Ray Warren becomes the fifth inductee to our Hall of Fame, in partnership with the Retro Rovers Podcast...
One-club men are nearing extinction in the modern game, so centre-half Ray Warren’s Rovers career stands out as exceptional service to the club he joined from Suburban League fare, a worthy addition to our Hall of Fame.
Warren's incredible goal return as a schoolboy footballer, finding the net 52 times in his 1930-31 season, 56 the year after, and another 67 the season after that, prompted major interest. Warren floated between clubs after wartime, featuring for Leeds, and the Gas' cross-city rivals in a handful of games, but he truly settled into footballing life north of the River Avon, becoming a fixture in Rovers’ sides for a decade once peacetime football resumed.
Captaining the side for a large duration, he helped develop a locally-born team, reaching the quarter-finals of the FA Cup in 1950-51 and securing the Third Division (South) championship in 1952-53.
Warren was part of a select few across football who has featured in every position, including goalkeeper, after Jack Weare’s injury at Cardiff in November 1946.
A defensive partnership formed of Jackie Pitt, Ray Warren and Peter Sampson was arguably the greatest in Rovers’ history and Warren, undeniably one of the Gas' finest servants, equalled Jesse Whatley’s club record of being an ever-present in five separate seasons.
As a defender, a goal from open play is a rarity, but Warren managed it twice in one fixture back in 1949, as he smashed two past Notts County to win 3-2 on New Years Day.
His relatively high goal-scoring return, including eleven in that 1948/49 campaign, is partly explained by a prolific ability from the penalty spot, his seven successful spot-kicks in 1948-49 remaining a club record until equalled by Jeff Hughes in 2009-10. Ray's passion for the quarters was never feigned as he consistently pushed on those around him, setting standards for his colleagues. A player who battled with the club through thick and thin, he is truly worthy of Hall of Fame status.
Following his retirement from football in 1956, Ray Warren, like so many former-Rovers players, ran a public house, in his case, The Trident in Downend.
As part of the Hall of Fame project, we are looking to hear from the fortunate Gashead's who witnessed Warren's playing days, or those who had stories passed on of his quality. In these difficult lockdown times, we encourage supporters to pick up the phone, or zoom call family members to discuss his legacy.
Please screen record these chats and send them on to firstname.lastname@example.org, these will form part of videos to be used on social media and the big screen when the family of Warren attend a game after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
As mentioned in the initial Hall of Fame announcement, artist 'Tonz' will be creating unique artwork for each of the 10 initial inductees which will decorate the Thatchers Bar as a permanent reminder of the Hall of Famer's legacy.
Finally, we would like to remind supporters this selection is initial, those not selected over the coming weeks stand plenty of chance to be included in the future, please respect the carefully considered selections from the Retro Rovers Podcast panel.
On Warren joining the Hall of Fame, Retro Rovers Podcast said 'Ray Warren was one of the names that simply could not be omitted from the first ten in the Hall of Fame, and we are delighted to reveal his induction today.
"His incredible career record across 15 years with Rovers tells it’s own story. Undoubtedly one of the most important players and perhaps greatest ever captain in the club's history, Ray was Bristol Rovers personified. A true leader and legend, he was an esteemed centre half but also played in every position for the club including goalkeeper! Ray's passion, loyalty and commitment to the club marks him as one of our absolute greats and another very worthy inductee to the Bristol Rovers Hall of Fame."