Sky Bet League 2
Saturday 22th August 2015
Kick Off: 3pm
STADIUM: The Memorial Stadium, Filton Avenue, Horfield, Bristol BS7 OBF
TELEPHONE: 0117 909 6648
CLUB COLOURS: Blue and White
NICKNAME: The Pirates or Gas Heads
KEY PERSONNEL: Currently in charge at The Memorial is Mansfield born Darrell Clarke, who has held the reins since March 2014. He had previously managed at Salisbury Town and as an attacking midfielder played for Mansfield Town and Hartlepool United.
BRIEF DIRECTIONS BY ROAD: M4 until its junction 19. Turn onto the M32 and carry on until its junction 2. Take the third exit at the roundabout signposted Horfield and Southmead where you will begin to see signs for the Memorial Stadium. Carry on for approx. a mile and a half until you reach traffic lights and crossroads. Turn left here into Filton Avenue where you will find the ground almost immediately on your left. These directions are courtesy of Bristol Rovers FC.
CAR PARKING: Street parking is available but very difficult unless you arrive early. The club recommends Muller Road or Gloucester Road, which will leave you with a 10-minute walk to the ground.
DIRECTIONS BY TRAIN: A London Paddington to Bristol Parkway train will take about 90 minutes. Bristol Parkway is two miles from the ground and the 73 and 74 buses run past it. A taxi will cost around £6 so grab a chum or two and share.
EATING AND DRINKING LOCALLY: The Queen Victoria, which is a five minute walk from the ground is the best bet for a pre-match beer and a snack. However there are numerous pubs in the vicinity of the stadium. The Social Club is available to away fans in small friendly numbers according to my spies.
GROUND DESCRIPTION: The Memorial Stadium, formerly owned by Bristol Rugby Club became Rovers’ home in in 1996 after a ten-year ground share with Bath City at Twerton Park. Previously they played at Eastville Stadium but more of that later. The capacity is around 12,000 with about 4,000 seats. The West Stand is a strange looking affair with its prominent executive boxes along the roof the focal point with a fairly small seated area behind a paddock of terracing. Adjacent and to the left is the Family Stand whose roof was bought and paid for by the Supporters’ Association. Opposite sits the tall and narrow cantilevered Dribuild Stand, which has a slightly larger seating area behind a bank of unsheltered terracing. If you suffer from vertigo it is not recommended that you sit in the back rows, as the rake is very steep. Either side of it is open terracing part of which will be our home for the afternoon along with some seating in the South Stand- if it is a wet day bring a brolly or suffer the consequences. To the left of the DAS Stand is the home fan stronghold the Blackthorn End, a low fully covered terrace. At the other end of the pitch is the aforementioned South Stand, which is a similar bank of seats to Underhill’s old Montgomery Stand only larger. It runs for 2/3rds of the touchline from corner flag to far edge of the 6 yard box.
ADMISSION PRICES: Adults £16, Over 65s/Students £9, U16s £8. Depending on the category our game is given, i.e. A or B, these prices may be rounded up by a further £2.
PREVIOUS MEETINGS AND MEMORIES: Our last visit was in November 2014 when a Luisma Villa Lopez goal was not enough in a 2-1 defeat in front of over 6,000 paying customers! A rather satisfying visit to Rovers was in November 2011 when Izale McLeod and Mark Byrne goals secured a 2-0 in front of over 5,000 spectators. I recall in November 1983 two months into his Barnet career and Nicky Evans was at his most majestic at Rovers old ground Eastville in a replayed FA Cup 1st Round tie. We lost 3-1 but Nicky’s goal and performance was perfection bearing in mind the pitch condition that evening. There is also some very grainy film of this game available on YouTube. The Pirates made an offer for Evans of probably £3,000,000 or even more after the game but he chose to stay at Underhill, truly the master in the box. The wonderful exhibition from the Barnet midfield and Gary Phillips in goal in the first contest at Underhill helped end the game 0-0 and the attendance was given as 2,650.
CELEBRITY WATCH: Junior Agogo and Giuliano Grazioli played for both clubs and would have made a splendid partnership at Underhill. Lord Jeffrey Archer lived locally and can be seen most mornings picking up his copy of the Daily Mirror in News ‘n’ Chews. Top 60s and 70’s British songwriting team Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway (I’d Like To Teach the World To Support Barnet was one of their best) came from these parts as did Rod Hull & his Emu.