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THE TRUE, HARD PUNCHING, NEAR OUTLAWED STORY BEHIND THE GAS TITLE AND THE TRUE ORAL TRADITIONS ABOUT OUR MAGNIFICENT AND SPECTACULAR PIRATE TITLE.

Gashead is the name given to Bristol Rovers fans. It was originally coined as a derogatory term by Bristol City fans, but was adopted with a mixed bag of enthusiasm by the Rovers faithful and now forms part of the Jackal and Hyde image front of our club, right along side with our teams distinctive blue-and-white quartered shirts.

On the surface, the name stems from the fact that Rovers' old ground, the Eastville Stadium, was situated right next door to the old Eastville gasworks and the deep smell of the gas would very often wafted across the pitch during matches. From the mid 1970s and for a number of very interesting reasons, some of our fans began to embrace the term gashead as being a banner name for the fans themselves and this eventually led to many of our fans in the 1990s to start referring to both our club and our team as being The Gas too and with that, there you pretty well have the standard set story as it now stands. If only things could be that simple... So get ready people, to hold onto your pants as we go down the real memory lane and discover some real home truths about Bristol Rovers F.C, of our fans and of our eldest, near forgotten traditions, plus our old fan concepts which were almost completely swept aside by all of this gas mania from the late 1980s onwards.

AN IN DEPTH LOOK AT THE GAS BACKGROUND WITH SOME HAUNTING PIRACY TOO!

The full, true story of what lay behind our adoption of the Bristol City fans inspired gas title, by first our young fans and then followed by our club, has to be one of the most interesting, psychologically strange, football culture stories going and therefore, utterly deserves to be heard properly and to be fully understood by all of our modern fans of today, because deep down within this story there are many troubling things that have been hidden away from our supporters for far, far too long.

The first clue in demonstrating that there is something slightly out of place with the pre-set in stone story, begins with the myth bust, that all Rovers supporters were so overjoyed with the gifted Ashton gate, Gas title, that they could hardly wait to get their hands on this so-called, iconic word! The great problem with following that completely mythical version is that it totally fails to explain properly why, if all of that was true, had not our earlier, old guard Rovers fans followed that same line of thinking at a far much earlier date?

Something is clearly out of step here. Why had the Rovers, old guard fans resisted the City fans inspired term for about 30 odd years before the term actually began to be adopted into our ranks? Something had clearly happened to us, as a group of supporters which created a sudden mood swing in our thinking and it is in this true, near forgotten story and its consequences that we will be looking at, here in this article. The story in itself is not all together a bad one and in all truth is far, far more interesting tale than the skipping myth which has endlessly, troubled both the minds of some of our own fans, let alone many outsiders for decades... Their key and never ending question being, why would our club want to promote itself to the nation with a derogatory term that had been created by the fans of our nearest rivals... "The Fans of Bristol City of all people" ? Their question is a totally fair one too.         

As far as it can be traced back, based upon the oral traditions of the elder city fans themselves, questioned right back in the 1970s, the Gas, as a scornful term had first been invented in the harsh, post war years of the late 1940s as a low level, back street, scorn title, originally designed by the young  city fans  to mockingly point out to, both our supporters and to the general public that the smell of the whole Eastville area, was due not only to the position of the old Eastville gas works, but also by the presence of the Rovers ground right next door to it!   This little story, in one single stroke, utterly destroys the late 1980s myth ( or just plain lie ) created by some of our own clubs intellects, that our club had been known as being the Gas since 1883!!! The clear motive for this myth was to bolster, sharpen up and clean up the then newly created Gas image front before the eyes of the general public... The truth be dammed and the lie begins to take shape!

