-0 home win against Brentford, while Sean Rigg’s debut came at the National Hockey Stadium on this day in 2006 when Rovers lost 2-0 against MK Dons whose manager at the time was Martin Allen.
Goalkeeper Sam Slocombe and striker Dominic Telford made their debuts on this day in 2017 in a 3-2 win against Bury at Gigg Lane.
Happy Birthday to summer signing Mark Little, who celebrates his 31st Birthday today.
Former striker Paul Randall made a goalscoring Rovers debut, against Cardiff City in a 1-1 draw on this day in 1977.
Another striker named Paul, Miller, also marked his debut with a goal in a 3-1 win against York City on this day in 1994.
Clinton Ellis and Micky Evans made their first league appearances in a Rovers shirt on this day in 2000 when Rovers drew 2-2 at London Road against Peterborough United. Evans also scored on his debut.
Former Rovers stalwart Peter Sampson made his Rovers debut on this day in 1948, a 6-1 home defeat at the hands of Ipswich Town.
Seanan Clucas made his Rovers debut on this day in 2012 in a 1-1 draw at Barnet, while on this day last year Alex Jakubiak kicked off his Rovers career with a substitute appearance in the 2-1 home defeat by Portsmouth.
Barrie Meyer, who played for both Bristol clubs and went on to become a highly respected cricket umpire and stood in the middle for 26 Test Matches, was born on this day in 1932.
Happy Birthday to former Rovers defender Marcus Bignot, who was born on this day in 1974.
On this day in 1998 Stephane Leoni and Mark Smith made their Rovers debuts in a goalless draw against Gillingham at the Priestfield Stadium.
Happy Birthday to Gary Mabbutt MBE, who was born on this day in 1961. His 131 league games for Rovers preceded 477 for Tottenham Hotspur and 16 full England caps.
Also born on this day, in 1920, was former Rovers defender Douglas Hayward, who made a solitary league appearance for the club in 1946.
On this day in 1947 Harry Cranfield made his Rovers debut in a 1-1 draw against Port Vale, while five years later on this day Paddy Leonard and John McIlvenny appeared in a Rovers league game for the first time, a 2-1 home win against Shrewsbury Town.
Welsh defender Phil Roberts made his Rovers debut on this day in 1969, a 5-1 away win at Reading, and on this day In 1980 striker Bob Lee kicked off his brief Rovers career in a goalless draw against Bristol City at Ashton Gate.
Four Rovers players made their debuts on this day in 1986 when Rovers were 3-1 winners at Walsall. They were; Ian Alexander, Kenny Hibbitt, Tarki Micalleff and Mark Smalley.
David Wilson made his Rovers bow on this day in 1991 in a 2-2 draw against Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park, while Adam Cunnington made his Rovers debut on this day in 2014 in a 1-0 home win against AFC Telford United.
Happy Birthday to former Rovers players Danny Boxall (1977), Craig Disley (1981) and Byron Moore (1988).
Former Rovers defender Joe Davis was also born on this day, in 1938.
Brian Jenkins made his Rovers debut on this day in 1963 In an opening day 3-0 defeat against Bristol City at Ashton Gate.
Len Pickard made his Rovers debut on this day in 1951 in a 3-3 draw against Shrewsbury Town, while Alan Wood made his only Rovers appearance on this day in 1962, a 2-0 home win against Crystal Palace.
In 1973 former Bristol City player Trevor Jacobs made his Rovers debut on this day against Bournemouth at Eastville, a game Rovers won 3-0 while Mark O’Connor’s debut came on this day in 1984, a 1-0 away win against Bolton Wanderers.
Tony Pounder’s debut came in a 3-2 defeat at Leicester City on this day in 1990 while Dave Gilroy’s first game for the Gas was on this day in 2001 in a 3-2 win against Luton Town at the Memorial Stadium.
Former Rovers forward Idris Lewis was born on this day in 1915 and our former defender Dave Bumpstead died on this day in 2017.
