Bristol Rovers will not wear their traditional blue and white quarters for their match against Exeter City this evening. The Gas host the Grecians at the Memorial Stadium in the second part of a busy festive period.
Rovers suffered a 2-1 defeat to Wycombe Wanderers on Boxing Day, despite Josh Coburn putting them in the lead. David Wheeler equalised and then early in the second-half Lewis Wing gave the Chairboys the victory.
Joey Barton’s men now turn their attention tonight when they take on Gary Caldwell’s Exeter. It’s the second meeting of the season between the two after a 2-2 draw at St James Park in October. Rovers salvaged a point with Ryan Loft’s stoppage-time equaliser after goals from Jevani Brown and Sam Nombe put them ahead.
Caldwell was not the man in the Exeter hot seat then, instead it was Matt Taylor who oversaw his last game before becoming Rotherham United manager. Ahead of tonight’s match, there are three places separating the two teams with Rovers holding a three-point gap over them.
Tonight’s clash will have a different feel about it though with Rovers set to ditch their home kit - albeit for one match. They will wear their away kit, which is predominantly black with a tint of teal.
The reason behind it? Rovers are supporting Shelter’s #NoHomeKit campaign which encourages clubs to wear an alternate kit to the one that they would usually wear at home. It is a campaign to highlight the lack of a home for many this Christmas. In the space of 90 minutes which is a whole football match, 25 households become homeless in England. Rovers have encouraged fans to also come out in different colours to the blue and white they’d usually be accustomed to.
“Last year it was fantastic to see fans and teams across the country come together to fight the housing emergency,” Osama Bhutta, Director of Campaigns at Shelter said.
“Our frontline services are braced for an incredibly tough winter as the cost of living crisis bites, so it’s brilliant that so many teams, fans and celebrities are stepping up and supporting #NoHomeKit this Christmas.”
It is the second season in a row that Rovers have supported the campaign. They wore their yellow and green shirt, which has been used as a third kit this season, in their 4-2 win over Rochdale last December. They are one of 14 clubs across the 92 professional teams to wear an away shirt at home, with the Premier League clubs unable to as per a rule. As of mid-day on December 19, £3,615 has been raised for the cause, coming from 52 donations.