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Rovers World Cup Connections: Spain

12 June 2018

Spain are competing in their fifteenth World Cup Finals and they were champions in 2010.

Spanish Pirates

Carlos Sánchez López, born in Madrid in July 1979, is the only Spanish born player to appear for Bristol Rovers in any competition.

A midfielder, he joined from Getafe in February 2002 and appeared in six League matches towards the end of that campaign. Leaving Rovers in July 2002 for Cartogonova, he later also played for Toledo and San Sebastian de los Reyes.

Striker Guy Ipoua may be the only other Rovers player to ply his trade professionally in Spain. After spells with Atlético Madrid, Sevilla and Alicante, he scored three goals in 15 (+9) League games with Rovers in 1998/99.

Goalkeeper Fabian Spiess, who played in three Conference matches for Rovers in the 2014/15 season, started his career at Spanish side Atlético Benamiel, whilst another goalkeeper, Andy Beasley, who played in one game for Rovers on loan in April 1993, was briefly Real Betis’ goalkeeping coach in 2016.

Spanish International Players

Three full Spanish internationals have played against Rovers, all in the same match.

When Rovers travelled to Stamford Bridge to oppose Chelsea in a League Cup tie in August 2016, the opposition fielded Pedro, the holder of 64 full caps, Cesc Fàbregas with 110 caps to his name, and César Azpilicueta, who has represented his country on 21 occasions. Chelsea won the match 3-2.

Born in Spain

Seventeen opponents who have faced Rovers in Football League encounters down the years were born in Spain.

The first chronologically was current Belgian national manager Roberto Martínez, who played for Wigan Athletic against Rovers in December 1997, followed by Isidro Diaz, who played for Wigan Athletic against The Gas in April 1998; and the only new Spanish born opponent in 2017/18 was Blackburn Rovers’ goalkeeper David Raya, who was born in Barcelona in September 1995.

However, Rovers’ opponents have played in Spain over a long period of time.

Sam Wolstenholme (1878-1933) scored for Norwich City against Rovers in November 1913 and was manager at Gimnástica de Torrelavega in 1924-26.

Fred Beaconsfield Pentland (1883-1962) played for QPR against Rovers in 1907/08 and later managed Atlético Bilbao, Real Oviedo and Atlético Madrid.

Bill Shaw (1900-74), a former Barcelona player, was in the Northampton Town side defeated 5-2 at Eastville in April 1927.

‘Mister English’, the feature of a recent book, was Willy Garbutt (1883-1964), Arsenal’s manager against Rovers in the FA Cup in February 1907 and coach at Atlético Bilbao from 1935.


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