January 1, 2000


For the eagerly anticipated, re-arranged game against Oxford I scheduled a half-day holiday.

Finishing work at 12.30, I took the 10-15 minute stroll into the centre to meet a couple of my companions in the Commercial Rooms, where we had a couple of drinks and a Wetherspoons lunch to set the day in motion. In search of Horse Racing (as I had a vested interest), we crossed the road to Walkabout, which felt more inclined to show Sky Sports News. Not to worry. We soon moved down to The Shakespeare Inn down by the Mud Dock where we would be collecting our lift. I got a ‘phone call from my dad, and the day was shaping up nicely with a winner and a placing in the 3.15 at Cheltenham.

Once out of the centre it was pretty much plain sailing to Oxford, arriving just over an hour before kick-off. I managed to squeeze my lithe frame to the bar of the Priory to acquire a drink and made my way outside to muse with fellow Gasheads and take in the intoxicating barbecue smell.

Once inside the ground things started to go downhill. It was getting colder, the football wasn’t exactly great and the referee was atrocious. I don’t recall either team having any shots of note, with very little goalmouth activity all game. I thought Aaron Lescott coped well against the tricky and quick Oxford forward, but other then that not many performances of note on the Rovers team. I don’t want to blame the ref as Rovers weren’t good enough, but he certainly didn’t give much in the way of Rovers. We should have had a penalty when Walker was fouled in the box. There is no way a centre-forward would go down square in front of goal with a free shot.

It seems Agogo’s silly suspension could cost us dearly as I believe we have badly needed his ability and reputation in the last couple of games to occupy, and make the opposition defence think.

After making our way out of the ground into the biting wind, I spotted my father with a spare seat in his car. I made my apologies to my companions and driver and took up the spare seat home. (Sorry Kelly, nothing against your driving). It took ages to get out of the car park which is more then a little frustrating after a bad game, but once out it was another case of a straight forward trip home, managing to be tucked up in bed by quarter to twelve. Not the best of days in the end, but I suppose I ended it with more money then I started which is no bad thing. Roll on the next game.

 We certainly aren’t out of the play-off hunt, even if we have made it a lot harder for ourselves. Then again this is Bristol Rovers Football Club and I wouldn’t expect anything less. Keep believing and keep fighting.
Come on Gas!!

‘Sprout and About” appears as a regular column in the Bristol Rovers match day programme, ‘The Pirate’, edited by Keith Brookman. The Pirate has once again won the coveted ‘Programme Monthly ‘award for League 2, and we would like to congratulate Keith and join him in sending his congratulations to all its contributors.


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