The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO RESULTS - By Neil Fissler

BRIS­TOL ROVERS have spent most of their his­tory liv­ing in the shadow of bit­ter ri­vals City, but one night in May 1990 they gained sweet re­venge.

The Robins were on the verge of be­ing crowned Di­vi­sion Three cham­pi­ons. All they needed to do was avoid de­feat by their home­less cross-city ri­vals.

The Gas had been forced to leave their own Eastville Ground four years ear­lier be­cause of fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties and were ground shar­ing with Bath City.

But Gerry Fran­cis had built a team that was about to pull off the un­ex­pected, and lead­ing scorer David Me­hew re­mem­bers they just hung in there.

“City were top all sea­son but had a lit­tle blip to­wards the end. We kept it go­ing, then we went there in the sec­ond last game.

“If they won or drew, they were pro­moted, but if we won we were pro­moted. In the end, we beat them 3-0 at Tw­er­ton Park, Devon White scored twice and Ian Hol­loway got the other.

“Then, in the last game of the sea­son we went up to Black­pool and beat them 3-0. I scored, as did Phil Pur­nell and Paul Nixon, to win the ti­tle,” he said.

It was the first time that Rovers had fin­ished as league cham­pi­ons since the days of Bert Tann when they won the Di­vi­sion Three (South) ti­tle in 1952/53.

Me­hew be­lieves the side didn’t get the recog­ni­tion they de­served, es­pe­cially when it came to give out the end-of-sea­son awards.

“There wasn’t re­ally any ex­pec­ta­tion,” he said. “It wasn’t re­ally spo­ken about. It was more of a case of ‘let’s see what we can do, we are bet­ter than teams think so let’s keep go­ing’.

“The in­ter­est­ing thing was we didn’t have one player in the PFA team. It was all Sh­effield United, Notts County, where Neil Warnock was man­ager, and Bris­tol City. We weren’t a fash­ion­able team, but the rea­son we won the league was that we were a team.

“Ev­ery­one had a job and mine was to get on the end of set­pieces and score goals. It was bet­ter be­ing a scorer than a hard worker, which I wasn’t.”

1. Andy Reece: Mid­fielder who twice played at Wem­b­ley for Rovers. He re­turned to the West Mid­lands where he be­came a po­lice­man. He has also coached at var­i­ous Non-League clubs and scouted for Northamp­ton.

2. Paul Nixon: New Zealand in­ter­na­tional striker, now a PE teacher in Hamil­ton, Waikato.

3. Ian Will­mott: Mid­fielder who en­joyed a long ca­reer in Non­League. Still based in his na­tive Bris­tol where he is run­ning his own chi­ro­prac­tor prac­tice. 4. Steve Yates: Cen­tral de­fender, who played in the Premier League with QPR. He be­came Rovers’ kit man in 2003 af­ter a spell liv­ing in Greece and is now a first-team coach. 5. Vaughan Jones: Welsh Un­der21 in­ter­na­tional de­fender and cap­tain. Be­came a fi­nan­cial ad­viser for eight years but is now a ten­ant li­ai­son of­fi­cer for his lo­cal coun­cil. 6. Ian Alexan­der: Full-back who played in the Foot­ball League Tro­phy de­feat to Tran­mere Rovers. He lives in Wot­ton-Un­der-Edge in Glouces­ter­shire and has worked for a re­cruit­ment firm in the con­struc­tion in­dus­try. 7. Phil Pur­nell: Winger. Af­ter his ca­reer was ended by a bro­ken leg, he went to work in the in­sur­ance in­dus­try and was with Brighton Wil­liams in Bris­tol. He has also coached at Rovers’ academy. 8. Roy Dolling: Spent 38 years at the club as youth de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer, physio and goal­keep­ing coach be­fore re­tir­ing. 9. Ge­off Twen­ty­man: De­fender whose father Ge­off played for Liver­pool. Apart from a short spell as Ian Hol­loway’s as­sis­tant at Rovers, he has worked in the me­dia and is a pre­sen­ter on BBC Bris­tol. 10. David Me­hew: Eng­land youth mid­fielder whose son, Olly, plays for For­est Green Rovers. He has man­aged Glouces­ter City and Man­gots­field United and has been a sales ex­ec­u­tive for United Man­aged Ser­vices. 11. Chris­tian McClean: A striker who played in the fi­nal of the Foot­ball League Tro­phy at Wem­b­ley. Lives in his na­tive Colch­ester and is a fire­fighter for the Lon­don Brigade. 12. Peter Caw­ley: De­fender whio won a pro­mo­tion at Southend United and went into man­age­ment with Tony Adams at Wy­combe Wan­der­ers. Now works as a Lon­don cab­bie. 13. Nigel Mar­tyn: Eng­land in­ter­na­tional who was the first £1m goal­keeper in Eng­land. Spot­ted by the Rovers’ tea lady on hol­i­day. He now lives in York­shire and has worked in the me­dia. 14. Devon White: Striker who has been rel­e­gated five times in a long ca­reer. He is back liv­ing in his na­tive Not­ting­ham, where he re­turned to his pre-foot­ball trade of an elec­tri­cian. 15. Billy Clark: Cen­tral de­fender who played for For­est Green Rovers in an FA Vase fi­nal and man­aged Rovers’ youth team for three years be­fore mov­ing to Bath City as academy man­ager, where he has been since 2009. 16. Ian Hazel: Mid­fielder who has man­aged a num­ber of Non­League sides around Lon­don and has also worked in Ful­ham’s academy. He scouts for Mill­wall and runs a com­pany that hires out school fa­cil­i­ties. 17. Mar­cus Brown­ing: Wales mid­fielder who was a play-off win­ner with Bath City, Gilling­ham and Bournemouth, where he has coached the youth team. He is now run­ning a win­dow clean­ing busi­ness. 18. Ray Ken­dall: The kit­man died in De­cem­ber 2005 af­ter suf­fer­ing a heart at­tack, aged 76. He served the club for 50 years in var­i­ous ca­pac­i­ties. 19. Gary Pen­rice: A striker who was a plumber be­fore playing for QPR in the Premier League. He has scouted for a num­ber of clubs from his base in the Cotswolds. He has also worked for the Wasser­man Me­dia Group. 20. Des Bulpin: He has worked for a num­ber of clubs un­der Fran­cis and also Hol­loway and was his first-team coach at Mill­wall. 21. Gerry Fran­cis: Eng­land in­ter­na­tional mid­fielder who en­joyed a long ca­reer in man­age­ment, twice man­ag­ing Rovers. He now works in the me­dia and is first-team coach at West Brom. 22. Ge­off Dun­ford: Be­came chair­man of the club, like his father, De­nis. A busi­ness­man with in­ter­ests in a restau­rant, ho­tel and re­cruit­ment, he is still a vice-pres­i­dent at the club. 23. Ron Bradley: Still a direc­tor of then spon­sors De­sign Win­dows. 24. Tony Wood: The former com­mer­cial man­ager has lost con­tact with the club. 25. Kenny Hib­bitt: He went into man­age­ment with Wal­sall, Cardiff City (three times) and Non-League Hednesford Town. Now work­ing for the Premier League, as­sess­ing ref­er­ees. 26. Tony Sealy: For­ward who won pro­mo­tion to Di­vi­sion One with Southamp­ton. He has been the direc­tor of oper­a­tions at Hong Kong Foot­ball Club for the last 22 years. 27. Ian Hol­loway: Mid­fielder who helped Wim­ble­don win pro­mo­tion. He went into man­age­ment with Rovers in 1996 and is now in his sec­ond spell in charge of QPR, and has also worked in the me­dia.

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