The year Rovers proved they were top dogs in Bristol

1990 was a big year for football in Bristol with both City and Rovers winning promotion from the old Third Division.

However, it was Rovers who proved themselves top dogs in the city, pipping their rivals to the title with a final day win at Blackpool but for Rovers fans, the season will always be about 2 May.

Expectations were high for City to do well before the start of the season. In Bob Taylor, they had arguably the most dangerous striker in the division and were backed by relatively high crowds, boasting an average attendance of over ten thousand.

Rovers, on the other hand, were exiled at Bath’s Twerton Park and had significantly fewer resources than the red half of the city. Indeed, early in the season, Rovers sold two key players in goalkeeper Nigel Martin and leading scorer Gary Penrice to make ends meet. Nonetheless, led by ambitious boss Gerry Francis, they boasted a settled side comprising Gas legends such as Devon White and future boss Ian Holloway.

After an excellent spring run of six consecutive 2-1 wins, Rovers played host to City on Wednesday 2 May in the penultimate game of the season at ramshackle Twerton Park. In front of nearly ten thousand fans, the Gas ran out 3-0 winners thanks to goals from the previously mentioned White and Holloway to confirm promotion. The win moved them to the top spot, two points above their neighbours. Another 3-0 win at Bloomfield Road three days later clinched Rovers the title and condemned the Robins to second place.

For trivia buffs, it remains the only time two teams from the same city have won promotion from the same division in the same season.

Our View

I went to University with a mad Rovers fan in the early 90s. 

Whenever he got the chance, he’d bore me with endless stories about May 2 and all that went on during that highly charged evening.

The celebrations, the atmosphere and how City boss Joe Jordan went over to the visiting fans and asked them to stop ripping apart ‘Trumpton’ were all outlined in joyous detail.

While I am sure all Rovers fans have read about one of the most famous seasons in the club’s history many times, what harm can it do to revisit it with nothing much else going on?




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