ROVERS CAN COME BACK – IN A WHILE
DOWN in our part of the country, there was always a feeling Bristol Rovers were too big a club to go down.
And it only intensified after a 2-1 win over Wycombe in the penultimate game put them three points clear of trouble.
So it came as a great shock to see them drop into the Conference for the first time. It just shows you how fine the margins are.
We all know that manager John Ward moved upstairs with eight games to go. Quite what happened behind the scenes is anyone’s guess – whether that was John’s idea or the board’s idea, I don’t know. It was a brave decision but, in retrospect, it may not have been the right one.
While I think Darrell Clarke is a good coach who did very well at Salisbury, to be thrown straight into a relegation scrap with so much at stake was a big ask for someone so inexperienced.
I go back to my time at Torquay, when I dropped out of the top flight to manage them for 17 games in 1993. Even for me, it was an incredibly stressful experience, so I find it surprising they went that way.
Ultimately, the directors have to take responsibility. They are the ones who make the decisions and, like Norwich in the Premier League, changing manager so late in the season looks like it was the wrong one.
They’re in a very unenviable position now. Like Luton before them, Rovers will be a big scalp in the Conference.
You look at the teams,the facilities, the money some teams have in Non-League and it’s clear every one of those 46 games will be hard.
But everybody has a cycle and they have to stop feeling sorry for themselves. No team has a divine right to League football and if the fans realise that and stay behind their team, they’ll get back up. It might just take a while.