100 games for the Gaffer!

Yesterday saw Darrell Clarke mark his 100th match in charge for Bristol Rovers and what better way to mark that match with a win against the team that looking back on things probably did The Gas a favour on THAT dark day back in May 2014.

I have just watched t_74629031_clarke_sghe post match interview that Darrell had to give after the 0-1 defeat to Mansfield that saw Rovers Relegated. He struggled to hold back the tears as he apologised to us the supporters, but I like many other Rovers supporters didn’t blame Darrell for the relegation and hoped that he would be kept in charge. The following season saw Darrell Clarke build a team full of passion, commitment and togetherness. The relegation had turned out to be a blessing in disguise as everyone at the club including the fans embraced the Conference and saw it as a chance to rebuild our unique football club. The Gaffer led the Club to promotion at the first time of asking, but it wasn’t just promotion he’d won. He’d won the hearts of the fans with his realism and determination. At last after so many managers, we had found one that understood everything about Bristol rovers.

In 100 matches, Darrell Clarke has given Bristol Rovers so much. He’s given us a bearded warrior, a 20 goal a season striker, celebrations in The Vic pub, the print that b*****d moment, promotion to league two and a realistic promotion chase to league one. So after watching his post match interview on THAT day knowing how far he and Bristol rovers have come I couldn’t help but smile and realise what a journey he has taken us on. 28C9EDB800000578-3087972-image-a-5_1432050598107

As well as getting things right off the pitch, Darrell has addressed the way Bristol Rovers play football. Although a Darrell Clarke side may not always play pretty football and win every match, they will always wear the shirt with pride and give it their all. He will always tell you in his interviews that he treats each game as a new project and if that means making changes to the style of play even if it’s just won him the last match, he will do it. And if it means making changes to the line-up that’s just won him the last match, he will do it. His rotation of the squad and styles of play is what has won him 50% of the 100 matches he’s been in charge. Another big factor of his success is his man management skills. Sometimes when a team is winning, a lot of managers won’t change things and will try to keep a settled team. But Darrell Clarke has managed to keep a settled squad, because as he keeps saying, it’s a squad game not team game. The squads he builds become a family and that shows on and of the pitch.

I’m delighted Darrell Clarke has reached 100 games and I would like to thank him for this journey he is taking us on and I hope he is they man in charge to guide us through this new era. Here’s to another 100 matches in charge! UTG!


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