Bristol Rovers pay tribute to 'the best' as third transfer exit confirmed

The 33-year-old has permanently signed for Harrogate Town where he has spent the past three weeks on loan from the Gas.
James Belshaw James Belshaw
James Belshaw

James Belshaw has re-joined his former club Harrogate Town on a permanent basis, for an undisclosed fee.

Belshaw joined Bristol Rovers in the summer of 2021, where he became a key player in the Gas' sensational League Two promotion, with the goalkeeper named Rovers' player of the year. The out of favor goal keeper hasn't featured for the Gas this season and first-team coach Kevin Bond paid tribute to the shot stopper.

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"I think the world of James Belshaw, I thought he was the best goal keeper in the league by a country mile the season we got promoted, I thought he was excellent on and off the field."

The 33-year-old first joined the Yorkshire side in 2017, where he was a mainstay in between the sticks for four seasons and played an integral part in their promotion to League Two in 2020. 

Belshaw was a fan favourite and club legend at the Gas, but for one reason or another fell out of favour at the Memorial Stadium. He was sent out on loan at Forest Green Rovers earlier on this season and made 12 appearances before signing for Harrogate on loan.

"For whatever reason I don't think he scaled the same heights after that or consistently didn't," said Bond. "I absolutely know not why and as a result of that he is no longer here and he's gone out and the club were prepared let him go obviously.

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"At his age if he's not playing he would need to be at club where he is playing and I would certainly understand that, so he's not playing here he'd want to be somewhere where he is and all I can do is wish him well because think he's a cracking guy."

In May 2022, Belshaw was awarded the PFA Community Champion award by the Bristol Rovers Community Trust, in recognition of his his work with them over the course of the season, including becoming health ambassador and supporting their various mental health schemes.

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