Following on from yesterdays part 1…..Another player with connections to the red half of Bristol also joined us; Richard Dryden’s 13 league game sojourn for Rovers began on 28th December 1986 when he was in the side that won 2-1 at Griffin Park, Brentford.

Also making his Rovers league debut in the same game was another of the evening’s guests, Ian Weston who received his cap at our last dinner.

A somewhat nomadic career ensued for player number 527 for, after leaving Rovers, he turned out for Exeter City, Notts County, Plymouth Argyle and Birmingham City before the team that plays at Ashton Gate forked out £200,000 to relocate him to South Bristol.

He was on his travels again some 18 months later but to list all of his clubs would take up far too much time tonight as he’s continued his career as a coach and manager since hanging up his boots and is currently a coach with National League side Aldershot Town.

Next up came Phil Purnell, whose Rovers league debut arrived on 29th March 1986, a game in which the 517th player to represent the club ended up on the losing side as Rovers were beaten 2-0 at Ashton Gate.

It was the first of 153 league games for Rovers and he was to feature in some important games for the club. On the final day of the 1986/87 season, for example, he scored the goal that gave Rovers a 1-0 win at Newport County which ensured that we avoided relegation to the old Fourth Division.

A member of the 1990 Championship winning side, he played against Bristol City in that never to be forgotten penultimate game of the season when Rovers clinched a 3-0 win and then scored in the final game of the campaign, at Blackpool, where victory clinched the title. ‘Percy’ also played against Tranmere Rovers in the club’s first ever Wembley appearance a few weeks after the title win, in the Leyland DAF Final in which we were beaten 2-1.

A popular member of the squad, he’s also a very talented local cricketer. His playing career was ended by injury and he was awarded a testimonial match by Rovers which saw Queens Park Rangers visit Twerton Park.

Coming in at number 544 is Christian McClean, whose debut was against Chesterfield on 2nd April 1988, a game in which we were 1-0 winners at Saltergate.

Christian arrived at Rovers via Colchester United, AVV Zeeburgia of Amsterdam, Chelmsford City and Clacton Town and his debut was the first of 51 league games in Rovers’ colours.

He became an integral member of the squad put together by Gerry Francis and his physical presence up front, often in the absence of Devon White, caused opposing defences many problems.

A member of the 1990 Championship winning side, and a substitute at Wembley in the Leyland DAF Final, Christian was a fans’ favourite during his time with the club

He has retained an affection for Rovers and this was by no means his first visit back to the club as he has attended a number of functions since his departure in July 1991.

He enjoyed a long career in non league football and turned out for a team called Boxted Lodgers at the age of 48.

One of our former players has recently returned to the club in a coaching capacity, so it was a pleasure to welcome Wayne Carlisle, the 684th player to represent the club in the league.

His debut came in a 1-0 defeat against Plymouth Argyle, at Home Park, on 30th March 2002. He created an unusual newspaper headline in 2003 when he scored Rovers’ two goals in a 2-0 win at Carlisle.  Carlisle 0, Carlisle 2 was his gift to the newsprint industry. He also scored against Carlisle in the return fixture at the Mem which we won 1-0.

Given that he’s previously worked with current Rovers’ boss Matt Taylor at Exeter and Rotherham it came as little surprise when the two teamed up again at The Mem.

When the cap initiative was set up, the Supporters Club asked if anyone would like to sponsor any of the presentations. Current Treasurer of the Supporters Club, Clive Marshall, agreed to sponsor Gary Smart’s cap and was on hand to make the presentation.

Gary, of course, is another player with Bristol City connections and pleasant ones at that! He will always be remembered for scoring the winning goal at Ashton Gate on New Year’s Day 1987 to seal a dramatic 1-0 win.

Gary made the first of his 19 Rovers league games on 19th October 1985 when we beat Doncaster Rovers 2-0 at their former Belle Vue ground.

The 513th player to make his Rovers debut, he went on to play for a number of local clubs after leaving us and made a substitute appearance at Wembley for Forest Green Rovers in the 1999 FA Trophy Final.

Given that the presentations began with a goalkeeper, it seemed only fitting to end them with another shot stopper and it was a pleasure to ask Richard Jarman to present a cap to Mike Green as he had agreed to sponsor it.

Mike was the 791st player to turn out for Rovers in league football when he was in the side that drew 1-1 against Oldham Athletic at Boundary Park.

There was only one other league game in a Rovers career that lasted from July 2006 – summer 2011 though he was in many first team squads during that time and was on the bench at the two finals reached in 200.  After leaving Rovers he appeared in 154 games for Gloucester City.

As well as those receiving caps, there were also more former players in attendance. They had received their caps at a previous dinner, but it was a pleasure to see these familiar faces again; Peter Aitken, Bob Bloomer, Simon Bryant, Billy Clark, Dave Gilroy, Lewis Hogg, Harold Jarman, Vaughan Jones, David Mehew, Frankie Prince, Tom Stanton, Marcus Stewart and Ian Weston.

Marcus Stewart was only in attendance for the meal which, by the way, was outstanding.  Marcus had to leave early, as he had another engagement to attend, in Portishead. Nevertheless, it was great to see him looking so well and we were delighted when the raffle we held made £1,000 as it was held in aid of his charity, the Darby Rimmer Foundation.