The Blue and White Sheep of the family
This one goes out to those Gasheads who weren’t born into a Rovers family. I salute you.
I have a perverse sense of satisfaction of being the lone Gashead in an extended family full of Sheeds. I know I’m not the only one and I find it fascinating to find others in the same predicament.
Being the only 1883er in a family really does instil a tremendous underdog and siege mentality in a person, something which I feel has benefited me in having a; ‘I don’t care what you think about me’ outlook in life. It also gives you great moments, like watching live on Sky at my Uncles house when Marcus Bignot put us 1 nil up after 28 seconds in the 2000/01 Bristol derby at Ashhhhhton. Unfortunately I wasn’t feeling as jubilant at Full-Time, but that’s all part of being a Gashead, the occasional high and then the rather impending low.
I must admit that circumstances were kind to me in becoming a Gashead. My family were now living in a Rovers heartland and it just so happened a friend of mine had just signed up for Bristol Rovers Supporters Junior Football Club (cracking tongue twister that) and had invited me along.
After taking up a Stevie Elliot role at the heart of their defence (some would argue I played more like Billy Elliot), the loyalty was there. What helped this cause was being surrounded by passionate Rovers supporters who instilled a great sense of community and camaraderie around all things BRFC.
This was further enforced when as a group, we all went to The Mem to see the big boys in action against Notts County before we headed off on football tour. At the tours trophy presentation I even shook hands with England world cup winner and former gas man, Alan Ball. I wonder if his ‘Legs were gone’ at the age of 38 when playing for us Harley Thorne? If I thought being part of a team often watched by a handful of Gashead parents was great, then being part of a crowd of 6 thousand of us was even more exhilarating.
So with all of that being taken into account, I don’t think it was that odd that I became a Gashead. What I do find astoundingly marvellous but totally bonkers however, is these kids who live in the middle of a Knowle West estate and decide they want to support the Gas and quite frankly they don’t give a f*ck. That kind of punk attitude is something I truly admire in both a football fan and a person. That what makes being a Gashead a truly great thing, sometimes it takes some balls to be one, but by god when you are it’s totally worth it.