Bristol Rovers’ former director of football Tommy Widdrington departs the club

Tommy Widdrington made a return to the dugout earlier this year. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)Tommy Widdrington made a return to the dugout earlier this year. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)
Tommy Widdrington made a return to the dugout earlier this year. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images) | Getty Images
More movement off the pitch at Bristol Rovers as another former key figure departs

Bristol Rovers’ former director of football Tommy Widdrington has departed the football club today.

Widdrington, who previously played a key part in the recruitment of both manager and players, departed the club after three-and-a-half years of service.

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The 50-year-old also managed the club twice on a caretaker basis, overseeing three matches in between the appointments of Paul Tisdale and Joey Barton.

A short statement from the club website read: “Bristol Rovers Football Club can confirm that Tommy Widdrington is leaving his role with the club.

“Tommy joined back in 2018 and has undertaken a number of roles during that time, including taking charge of the first team as a caretaker on two occasions.

“We would like to thank Tommy for all of his efforts and wish him all of the best in the future.”

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Widdrington joined the club back in 2018 having held a head of recruitment role at Coventry City, a role in which he had for less than a year.

Working with his former club, he was able to bring in both Jonson Clarke-Harris and Abu Ogogo.

The pair helped Rovers retain their status in League One but after Coughlan’s departure to lower league Mansfield Town, things started to change.

Ben Garner, who now manages Swindon Town, was appointed as his successor and in doing so, the squad was changed. Clarke-Harris was sold to Peterborough United and the likes of current first-teamers Josh Grant and Sam Nicholson were brought in.

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It didn’t have the desired impact though as Garner was relieved of his duties in November 2020.

A quick successor was found in the form of former Exeter City and MK Dons boss Paul Tisdale, who had a good resume in the division, he was also a choice of the director of football.

Widdrington was appointed to the role as director of football but at a time where strengthening was needed, only defender George Williams was brought into the club.

As a result, Tisdale’s time at the club came to an abrupt end and he was sacked in February with the club just outside the relegation zone on goal difference.

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After the appointment of Joey Barton, Widdrington did not possess as much power as he had done previously.

The current boss had the final say on transfers and recruited players he had worked with previously such as the likes of Sam Finley.

As well as Widdrington’s departure, more changes have happened off the pitch. Former commercial director Tom Gorringe replaced Martyn Starnes, who left his role as CEO at the end of last month.

There is some good news regarding the football club however. Earlier this week, a deal to buy the land of St Philip’s Marsh, home of the fruit market, was agreed, as they look for a new home.

A project for a new stadium has been in the pipeline for the last two decades and after the collapse of the UWE Stadium deal, this is welcome news to supporters.

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