Happy Birthday to Alex Jakubiak who spent last season on loan with us, from Watford. Alex is 23 today.
Former Rovers striker Fred Leamon died on this day in 1981.
There was a Rovers debut on this day in 1952 when Des Jones was in the side that lost 1-0 at Torquay United. Simon Stapleton made his Rovers debut on this day in 1988 in a 3-2 home win against Wigan Athletic, while Alvin Bubb and Rik Lopez both made their Rovers debuts on this day in 2001 in a 1-0 away defeat at Darlington.
Happy Birthday to former Rovers striker Jamie Cureton, who reached the milestone of having played in 1,000 first class games last season. Jamie is 44 today. Happy Birthday, also, to former Rovers players Paul Bradshaw (1956) and Bob Harris (1987).
Former Rovers goalkeeper Ronnie Briggs died on this day in 2008.
In 1950 on this day William Murphy made his Rovers debut on this day in 1950 in a 3-0 win against Aldershot.
Micky Slocombe made his Rovers debut on this day in 1961, a 1-0 defeat against Bury at Eastville, and a year later on this day in 1962, Hugh Ryden and Dave Stone made their debuts in a 2-0 defeat at Northampton.
In 1982 on this day Graham Withey’s debut ended in a 5-1 defeat for Rovers against Brentford at Griffin Park.
Gareth Taylor was on the losing side on his debut on this day in 1992 as Rovers were beaten 2-1 by Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park. Simon Bryant’s debut also ended in defeat as on this day in 1999 Rovers lost 2-1 at Wrexham.
Happy Birthday to Shaquille Hunter, 24 today and to Chris Llewellyn, who celebrates his 40th birthday.
In 1964 on this day Roy McCrohan made the first of his ten Rovers appearances, against Luton Town, in a 2-0 win at Kenilworth Road.
Former Rovers defender Peter Aitken made his Rovers debut on this day in 1972 in a 2-2 draw against Chesterfield at Eastville.
Defenders Tim Parkin, Brian Williams and Keith Curle made their Rovers debuts on this day in a 2-2 draw against Wimbledon at Eastville while six years later on this day, Devon White made a goalscoring debut when he scored one of Rovers’ goals in a 3-1 home win against Aldershot.
Ben Swallow made his debut on this day in 2009 when Rovers lost 2-1 against Wycombe Wanderers at Adams Park and in 2015 on this day Tyler Lyttle made his Rovers debut in a 2-0 defeat against Leyton orient at Brisbane Road.
At the time of writing Cameron Hargreaves has yet to make his Rovers League debut, but he made his senior debut against Wycombe Wanderers 5-1 in the EFL Trophy tie at Adams Park on this day in 2017.
Happy Birthday to Lee Brown, who is 30 today, to Aidan McCaffery, born on this day in 1957 and to Tom Ramasut, who entered the world in 1977.
On this day in 1975 Tony Pulis made his Rovers debut in a 1-1 draw against Bristol City at Ashton Gate. He would later manage City, of course.
On this day in 1946 Rovers opened their first post war campaign with a 2-2 draw against Reading at Eastville. Making their Rovers debuts that day were; Harry Bamford, Lance Carr, Vic Lambden, Idris Lewis, Jackie Pitt, Randall Watkins and Jack Weare.
Tom Stanton’s Rovers debut came on this day in 1968 when Rovers lost 6-1 against Crewe Alexandra at Gresty Road, while on this day in 1985 Alan Cockram made his one and only league appearance for Rovers in a goalless draw against Derby County at Eastville.
Justin Skinner made a goalscoring debut as a Rovers substitute on this day in 1991 when Rovers lost 2-1 against Newcastle United at Twerton Park and in 1996 on this day Steve Parmenter’s Rovers debut ended in Rovers drawing 1-1 against Stockport County at the Memorial Stadium.
Happy Birthday to former Rovers player Ryan Williams, who is 41 today.
On this day in 2008 former Rovers defender Douglas Hayward died at the age of 88.