Links with the clubs we play next season
Rovers have links with every Conference club, though it has to be said that some of them are somewhat tenuous!
In this brief look at the teams we will face in the season ahead, we travel from Aldershot Town to Chester City.
It’s not that long ago we faced each other in League Two, as goals from David Clarkson and Eliot Richards gave us a 2-2 draw in an away game against the Shots on Boxing Day 2012.
A number of players have appeared for both sides and four former Rovers players have been on the staff at Aldershot, including former Rovers midfielder Gary Waddock, who had a spell as manager at Aldershot.
The links with Alfreton Town are less obvious, though former City player and Rovers loan striker John Akinde top scored for them last season.
We have never played Altrincham in a competitive fixture, but among the players who have turned out for both Rovers and ‘Alty’ are Norman Sykes and Rob Trees.
We travel to play Barnet for our second game of the new season, which means we will be visiting their new ground as they have moved to the Hive, from Underhill, since we last met them in League Two.
On that occasion a thrilling game at the Mem saw Rovers triumph 2-1 with Fabian Broghammer and Ryan Brunt netting against the side then managed by Edgar Davids.
Perhaps the best known player to have appeared for both clubs is Giuliano Grazioli, a star in his one season with Rovers, a legend at Barnet!
Not sure where to go with the Braintree connections, so we’ll stick with Christian McClean, a member of Rovers promotion winning squad in 1990 who later played for Braintree and was at the Mem for the final game of last season.
There are a number of links with Chester City, one of them being former Rovers and England defender Keith Curle, who had a spell as manager with our Conference rivals.
The list also includes current Everton manager Roberto Martinez, who appeared for Chester in a goalless draw between the sides at the Mem on 20th January 2007. I did say that some of the links were tenuous!
That concludes part one and over the next day or so we will continue with the other clubs we will be locking horns with next season.
Grateful thanks to Stephen Byrne for his help in compiling this article; a full list of Conference connections will be included in next season’s matchday programme ‘The Pirate’.