Bristol Rovers owner on his ‘lucky’ lasagne - and what happened when Northampton refused to serve it

Bristol Rovers
Bristol Rovers have Stevenage’s catering staff to thank for a superstition that has brought them success

Bristol Rovers are riding a wave of success with eight wins in their last eight League Two matches with a hunger and a desire for more… as well as a popular pasta dish.

The Gas, now only outside the automatic promotion spots on goal difference after a crucial win at rivals Northampton Town, are living up to those early expectations.

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Whilst a lot of the winning run can be attributed to the tremendous work done by Joey Barton, his staff and the players, there is also some superstition attached to this winning run that has seen them shoot up the table.

Wael al-Qadi, the popular owner of the football club, who on multiple occasions this season has funded free coaches for supporters at away matches, has had a meal that has brought him and his side the success they crave.

Lasagne was on the menu at Stevenage’s Lamex Stadium, as was a 4-0 win for Barton’s men. The same plate was at Leyton Orient away, in which they won 2-0.

So when he made a return to the Memorial Stadium and it wasn’t on offer, the winning run of Wael came to an end with a 1-1 draw.

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Fortunately, Iain Paterson, the head of catering at the club, added it for the Barrow game in which they won with Antony Evans making up for the fans lack of dinner with a tasty treat of a goal.

Explaining to BBC Radio Bristol how it all started, he said: “We were away at Stevenage and they had lasagne for dinner and I ate that, we won 4-0. Again at Orient away, again it was lasagne and we won 2-0.

Wael with the lasagne delivered to him at Northampton before last Saturday’s gameWael with the lasagne delivered to him at Northampton before last Saturday’s game
Wael with the lasagne delivered to him at Northampton before last Saturday’s game | Bristol Rovers

“In our next home match it was Exeter at home, there was no lasagne and we didn’t win, we drew 1-1.

“There was Barrow, coincidentally and it was lasagne again. This is strange, if we win today then lasagne has something to do with this.

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“I told the chef if we win today then we’ll have lasagne for the rest of the season. So we won and the next game was Harrogate, no lasagne so I made a fuss and accused the chef of jeopardising our winning streak.

“So I went back into my box and he came out with a small plate of lasagne. We had that and we won 3-0.”

From a superstition that started on the road, last week Wael hit a roadblock as the Cobblers, perhaps aware of it, refused his polite request.

With an unbeaten run in his eyes hinging on the pre-match meal, CEO Tom Gorringe worked his magic and came to the rescue by sourcing one.

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Ordering a take away lasagne, a Deliveroo driver rocked up at the stadium and the package was secured before being brought to Wael’s box.

And it would turn out to be another great day in Rovers’ improved season with 1,400 Gasheads and the board witnessing an early Harry Anderson goal that won them a crucial game.

“I thought let’s try and get a request in for Northampton to have lasagne served,” he said. “They did their due diligence and they refused us the lasagne there, so Tom Gorringe worked his magic and kept the streak going.

“It’s fun as long as they continue this winning streak. In all seriousness credit to Joe, the coaching and backroom staff and of course the players for putting together this winning streak.

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“Long may it continue so the fans can enjoy it and feel proud of their team.”

There has now been a suggestion from the Head Chef that there could be a Lasagne Pie added to the pre-match menu for supporters at the Mem.

Already the club serves local pastries from Piglets Pantry such as sausage rolls and pies, so a new item to the board, should go down a treat, though there is a note of caution from the Rovers backer.

“If they do, they’ll have to go and run it off the next day, trust me! You need to look out for that and hit the gym as much as I can,” Wael joked.

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With Rovers away at Carlisle United at the weekend, preparations have already been made should those at Brunton Park go with a different dish.

Wael has already sourced his meal in nearby Newcastle as the Gas ascend to Carlisle, the longest away journey that the Gas will make this season.

He revealed: “Luckily my best friend lives in Newcastle and he’s going to pick me up from the train station and drive me across to Carlisle. I’ve asked him about this game.

“It’s all fun as long as we keep on winning, let’s all enjoy it.”

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