Starting life as the Purdown Poachers, the club then became known as The Black Arabs (named after the black shirts they wore, not the many imported talents that graced their team straight from the Bristol Docks). It wasn't only names that they changed regularly, it was grounds too. They went from Three Acres (trying to get one up on City - see above) to Ashley Hill (a nice girl) to Ridgeway. A further name change came in 1884, when they became Eastville Rovers after moving to that part of the city. Eventually, following all their movements, they decided to stick with Bristol Rovers in 1898 and the club became founder members of the 3rd Division when they joined the League in 1920.

The club's successes have all come in the lower divisions with the 3rd Division (South) title in 1953 and the 1990 Third Division championship. The club's history has been dogged by controversy and financial problems. In 1939, debts and the need to apply for re-election (in those days the four clubs finishing at the very bottom of the League had to reapply to keep their place in the Fourth Division) nearly saw the club go even further west. The club's existence was again threatened in 1986, when they had to leave their Eastville Stadium after a fire swept through the in 1980 and it could no longer be maintained. Moving into Bath to share their ground at Twerton Park should have been a clean start for Rovers, but although lightning didn't strike twice, there was another fire at their new home in 1990. The limited capacity and the state of the pitch was felt to be hindering the club's progress, so they moved into the Memorial Ground, back in Bristol, to share with the rugby club (although the pitch was not a great deal better for that). Now they have bought the ground, it is hoped that the club will be no more the wild rover. Scandal also hit the club in 1963, when two of their players were suspended following involvement in a bribery sensation. The club became the first League club to take part in a game inside a prison, but this was all above board as in 1982 they played the inmates of Erlestoke Prison. The home side managed to nick a last-minute winner. Anyone knowing the whereabouts of this goal should contact Bristol Police.

Highlights have been few and far between for Rovers, but two FA Cup wins over Manchester United in 1956 and 1972 and coming runners-up in the 1990 Leyland DAF Trophy are about as good as they got aside from the aforementioned two championships. A good showing in the Second Division in 1997-8 got them to the play-offs, but they lost to Northampton Town.  In 1999-2000, they were up at the top of the table for most of the season and although they had two potent strikers in Cureton and Roberts they failed to get even a play-off place, losing out on the final day of the season.

The Pirates entered season 2000-1 having sold both Cureton and Roberts and it looked like a difficult task to repeat their exploits of the previous season.  Indeed that proved the case, with manager Ian Holloway taking the rap by being sacked, but Garry Roberts and Gary Penrice, who were installed as caretaker managers could not prevent the poor home record causing the Pirates to sink to relegation to Division Three.  In the close season, it was decided that Gerry Francis would be the man to restore some swash-buckling football at Rovers, but he was just the first in a long line that succeeded him in trying to regain some of the old glory to the Gasheads.

FAMOUS PLAYERS : - Eddie Hapgood, Stuart Taylor, Khamed Al-Rehari, Alfie Biggs, Nigel Martyn, Gerry Francis, Bobby Nogood, Ian Holloway, Gary Mabbutt.

FAMOUS FANS : - Lord Archer (Former Conservative MP and Author), David Graveney (England Cricket Selector), Roni Size (Musician)


Club Records

Formed 1883
Turned Professional 1897
Became a Limited Company 1896
Former names Black Arabs = 1883-1884
Eastville Rovers = 1884-1897
Bristol Eastville Rovers = 1897-1898
Previous grounds Purdown; Three Acres, Ashley Hill; Ridgeway, Fishponds  = 1883-1897
Eastville = 1897-1986
Twerton Park = 1986-1996
Nickname "The PIRATES" or "THE GAS"
Club Colours HOME : Shirts - Blue and White quartered
Shorts - White
Socks - White 

AWAY : Shirts - White
Shorts - Black
Socks - White 

Record Football League Win 7-0  v  Brighton  Division 3 (South)  29.11.1952
7-0  v  Swansea Town  Division 2   29.10.1954
7-0  v  Shrewsbury Town  Division 3   21.3.1964
Record Football League Defeat 0-12  v  Luton Town  
Division 3 (South)   13.4.1936
Record Cup Win

6-0  v  Merthyr Tydfil   FAC R1  14.11.1987

Record Fee Paid 370,000 to QPR for Andy TILLSON (November 1992)
Record Fee Received  2,000,000 from Fulham for Barry HAYLES  (November 1998) 
Record Football League Appearances 546  -  Stuart TAYLOR  (1966-80)
Record goalscorer in a season 33  -  Geoff BRADFORD   
Division 3 (South)    1952-53 
Record all-time goalscorer  242  -  Geoff BRADFORD  1949-64 
Most goals in a match 4 - Sidney LEIGH  v  Exeter City  Division 3 (South)  2.5.1921
4 - Jonah WILCOX  v  Bournemouth  Division 3 (South)  12.12.1925
4 - Bill CULLEY  v  QPR  Division 3 (South)  5.3.1927
4 - Frank CURRAN  v  Swindon Town  Division 3 (South)  25.3.1939
4 - Vic LAMBDEN  v  Aldershot  Division 3 (South)  29.3.1947
4 - George PETHERBRIDGE  v  Torquay United  Division 3 (South)  1.12.1951
4 - Vic LAMBDEN  v  Colchester United  Division 3 (South)  14.5.1952
4 - Geoff BRADFORD  v  Rotherham United  Division 2  14.3.1959
4 - Robin STUBBS  v  Gillingham  Division 2 10.10.1970
4 - Alan WARBOYS  v  Brighton  Division 3  1.12.1973
4 - Jamie CURETON  v  Reading  Division 2 16.1.1999
Record Attendance (all-time) 38,472  v  Preston North End  FAC R4  30.1.1960 (Eastville)

9274  v  Leyton Orient   FAC R4  23.1.1999  (Memorial Ground)

Record match receipts 75,935  v  Leyton Orient   FAC R4  23.1.1999
Record total of goals in a  League season 92  -  Division 3 (South)  1952-53
Record  League points total 3 points for a win :  -  93  
Division 3  1989-90

2 points for a win :   -  64  Division 3 (South)  1952-53

Most Capped player while at club ?  -  Vasily ASTEVJEVS  (Georgia)


Stadium details

Address : The Memorial Stadium, Filton Avenue, Horfield, Bristol BS7 0AQ

Telephone : 0117 909 6648
0117 909 8848  (Matchday Ticket Office)
0117 924 3200  (Ticket Office)
  (Credit Card Bookings)
09068 121 131 (News)
Fax : 0117 908 5530

Capacity : 10,861
Away Allocation : 740 (standing)
Pitch size :  101 m  x 68m

Official website :
Unofficial website : 
The Gas 
Second of May 
The Temple of Bristol Rovers


Black Arab
The Second of May


Travel to The Memorial Ground




Full results history of Spurs v Bristol Rovers

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Transfers from Tottenham to Bristol Rovers

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