Josser Watling and Mike Trought receive their Caps

Dec 19, 2022 | Cap Initiative, News


We were delighted that Supporters Club Director Helen Wigmore was recently able to present ‘Josser’ Watling with his cap to commemorate his Bristol Rovers debut.







Born on 11th May 1925, in Bristol, ‘Josser’ is the oldest living former Rovers player and as you can see from the photo of him with his cap, he certainly doesn’t look anything like 97 years old!

He survived being on a boat sunk by Nazi warships off the Russian coast during the Second World War and joined Rovers in October 1945, turning professional in January 1947.

His Rovers career saw him play in 15 consecutive seasons, from 1947/48 through until 1961/62 and during that time he scored 19 goals in 323 league appearances.

He first represented Rovers in a league match back on Valentine’s Day 1948, against Bristol City at Ashton Gate, a game that ended in a 5-2 defeat for Rovers. He is the 288th player to represent Rovers in the Football League

A stalwart of the side throughout the 1950’s, ‘Josser’ only appeared in five games in the promotion season of 1952/53, though he did receive a Championship medal. Not only was he a trusted and reliable left winger, and then left back, he was the life and soul of the dressing room and, by all accounts, quite a character.

A natural comedian, impromptu pianist and all round entertainer is how some who knew him in his playing days would describe him and, indeed, there are many photos from that glorious period in the club’s history showing him at the piano!

After running a fruit shop for four years, Watling worked from 1966 as a storekeeper at Glenside Hospital and continues to live in Bristol, where he had the honour of having a road named after him, Watling Way in Shirehampton.

Once a regular at Rovers home games, ‘Josser’ hasn’t been to the Memorial Stadium for a while. However, we hope we can persuade him to attend a game very soon and we look forward to seeing him once again.


One other cap presentation took place recently, to former defender Mike Trought, who came along to our recent game against Port Vale.

Mike, another Bristolian to break into the first team, was born on 19th October 1980 and joined Rovers in 1997, turning professional two years later.

On 12th December 1998, he became the 630th player to represent Rovers in the league when he made his debut against Manchester City at Maine Road. A crowd of almost 25,000 were there that day, to see Rovers take a point from a goalless draw.

The man he was marking, Gareth Taylor, was a former Rovers player himself though Mike’s day lasted just 26 minutes as he suffered an injury that saw him substituted by Mark Smith.

Unfortunately, injuries restricted his league appearances for Rovers to just 33 and although he had trials with Plymouth Argyle and Bournemouth after leaving the club, he didn’t play league football for another club though he did turn out for a number of local non league clubs.

Supporters Club Chairman David Thomas is pictured handing Mike his cap at the Port Vale game.