Where are they now? The Bristol Rovers team relegated from League One at Portsmouth
If you go back 15 months, it is the scene of the crime where Rovers’ relegation to League Two was confirmed.
Anything other than a win would have condemned their fate and they lost 1-0 courtesy of a strike from Ronan Curtis in the first half.
The match was played behind closed doors with the COVID-19 shutting out supporters, though in this case, fans will have been glad not to have made the trip to see their team’s fate sealed.
Nowadays there is a lot more optimism around the place and Gas fans travel there with a lot more positivity around the club.
Unfortunately, though we do have to look back to what came before last season’s success. Here we take a look at what became of the Rovers XI that tasted relegation in Hampshire.
GK: Anssi Jaakkola
One of only a few players still at the club following a major overhaul. Jaakola is the second choice at Rovers these days, as a back-up to James Belshaw.
The Finnish goalkeeper has one eye on coaching and has stepped up in the absence of Tony Warner so far.
RCB: George Williams
Williams joined Rovers for an undisclosed fee in January, which was before Barton’s appointment. He went on to make 26 appearances but could not change the club’s fate and swiftly departed after their relegation. Williams made the move to Cambridge United on a free transfer, becoming a regular first-team fixture.
CB: Alfie Kilgour
Kilgour is still at Rovers and is still in the first-team picture. Kilgour struggled with injury last year but is back and ready to go. He had to settle for a place on the bench with James Connolly and Luca Hoole preferred.
LCB: Jack Baldwin
Making his last appearance in the 4-1 defeat to Exeter, most memorable for Barton’s bold promotion claim, his contract was terminated just days later. He made the move to Scottish Premiership side Ross County, playing under former Cardiff and Wigan boss Malky Mackay.
RM: Alex Rodman
Still at Rovers but not expected to be part of the first team this season after Barton made him available for transfer. He struggled with injury last season and was out for long periods. His contract was renewed by the former CEO, though his wages aren’t expected to dent a hole in the pocket.
CM: Pablo Martinez
Signed from West Bromwich Albion, first as part of their development squad, then as a first-team player, he went on to make a number of appearances, earning his chance under Barton. Following relegation, however, he failed to get back into the team and was loaned out to Gloucester City.
He was let go by the club this summer and joined National League South outfit Chippenham Town.
CM: Luke McCormick
Joined on loan from Chelsea and performed well, despite being in a side that experienced relegation. He remained in League One, joining Wimbledon on a permanent transfer.
A reunion had been spoken about earlier this summer with Rovers willing to exchange a fee but Wimbledon have so far held firm in negotiations.
LM: Luke Leahy
The 29-year-old was at Rovers for two seasons and was offered a new contract, but opted to move to Shrewsbury Town on a free transfer.
Leahy is a player Barton would have liked to have kept and may have thrived in this side. He is now captain at the Shrews.
CAM: Zain Westbrooke
He struggled for game time last season and joined Paul Tisdale at Stevenage but after his sacking and Steve Evans’ arrival, his chances were rare. Westbrook fought his way back into Rovers’ plans but that was swiftly taken away after starting against Forest Green on the opening day.
ST: Brandon Hanlan
Another player Barton wanted to keep but eventually, he was sold to Wycombe Wanderers. The 25-year-old scored against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. He scored eight goals in 43 appearances last season.
ST: James Daly
Signed by Ben Garner who worked with him at Crystal Palace, Daly scored three goals for Rovers in 35 appearances but was allowed to leave on a free transfer to Stevenage. He netted once in 19 games before joining National League outfit Woking this summer.
Erhun Oztumer (subbed on, 59)
Oztumer was on loan from Charlton Athletic and became a regular feature. He made his return to Turkey joining Fatih Karagumruk who played in the top flight. After just a few months there he moved to Adana Demirspor who currently sit top of the Turkish top flight after two games.
Zain Walker (subbed on, 75)
Similar to Martinez, he was given an opportunity as Barton tried different players and ended up racking up 15 appearances in total. He only played in the EFL Trophy last year and had loans at both King’s Lynn Town and then Chippenham. Walker is now permanently with King’s Lynn, which is managed by former director of football Tommy Widdrington.
Cameron Hargreaves (subbed on, 75)
Another player who made the move from Rovers to King’s Lynn. Hargreaves joined in 2017 but his real breakthrough came in 2019, earning him a new deal. Hargreaves though after four outings last year went on loan to Chippenham and later King’s Lynn, where he is now settled.
Mark Little (subbed on, 84)
After leaving Rovers he joined National League side Yeovil Town, but left after one season. He is now playing with Penybont who play in the Cymru Premier, the top flight of Welsh football.
Josh Hare (subbed on, 84)
Another defender brought on to change things but was unable to salvage anything against Portsmouth. Hare was signed from non-league Eastleigh and after just two seasons, returned there. He later joined Dagenham & Redbridge after spending the first part of the season with the Spitfires.