Bristol Rovers

Bristol Rovers

Bristol Rovers F.C. is a professional football club in Bristol, England, which competes in League Two, the fourth tier of the English football league system. They have played home matches at the Memorial Stadium in Horfield since 1996. They spent 1897 to 1986 at the Eastville Stadium and the following ten years at Twerton Park in Bath. The club's official nickname is "The Pirates", reflecting the maritime history of Bristol. The local nickname of the club is "The Gas", derived from the gasworks next to their former home, Eastville Stadium, which started as a derogatory term used by fans of their main rivals, Bristol City, but was affectionately adopted by the club and its supporters. Cardiff City and Swindon Town are considered their second and third biggest rivals. The women's team play in the Gloucestershire County Women's League.

The club was founded in 1883 as Black Arabs F.C. and entered the Bristol & District as Eastville Rovers in 1892. The club moved to the Birmingham & District League in 1897 and then to the Southern League as Bristol Rovers in 1899. They won the Southern League in 1904–05 and were admitted to the Football League in 1920. They were placed in the Third Division South the following year and remained there until winning promotion as champions in 1952–53. They recorded their highest finishing positions in 1956 and 1959, a sixth-place finish in the Second Division, before suffering relegation in 1962. Promoted in second-place in 1973–74, they spent another seven seasons in the second tier until relegation in 1981. They won the Third Division title in 1989–90, though this time lasted just three seasons in the second tier and were relegated back into the fourth tier by 2001.

Rovers won the League Two play-off final in 2007, but relegations in 2011 and 2014 saw the club drop into the Conference Premier. They finished second in the Conference under the stewardship of Darrell Clarke and immediately regained their Football League status with victory in the 2015 play-off final. They followed up this success by securing promotion out of League Two at the end of the 2015–16 season. Rovers have won the Gloucestershire Cup 32 times, the Third Division South Cup in 1932, the Watney Cup in 1972, and have been Football League Trophy finalists two times.