Thank you, Darrell
By Simon Gray
Thank you, Darrell
News broke this morning that our beloved manager Darrell Clarke had agreed a new three year deal with Bristol Rovers and I think I speak for thousands of Gasheads by firstly saying ‘Thank you Darrell for sticking with us.” The temptation of Leeds must have been huge, the club massive, the nightlife is terrific, the pints are cheaper. Clarke though, has stood by the Gas and now fans can stop panicking, that is until the inevitable Taylor rumours come back (if they haven’t already!).
What Clarke has brought to the club is unity between the fans and the club, whether it be the players or the staff, for the first time I have seen since the Trollope/Lawrence era. This was outlined in every social media post by Rovers fans I have seen over the past five days. I have read the sentence “I really hope DC stays” over a hundred times this week. Now the fans can celebrate the signing of the summer and can finally relax and watch England get knocked out of Euro 2016 to Portugal in the Quarter-Finals.
Living and working in Leeds whilst this saga went on wasn’t pleasant, as an outgoing Gashead myself, I was being taunted by the various Leeds fans I worked with. But I stood strong and believed that Clarke would stay on at the club. I just wish I was still up north so I can taunt them back. If Clarke had have taken the trip up north for pastures new then I wouldn’t have been angry or disappointed but upset that the best manager that I have seen manage the Gas in my 17 year love affair with Rovers had left. Clarke has restored a lot of fans’ faith in the club and we have attracted more and more new fans since our success. The club is getting bigger and bigger and soon enough we can expect Championship (Second Division) football in the north of Bristol once again.
I think that a special mention should go to Wael Al-Qadi and Steve Hamer who managed the situation perfectly. Bracing themselves for an approach and thus offering Clarke an improved deal was preparation that I personally think that we would not have had under Higgs and Co. and I have to say thank you to the board members for being so organised as if they hadn’t been then Clarke may not have actually agreed to sign this new deal.
Lining up against the likes of Bolton, Charlton, Sheffield United, and Coventry next season will be fantastic for me. I used to look at those clubs in envy of what they had, now I just feel sorry for them. Darrell has managed to bring our club back from the brink and even further than anyone could imagine in the timeframe given. I just hope he will stay for years to come. I’d love to say promotion is the target next season but if I am honest, I’d happily take a solid mid-table finish. I think the last three May’s have really taken it out of everyone and a quiet season would be nice before another promotion push. Don’t get me wrong I’d love it if we went up for the third consecutive season, but can we just do it before May this time please? My dissertation will be a much better grade if I’m not thinking about the play offs 24/7 like I have been the last two seasons.