Around Rovers

March 11, 2009

[image2]A quirk of timing happened on a morning walk along Clevedon sea front and over Wains Hill a couple of weeks ago and in the few days leading up to the Leicester Game. I was just beginning the climb at the start of Poet’s Walk and approaching the lookout built in the 1800’s to spot ships sailing up the Channel making for Portishead and Bristol; probably my most favourite spot in the entire area. I just love the place and I digress.

The lookout has required a bit of building work recently and is, regrettably, often the target for graffiti artists so called. I spotted a chap doing a bit of renovation work; I looked at him and he looked at me. I am sure you would have experienced such a situation from time to time. Anyway we got talking and introduced ourselves as you do; turned out to be Mickey Adams. As it happens Mickey is the very first entry in the “Pirates in Profile” volume complied by Mike Jay and Stephen Byrne and published by Pottens of Bristol in 1994. The book is described as a Bristol Rovers Players who’s who 1920-94; a great book for those who own it or who may have access to it. I wonder if an update to take in 125 years or even up to 2010 is in the pipeline?

Mickey is listed as Michael J Adams but was always known as Mickey. We had a fascinating chat as he told me about playing in the old Football Combination and visiting venues such as Highbury and White Hart Lane to play reserve team fixtures. Mickey made one substitute appearance for the club in the 1982-83 season before moving on to play a good number of seasons for Bath City and then Weston –super-Mare before finishing up ay Keynsham Town. Mickey later qualified as a coach and is still involved with the club from time to time when he is called upon by Pete Aitken to help out in the community coaching sessions. Above all Mickey is still very much a fan and can be spotted in and around the West Stand on first team match days. His passion for Bristol Rovers came across very strongly to me and he conveyed many fond memories of his time at the club.

The Yeovil game was a great night not least in terms of the performance and result. Tony Pulis and Lindsay Parsons were in town for personal reasons and it gave them the opportunity to take in the game. It also gave us the opportunity to welcome them back to Bristol and to Bristol Rovers. A bit of a Rovers return you might say. Tony was in really good form especially when you consider the pressures of Premier League management and all that goes with it.

Tony was one of our highly successful youngsters from across the bridge and just into South Wales. He hails from Newport and having joined the club as an apprentice in 1975, he made his debut at the tender age of 17 against Bedminster at the Gate of all places. It must have been quite an experience for such a young player and a pleasing debut no doubt because we returned to Eastville with a 1-1 result. Tony went on to make 130 appearances for Rovers before spells with Newport County, Gillingham and Bournemouth. At one stage he had to compete for his place with Geraint Williams who has also been successful in management firstly with Colchester United and now with Leyton Orient.

Tony had a habit of achieving at a young age. At the age of nineteen he became the youngest qualified FA Coach and he later went on to manage our youth team. Fair play to him and we wish him all the best in his efforts to sustain Premier League status with Stoke City.

Lindsay is what can best described as a Rovers legend and so it was particularly pleasing to welcome him to the Mem. Looking older but still very fit, Lindsay is Bristol born and another player who came through the apprentice ranks to make his debut at a tender age. Linds was just eighteen when he was given his chance in the blue and white quarters; and what a debut game with Rovers running out winners over Notts County in a resounding 4-0 victory back in the 1963-64 season. He later went on to captain the club and to chalk up a massive 353 plus a further 5 substitute appearances. A great record for one of the best fullbacks we have ever had the pleasure of watching at Bristol Rovers. His league career was completed with a couple of seasons down at Torquay before moving into coaching and management. A fine and lengthy time in football certainly.

The apprentice system did us very well in the times of Tony and Linds. How good is it that from next season we will be reintroducing what are now called scholars to the club. If our game against Liverpool in the FA Youth cup is anything to go by we can look forward once again to feeding our first team with local boys who will wear the shirt with pride and distinction.




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