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Club News


19 April 2013

John to stay as manager of Bristol Rovers

We are delighted to announce that John Ward has agreed a new contract to remain as manager of Bristol Rovers.

Since John joined the club back in December, the club has gone from strength to strength, and keeping him on was our top priority.

We have climbed from the very bottom of the league, to a comfortable mid table position – with some very exciting matches along the way.

As well as improving the form and performance of the team, he has brought the old Bristol Rovers spirit back to the club, and helped to unite everyone from top to bottom.

John told “I am delighted; the whole aim at the beginning was to come in and try and give the club a safer position, and it never really went beyond that. Now we have done that, and in the last couple of weeks we have begun to have a chat about what else is happening, and we have signed one or two players and I have got myself settled.

“I think the Board and the Chairman want a more settled football club and I am delighted to stay, I want to stay and I want to try and help this football club further.

“The bug has got me and I have revisited my energy and enthusiasm. Going to the Mem with 7-8,000 who take part is what I want. When it gets rocking it is a good place to be.

“We have two games to go and the players have no illusions about what I want, I want to win those games and that would help us to continue in to the start of next season. 

“We still have some building to do here, if we can do it quickly then that will be great, but if we cannot we hope the fans can be a little bit patient.

“Hopefully in the next few years going into the new stadium we can produce a group of players this football club is very proud of.”

John joined the club on December 17th, when Rovers found themselves bottom of the league at Christmas.

Since then Rovers have steadily climbed the table, picking up significant wins against top sides including Rotherham, Port Vale and Exeter.

In the 22 games since he took over, Rovers have recorded 12 wins and lost just five times.

The new deal is a one year rolling contract.

Chairman Nick Higgs said: “I am delighted to have agreed a contract with John to remain at Bristol Rovers.

“He has done a fantastic job over the last four months, completely changing our fortunes and helping to retain our league status.

“We were in a terrible place when he took over before the turn of the year, and he has transformed the players and the spirit at the club.

“John understands what Bristol Rovers Football Club is all about, and that is why I wanted him to be the man to take us forward

“We have been working closely on player contracts over the last few weeks, with Matt Harrold and Michael Smith already putting pen to paper.

“We hope to have  more names signed on before the end of the season, as we continue to put things in place for the new campaign, We would like to see the majority of next seasons squad under contract, before the break, in readiness for the resumption of per-season training in June

“Our aim is certainly for promotion next season, and I believe that John is the man who can guide us to League One and beyond.”

John was previously in charge at Rovers between 1993 and 1996. He was appointed manager in March 1993, too late to stop Rovers being relegated to Division Two. 

During the 1994/95 season John led Rovers to Wembley, where they lost 2-1 in the play off finals to Huddersfield. 

Throughout his three year spell in charge he won 64 out of 149 league matches, led the club to the Southern Final of the Auto Windscreen Shield and reached that play off final. 

John began his managerial career at York City in 1991, after a playing career that saw him turn out for Lincoln, Watford and Grimsby. 

Following his spell at Rovers, he went on to manage Bristol City within a year of leaving Rovers, before becoming assistant manager at Wolverhampton Wanderers, where he went on to take caretaker charge following the departure of Colin Lee. 

John was appointed Cheltenham Town manager in 2003, guiding them to promotion to League One at the end of the 2005/06 season. 

He then moved to Carlisle United in 2007, and guided them to a play off position in his first year in charge. 

He then joined Colchester United as assistant manager under Aidy Boothroyd in September 2009. Boothroyd left to take charge of Coventry in May 2010 and John took over as manager.

For the full interview with John visit Gas Player.

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