Back to Bisham

Jul 1, 2021 | News

With Rovers beginning their pre-season training by spending a week at Bisham Abbey, we look back to the last time they visited that particular venue during their pre-season build up only on that occasion it was for one day only!

It was July 19th 2007 to be precise, and Paul Trollope’s side played their first pre-season game, against Oxford United, in a game consisting of three thirty minute segments.


The result was a 1-1 draw and both sides used the game as an opportunity to give some of their younger players a first team opportunity as well as run the rule over some triallists (in Rovers’ case it was four!).

Rovers took the lead in the 25th minute of the first period thanks to a goal by Lewis Haldane who was played in by new signing Andy Williams. The young striker rounded his marker before firing past goalkeeper Billy Turley. Rovers keeper Steve Phillips had just one save to make in this period and he did well to rush off his line to thwart Yemi Odubade.


The second period was goalless, although both sides created goalscoring opportunities. Sean Rigg was denied by a fine save by Turley while he and Chris Lines both fired shots wide of the target. At the other end Joe Ledgister fired over the bar and then saw his header cleared off the line by Rickie Lambert. Rigg went close again for Rovers and Charlie Reece had an opportunity to double the lead but shot straight at Turley.

Turley made a fine save to deny James Fraser early in the third period while Richard Walker went close with a header from a Stuart Campbell corner.

Oxford got back on level terms when Rob Duffy sent Mike Green the wrong way from the penalty spot after Ryan Paddock was penalised for a challenge on Odubade, though from the sidelines it appeared that the offence happened outside the area.

As his side prepared for their first season at League One following the previous season’s promotion, Trollope said of this game; ‘It was a good workout and they were three competitive little games. We used a mixture of experience players and youngsters and everyone got some action.’

This is how Rovers sides lined up for each period.

First period: Phillips, Pipe, Hinton, Godsell, Jacobson, Clough, Disley, Rose, Sandell, Haldane, Williams.

Danny Rose was on an extended trial with the club, having been released by Manchester United where he had skippered their reserve side before spending time out on loan at Oxford. He went on Rovers’ subsequent pre-season Scottish tour but wasn’t offered a pro contract.

Tom Godsell and Charlie Clough had come through Rovers Academy and while Godsell didn’t make a first team appearance, Clough would go on to appear in three first team games.

Second period: Phillips, Lescott, Elliott, Kite, Jansen, Igoe, Palmer, Lines, Reece, Lambert, Rigg.

Dutch left sided midfielder Madgid Jansen, 23, was another triallist. He had been on the books of Ajax as a youngster and had also spent time with AZ Alkmaar and Dutch Second Division side Stormvogels Telstar. He wasn’t offered a pro contract, either.

Alex Kite, son of the then Rovers physio Phil, James Palmer and Charlie Reece also graduated through Rovers Academy. Kite and Palmer never made a first team appearance, while Reece would make 29 league appearances, 17 of which were from the bench.

Third period: Green (M), Parrinello, Paddock, Anthony, Carruthers, Cusell, Fraser, Campbell, Mahdi, Walker, Klein-Davies.

Tom Parrinello, Ryan Paddock, and Adam Mahdi also came through the club’s Academy. None of them made a league appearance for the club, though Parrinello, who is still with the club’s Academy as Lead Professional Development Phase Coach, did make one substitute appearance in the FA Cup.

24 year old Dutchman Tonnie Cusell was also with the club on trial. He had played in the Dutch First Division for Vitesse Arnhem, RKC Waalwijk and FC Twente. Another who wasn’t offered a pro deal, he and Jansen had been recommended to Rovers’ Director of Football Lennie Lawrence.

James Fraser began his career with Brighton & Hove Albion and was eventually offered a pro contract by Rovers, though he never made a first team appearance during his time with the Gas. He still plays football and ended last season with Isthmian League side Whitehawk, his fourth spell with them!

Keith Brookman

(photos courtesy of Jeff Davis and Keith Brookman)