Where Are They Now? The Bristol Rovers side of 1969/70
by Neil Fissler
WAYNE JONES admits that every one of his six seasons at Bristol Rovers appeared to feature something newsworthy, either promotion, a near-miss or success in cup competitions.
He was tipped for big things just after breaking into the Gas’ first team before he had even celebrated his 18th birthday.
Jones, a highly-talented inside-forward, helped the club finish third in Division Three in 1970 and, within a year, he was winning his only Wales cap.
He played a leading role in helping the club reach the quarter-finals of the League Cup, just months before his chance on the international stage.
Jones also helped the club win the Watney Cup in 1972, before a knee injury cut short his promising career in December 1972, only two months after his 24th birthday.
He cannot, however, put his finger on why they missed out to Orient and Luton Town after appearing to collapse in the run-in when promotion was well within their reach.
Ironically, in the season after he retired, 1973-74, they did manage to win promotion on goal difference from York, finishing a point behind champions Oldham Athletic.“I joined the club at 17 and only played for Bristol Rovers,” he said.
“I really enjoyed it. Looking back, I was that young I didn’t really know anything else.
“Even if we were fourth or fifth bottom every year, I would have enjoyed it. A young lad from south Wales couldn’t have helped but enjoy it, whatever happened with the results.
“I had to finish at 24, so I had only six or seven years as a player, but they were quite eventful. I remember some of the cup runs we had were special.
“We were always there or thereabouts in the league, so we were quite successful, but the cup runs probably masked the fact we couldn’t get promotion.
“It is hard to say why we didn’t get promoted. We changed managers a couple of times and it wasn’t until 1974 that we did get promotion with Don Megson as manager.
“I don’t think you could put your finger on any individual person or any one thing.
“It was just one of those things that we missed out in a few years.
“In the first season I was at the club, in 1967, we went to Watford either for the last game of the season or very late on, needing to win.
“We went 1-0 up and ending up losing 2-1 or 3-1.
“Watford, I think, finished third that season and we just missed out, so we had some very close encounters.
“But sometimes that happens, doesn’t it? But it is all a long time ago, so I cannot remember exactly why we didn’t go up.”
- Stuart Taylor. A central defender who managed Bath City and worked as a plumber before running a pub, the Beaufort Hunt, in Down End, Bristol.
- Dick Sheppard. A goalkeeper who joined a light industrial company in Bristol and then coached the Rovers goalkeepers. He was working for a double glazing firm when he died in October 1998, aged 53.
- Alex Munro. Finished his career as a left-back in South Africa, where he worked as a sales representative, but he retired to St Austell, Cornwall, two years before his death in May 2009, aged 64.
- Tom Stanton. A full-back who started an antiques business in Bristol and then coached the Rovers youth team before working for a Bristol executive recruitment company.
- Laurie Taylor. The goalkeeper managed a sports shop in his native Exeter, before becoming a bookmaker and then a postman in Crediton, Devon
- Robin Stubbs. Centre-forward was married to Generation Game hostess Anthea Redfern. He settled in Torquay and was a salesman, selling plastic and paper, until retiring.
- Bobby Campbell. The former Dumbarton, Rovers and Gloucester manager settled in Bristol and scouted for the club. He died in May 2009, aged 86.
- Bobby Jones. The former striker went into management and coaching locally with a variety of posts. He took Bath City into the Conference and is now retired.
- Ken Ronaldson. An inside- forward who was a former electrical engineer. He settled in Kent where he became a policeman for many years until retiring for a second time.
- Lindsay Parsons. A full-back who started his management career with the Rovers youth team. He went on to manage Cheltenham Town and has worked closely with Tony Pulis, acting as Stoke’s chief scout.
- Johnny Petts. A wing-half who, after a spell coaching and managing Northampton, became a driver for Flair Printing in the town. His son, Paul, also played for Rovers.
- Bryn Jones. A midfielder who settled in Yeovil, where he ended his playing career and went to work for the biggest employer in the area, Westlands, but has now retired to Weston-Super-Mare.
- Gordon Marsland. A left-half who became a salesman in the motor trade, before working as a sport sales agent in the North West until his death in January 2009 aged 63.
- Bill Dodgin. After stepping down as manager in 1972, he reverted to his previous role as chief scout until he retired in 1983. He lived in Gateshead until his death in October 1999, aged 90.
- Ray Graydon. A winger who managed Walsall and Rovers, as well as holding a number of coaching posts. These days, he is based in Eastleigh and is a Premier League referees’ assessor.
- Bobby Brown. This inside-forward now lives in Bristol and combined coaching at Non-League sides Yate Town and Winterbourne with working as a salesman.
- Frankie Prince. A midfielder who spent ten years doing a variety of jobs including greengrocer and odd job man before becoming community manager at Torquay United until retiring in September 2014.
- Harold Jarman. Winger played county cricket for Gloucestershire. He has held a number of management, coaching and scouting positions from his base in his native Bristol.
- Joe Gadston. A centre-forward who was Brentford’s youth coach and community officer, later running a holiday apartment business in Swanage. He then taught sport at Sunninghill Prep School in Dorchester.
- Wayne Jones. A midfielder who qualified as a physiotherapist and has worked for a number of clubs, latterly with Newport County, as well as having his own private clinic.
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