1) What made you become a Gashead?
Dad took me, can’t think that I nagged him to go, was only dimly aware that Rovers existed back then. As it is now, the schoolyard was filled with glory hunters (mainly Liverpool) and very few kids supported local teams. Not much has changed in that regard apart from those kids growing up and being consumers of football on TV rather than fans, and their kids following suit.
Dad and his brothers used to go to both Rovers and *those others* home games, as was the fashion at the time but he gravitated more to The Gas as he was a good man.
Apocryphal tale goes that when he was school football captain he contacted both Bristol clubs for help with summer training. *Those others* didnt even acknowledge the letter but Rovers sent some balls, bibs, trainees and promotion winning captain Ray Warren for the day! It’s a good story anyway and I’d like to believe it.
2) Whats your first memory as a Gashead?
First Match – Played Orient at Eastville and we won, I dont remember much about the match, the score or scoreres tbh Just that Eastville was, by then, an intimidating shithole but that thousands of people shouting together was terrifically exciting and unlike anything else I’d experienced.
I remember when Gary Mabbutt was sold, and being completely dumbfounded as to how and why that could happen, don’t players just play for the club they love forever? Sadly, for my naive little self, no.
Also, dad coming to my room and telling me that Terry Cooper had left the club. He was so sad I thought that someone had died!
3) If you could bring back one Bristol Rovers player (in his prime) who would it be?
That’s tricky, so many to choose from, but how many from yesteryear would make their mark in the modern game? I’d go for David Williams, however.
4) Who in your opinion is the greatest ever Rovers manager?
Can’t look much further than DC in terms of achievements, consecutive promotions an astonishing feat. Gerry Francis took the club back from death and exile before, with a fraction of the resources available to DC but then thought our ambition didnt match his. Francis’ return a horrible blight on his previous accomplishments though.
Too young to remember Bert Tann, so can’t pass judgement.
5) Favourite current and former Rovers player?
Haven’t seen us in the flesh for a while, what with living in exile in the frozen north and that. In terms of encompassing the Rovers spirit of coming back from the brink and coming back stronger than before, you’ve got to admire Ollie Clarke.
Marcus Stewart will always be my favourite Rovers player. Exciting talent that wore his heart on his sleeve and tried his best, edges it over Ricky Lambert for the local connection and for the fact that I met him when my then gf won the nominate a player of the month thing in the Evening Post back in the day. Had lunch with Marcus and others at the Swallow Royal hotel, Marcus a gentleman if not all that gifted upstairs (sample question from MS, ‘What’s cinnamon?’)
6) Your opinion on Darrell Clarke?
How can he be so successful, yet still unlikable? Constant lineup and formation changes that are brilliant when they work and baffling when they dont, revolving door recruitment policy, surly press conferences. I’m old, I want the same lineup and formation all season so I can keep up! Seriously though, he’s proved us all wrong enough times that we can’t doubt him anymore. He’s turned down ‘better’ jobs than this as he shares the ambition of the board and the fans. Enormous respect and admiration. But he is not charming.
7) Your opinion on the new owners and Steve Hamer?
There is a lot of faith and goodwill from Gasheads propelling them at the moment. That’s going to run out if we dont see anything concrete happening. On the whole, it’s a different world to the previous regime, open and honest and the club doing things visibly right. A breath of fresh air.
8) Which player if any would you like to see leave Rovers this summer?
Think weve seen most of the departures and its hard to argue with them. Byron Moore doesn’t seem to bring much to the starting XI, however.
9) What do you think we need in the transfer window?
Have we got a keeper? I’m no expert but it’s normally a good idea to have one of them. Loan signings being the spine of the team has left us a bit short of numbers in June/July We are short a striker, that’s for sure.
10) In your opinion will the New Stadium happen?
Absolutely, unequivocally, yes. Now our club isn’t being run by chancers and blowhards, the lack of rumour and claim coming from official sources is v comforting. Professional, almost, who would have thunk it?
11) Who was your first footballing hero?
12) What do you expect from Rovers this season?
Play-offs on the pitch, positive progression of the pitch. Most importantly I look forward to the return of hooped socks.
13) And finally, your stuck on a desert island. You can pick one person to be with, who would you choose?
My wife, if she’s reading this. She isn’t? Okay then, Wonder Woman as played by Gal Gadot, for a *variety* of reasons…
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Vital Gas 2017 Interview: Swedish Gas
1) What made you become a Gashead?