16.03.23 Obituary Don Megson


We were saddened to learn that Don Megson, the former Rovers player and manager, passed away peacefully in his sleep at the age of 86.

Don was already a legend with Sheffield Wednesday when he arrived at Rovers in March 1970, having appeared in 386 league games for the club and skippered them in the 1966 FA Cup Final, when they were beaten by Everton.

Playing at left-back for Wednesday, he helped them reach the quarter-finals of the Fairs Cup and to Football League runners-up behind Spurs in 1961.

While full England honours eluded him, he represented the Football League against the Italian League in November 1960 and captained a Football Association XI in New Zealand in 1969.

When Wednesday played a friendly against Brazilian side Santos, at Hillsborough in October 1962, Don marked Pele in a game won 4-2 by the Brazilian side in front of a crowd in excess of 49,000.

His arrival at Rovers as player/coach on a free transfer, after serving Wednesday with distinction, was regarded as an excellent piece of work by the Rovers board and management and he made his league debut for the club on 12th March 1970 in a goalless draw against Orient, becoming the 408th player to represent Rovers in the Football League.

His 31 league appearances for Rovers came at the end of an illustrious playing career, but it was while at Eastville he launched his managerial career. Appointed as manager in July 1972, he succeeded Bill Dodgin and took charge of the side for the Watney Cup tournament that summer.

Having successfully navigated games against Wolves and Burnley to reach the final of that competition, he saw Rovers lift the Trophy with a 7-6 win on penalties in the Eastville final in only his third game in charge.

His aim, though, was to take Rovers out of what was then the Third Division and establish them at the next level. Slowly, but surely, he built a squad capable of achieving that feat, though he had to be patient as Rovers finished in fifth place in his first season in charge.

Having ended that campaign on a high, his side went on a 27-match unbeaten run at the beginning of the 1973/74 campaign and was promoted by virtue of finishing second to Oldham Athletic.

Unfortunately, the return to Second Division following an absence of 12 years proved to be a struggle and the lack of investment in the squad saw the side seemingly always battling against relegation.

In November 1977, Don left to manage Portland Timbers in the North American Soccer League. He remained in charge there until 1979 and he briefly managed AFC Bournemouth in 1983.

In October 2014, he released his biography ‘Don Megson - A Life in Football.’

His passing will be felt keenly, not only by supporters of Sheffield Wednesday and Bristol Rovers, but by football fans everywhere and thoughts and condolences are extended to his family and friends.

Words: Keith Brookman.

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