The Bristol Rovers team that was named the greatest over the last fifty years - as voted for by the Gas fans

The team includes players such as Rickie Lambert, who had a prolific record at the Gas. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)The team includes players such as Rickie Lambert, who had a prolific record at the Gas. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
The team includes players such as Rickie Lambert, who had a prolific record at the Gas. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images) | Getty Images
Fans of Bristol Rovers have come out in their virtual droves to vote for what they believe is the best team over the half century

Bristol Rovers fans were asked and have delivered in naming their best XI and manager over the last 50 years and boy does it possess some quality.

Twitter page BRFC Polls, which was set up in July 2020, went through various rounds of voting, conducting a number of polls which lasted over a few weeks and months to name their best team. Players who had turned out in the blue and white quarters over the last half century were put up against one another with fans having to choose who they thought deserved an inclusion.

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Over the past few months, a total of 247,775 votes were cast with 178 players and managers included in the votes and now the team has now been whittled down to a starting 11 as well as a manager to lead it.

It includes a former player who later went on to manage the club and then manage in the Premier League with Blackpool and Crystal Palace, as well as a prolific front man who came down from Rochdale and excelled at Rovers before joining Southampton and then his boyhood team Liverpool.

The team of the last 50 years is the last action from the page who won’t be conducting any more as the page was created to bring fans together during the pandemic. Their other votes included voting for the best kit in the clubs history.

In a parting message to Gasheads, the creator Shaun said: “Thank you so much for your support with the latest polls by voting for your favourite Bristol Rovers team over the last fifty years.

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“I wanted to thank everyone who has bought into this over the last 18 months, I set it up to bring people together through lockdown.”

Without further ado, here is the team that fans have voted for. Let us know what you think and whether there are any notable omissions!

Darrell Clarke led the club from the non-league to League One, winning back-to-back promotions. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)Darrell Clarke led the club from the non-league to League One, winning back-to-back promotions. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Darrell Clarke led the club from the non-league to League One, winning back-to-back promotions. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images) | Getty Images

The 44-year-old  was first assistant manager and director of football to John Ward but took over and suffered relegation in his first act as manager.

He bounced back and led Rovers to a play-off win over Grimsby at Wembley Stadium before delivering another promotion, taking them to the third tier of English football.

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Goalkeeper: Nigel Martyn

Beginning his professional career with Rovers in 1987 after being spotted by Vi Harris and played from 1987 to 1989, making over 100 appearances. He was sold to Crystal Palace and became the first £1m goalkeeper in British football. He went on to play for Leeds United and Everton, as well as making 23 appearances for England.

Left-back: Vaughan Jones

Born in Tonyrefail in Wales, Vaughan Jones spent 13 years as a player of Bristol Rovers, making over  380 appearances, scoring 12 goals in the process in between two spells he had with the club.

Right-back: Ian Alexander

Glasgow-born right-back Alexander spent eight yeats at Rovers and made 299 appearances after joining from Cypriot side Pezorikos Larnaca. Rovers were the club where he played most of his football and he remained in the area, playing for Yate Town after his departure before managing them.

Centre-back: Steve Yates

Bristol-born Steve Yates is at centre-back having spent five years at his hometown club, where he accumulated almost 200 appearances.

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After Gerry Francis left the club after leading the team to the Third Division title, he was one of the players who followed him to Queens Park Rangers. Twenty years after leaving them as a player, he returned as the kit man to Rovers and later became first-team coach, working under Darrell Clarke but he left again in April 2017.

Centre-back: Andy Tilson

Partnering Steve Yates in the backline is Andy Tilson, who spent eight years at the club. Brought to Rovers in 1992 for £370,000, Tilson remains the club’s record signing.

Left-winger: Harold Jarman

A former professional footballer as well as a cricketer, Jarman turned out for Bristol Rovers from 1959 to 1973, which got him into the team of the last decade by just a year. Jarman made 127 appearances in 452 games and is the sixth in the all-time appearance makers, as well as third in the third-highest scorer.

Jarman also went on to manage non-league Portway Bristol before becoming first-team coach at Rovers having initially been youth coach.

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Right-winger: Ian Holloway

From the Kingswood area of Bristol, Holloway had three spells as a player at Rovers, spending in total of 12 years of his career at the club, making over 400 appearances. It was in 1990 that he was part of the Gas side that won the Third Division title. In his third spell as a player, he became player-manager and turned them from a relegation-threatened side into a play-off chasing team.

Centre-midfield: Vitalis Astafjevs

Rovers fought hard to secure the signature of Latvian midfielder Astafjevs, with Holloway pleading for him to be granted a work permit. He came as the top scorer of Latvian football and won numerous league titles in his homeland, so joining Rovers back in 1999 was somewhat of a coup. Astafjevs made over 100 appearances, scoring 16 goals before he left for Germany after being released by Ray Graydon.

A few players from Bristol Rovers’ play-off winning team are included. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)A few players from Bristol Rovers’ play-off winning team are included. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
A few players from Bristol Rovers’ play-off winning team are included. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Centre-midfield: Chris Lines

An academy product of Bristol Rovers, Lines almost fell through the cracks after being released as a teenager. Luckily he rejoined and in a seven-year spell, won promotion to League One, as well as becoming an FA Cup quarter-finalist.

Lines was sold to Sheffield Wednesday in August 2011 but made a return to Rovers in 2015 on loan from Port Vale, helping them to promotion from the National League.

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He spent four years in his second permanent spell at his boyhood club, helping them to another promotion. He is still playing now in League Two under Paul Tisdale at Stevenage.

Striker: Rickie Lambert

Joining from Rochdale on deadline day in 2006, Lambert was bought for £200,000. He returned only eight goals in his first season, but that wasn’t a problem as they were promoted.

Lambert instead excelled at a higher level and returned 13 goals in 46 appearances in his first season in the third tier with Rovers. It was then a season after he went on an unreal scoring streak and scored 29 goals winning the Golden Boot, as well as the Player of the Year award.

His form was recognised by Southampton who had been relegated and they bought him for £1m. Lambert was an instant impact and scored 117 times for the Saints through the third to the top tier of English football.

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He later played for Liverpool, before joining West Bromwich Albion and then retiring at Cardiff City in 2017.

Striker: Marcus Stewart

Another Bristol-born player in the team, though he grew up supporting the red side of Bristol, despite his playing career mainly being in the blue and white quarters. Stewart spent five years from 1991 to 1996 with the Gas and scored in the play-off final defeat to Huddersfield, which was his 24th of the campaign.

He was sold to the Terriers and spent four years there before eventually ending up back in Bristol, this time with City in 2005. Stewart rejoined Rovers in 2012 as a development coach and later worked as assistant manager to Darrell Clarke before the pair left in December 2018.

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