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Bristol Rovers

Bristol Rovers

Nickname Pirates
Web Site
Stadium Memorial Stadium

Black Arabs Football Club was formed in 1883. The unusual name came from the teams black kit and the Arabs Rugby club, who played on the same ground. A year later the club changed names to Eastville Rovers and settled on Bristol Rovers in 1898. The club takes its nickname 'The Pirates' from Bristol's maritime history.

In 1897 The Pirates turned professional and they joined the Southern League in 1899. Rovers stayed in the Southern League until 1920 when they were founder members of Football League Division Three (South). Rovers spent most of their time in the third flight until 1952 when they were promoted to the second flight. The rest of the decade was spent consolidating their position until they were relegated again in 1962.

In 1987 Gerry Francis was appointed manager and given the task of taking Rovers out of the third flight. The Pirates made it to the play-offs in 1989 but they were beaten in the final. The team went one better the following season when they were crowned champions and qualified for automatic promotion. In the 1990/1 season the club finished seventh in the second flight which is their highest league finishing position to date. At the end of the season Francis left to re-join QPR and was replaced by Martin Dobson who only lasted for four months.

Dennis Rolfe and Malcolm Allison had brief spells at the helm until 1993 when John Ward was appointed. A couple of months after his appointment Rovers were relegated back to the third flight. Ward almost led the team to league success in the 94/95 season when the team reached the play-off final against Huddersfield. Rovers went on to lose 2-1 and Ward wasn't offered a new contract at the end of the following season. The club had a couple of more flirtations with promotion in the 90's but never quite made the grade.

In the summer before the 2000/1 season many key players left the club. In January of that season manager Ian Holliway was relieved of his duties and the job of steadying the ship was given to Garry Thompson. The new Manager was unable to salvage the season and Rovers were relegated to the basement division for the first time in their history.

After the relegation season Gerry Francis was persuaded to delay his retirement and re-join Rovers. Francis was unsuccessful in gaining promotion in his first season and departed during the following season.

Bristol Rovers Memorabilia
Bristol Rovers Books

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