…By the time of his testimonial match Ian already knew that he wasn’t being retained by Rovers and so the 4,000 or so fans at Eastville that night would see him appearing in a Rovers shirt for the final time.
In front of a crowd of 4,000 the All Stars won 5-3 thanks to goals from Johnny Byrne (2), Trevor Brooking (2) and Ernie Hunt, with the Rovers/City XI replying through Bobby Jones, Steve Stacey and Joe Gadston.
At the time of the match Gadston was playing for Cheltenham Town and was involved at the request of manager Fred Ford, who was keen to sign the inside forward who scored what was described as the most spectacular goal of the game; ‘Gadstone scored the most exciting of the eight goals when he collected the Bristol side’s third. From the edge of the penalty area he scissor kicked home a Stacey cross.’
This is how the sides lined up that evening.
Rovers/City XI: Frank Parsons (Crystal Palace), Alec Briggs (Bristol City), John Trollope (Swindon Town), Ken Wimshurst (Bristol City), Larry Lloyd (Bristol Rovers), Keith Miller (West Ham), Steve Stacey (Wrexham), Ian Hamilton (Bristol Rovers), Alfie Biggs (Bristol Rovers), Joe Gadston (Cheltenham Town), Bobby Jones (Bristol Rovers).
Substitute: Dave Stone (Bristol Rovers)
All Star XI: Mike Kelly (QPR), John Bond (Torquay United), Billy Bonds (West Ham), Johnny Haynes (Fulham), Jack Connor (Bristol City), Ivor Allchurch (Swansea), Harry Redknapp (West Ham), Trevor Brooking (West Ham), Johnny Byrne (Fulham), Ernie Hunt (Coventry City), Don Rogers (Swindon Town).
Substitute: John Quigley (Bristol City)
Ian’s Rovers career took in 149 league games and 60 goals and, by my reckoning, he also appeared in another 24 games (FA Cup ties, League Cup ties and Gloucestershire Cup Finals) scoring another nine goals to give an overall total of 173 first class games and 69 goals.
The knee injuries which had first surfaced when he was just 24 and had, arguably, his best years ahead of him as a footballer brought his career to a premature end, though he did score twice for Newport County in 15 games before helping out at Weston super Mare and Welton Rovers.
(these six Rovers players reunited in their cricket whites for a six a side tournament organised by Old Bristolians; Harold Jarman, Bobby Brown, Bobby Jones, Ian Hamilton, Doug Hillard, Larry Lloyd. (Ian & Doug Hillard had already left the club at this point)
On leaving football altogether he worked in the offices of Rolls Royce at Filton and took early retirement in 1994. That left him time to pursue his hobbies of cricket and gardening; he and his wife, Betty, travelled far and wide supporting the England Test side.
Ian had played cricket for Thornbury as a youngster, hence his lifelong interest in the game, while as for gardening, his lawn was described as being far better than any bowling green!
Quite a footballing family, the Hamilton’s, for Ian’s older brother David had been on Rovers’ books until his untimely death in a fire in November 1956. As we shall see, as we continue our fathers and sons’ sojourn, it wasn’t uncommon for there to be three footballers emerge from the same family.
Ian relaxing with (L-R) Alex Munro, Lindsay Parsons, I’ll leave you all with this photo taken on a pre-season tour of Ireland Bobby Jones, Harold Jarman and Ronnie Briggs (unsure which year) Ian is on the left, with Terry Oldfield, Doug Hillard, Joe Davis and Bobby Jones