From the point of view of many of the Rovers fans of the time, this desperate need of the City fans to inflict such an ugly image front upon our club had come about, partly because the Rovers had potentially a far more inspiring commercial and spiritual image front than they had and this notion simply, both troubled and aggravated their fans. Our true 'Pirate' image and theme with its very powerful link to Bristol's history had long been understood, by at least our own supporters from around 1920 onwards (But troublingly, not by our clubs elite), to have massive commercial powers, which could in turn, be shaped into a fantastic, world class advertisement tool, which could only help to give ourselves higher commercial profile and lift our club up to far higher things. The very first thing that struck the minds of many of our old guard fans, was how an inspiring, Bristol friendly, related image front, might actually help with the recruitment of new supporters to the club. If only that wild cat concept could ever get out of the bag, in front our own board members and they in turn, have had the brains to realize it, then Bristol City F.C own image front would have been well pushed to breaking point to even get close to us, in matching our themes spiritual and commercial power. However if we knew all this, then let's make no mistake about it here, so did the city fans too! Hence therefore, in the face of this possible, commercial image threat, the Gas scorn title, would be slowly developed over the years, into being a very powerful and highly effective device, to counter these dangerous idea's of our old fans; because in all truth and lets face it, all the city fans had left to them was their eye popping, Robin's title, which in all truth, meant very little to them, to Bristol or anyone else for that matter. However and it must be said here, that their Robins title did create for us, one very good song which can still be heard on the terraces to this very day... and lets be totally fair about it here, THEY NEVER LIKED THAT ONE MUCH EITHER!                                                       **********************************************************************************************************************

To give the modern reader some sort of real feel for what was really going on here in the background of these misty times, a translation given by young City fans (Eastenders) in the very late 1960s for the words true meaning, had the gas word down as,"the club that stinks"!  What had enhanced that scorn titles verbal power even further, came when it was openly voiced, with the act of pinching their noses while in the presence of Rovers fans. and slowly hisssssing out the word.... "G A S S S S" or that other totally moronic phrase "I CAN SMELL G A S S S S"!  The insult was 100% crystal clear to utterly everyone and remember here, that this all went on, in the streets, in the work places and on the school playgrounds, 24-7, month after month, year after year, it was a relentless mental pounding and a true Rovers fan had to be covered in some hard bark to withstand this, believe me!  Naturally this ugly, little mental disorder or habit, gained the city fans, to their ever lasting fame a colourful, counter punch, scorn title back from the young, more hard headed Rovers fans (Tote Enders) who crowned them back as being "The S**T"... the words full, unforgettable translated meaning in 1969 was, "S**t fans, s**t club with a s**t mentality"! (See postscript 'B') This already very hostile mood that existed between the two sets of young fans was given extra fire and fury by the clash of these two scorn titles which properly started, back in April 1969 and was very true of those highly volatile, yet very exciting times when the chanting forces of youth culture once ruled the terraces like defending armies. For good or for bad this was the age when thousands of chanting, hard nosed 'TOTE END BOYS' at street level, became a respected, independent cult force in its own right, in the football world and known utterly everywhere. The strange, united, almost unheard of blend, of both the Skinhead and the Greaser elements ( 'The Tramps' ) which once stood, side by side of each other, on that famous terrace, made the Tote End, stand out even more in peoples minds and tearful and truthful City fans from that distant era, with more then a touch of relief, will quickly take their hats off to that one and say  Amen!!! OH, FOR ANOTHER TOTE END, THE WHOLE SPIRIT OF THE PLACE WAS FAR, FAR ABOVE WHAT OTHER NORMAL OLD, THIRD DIVISION CLUBS HAD AND THE CITY'S OLD EASTEND BOYS UTTERLY DREADED US.                                       ***************************************************************************************************************

With this background of blistering and intensive scorn, now freely running both ways between the two sets of hot-headed, young supporters; our fans now cast an eye on what our clubs own leaders were going to do to show a bit of pluck and spirit here...because it was most desperately needed and with the help of the local media the whole of Bristol was now very much in tune as to what was going on between the two sets of fans. Surely the time had come when the long talked about, bigger then life, historic, Pirate image front could be brought to life here and totally overpower all this backstreet madness with outstanding colour and spirit...the very thing the city fans had feared for so long. [See on Gasopedia, "Bristol Rovers & the Skull & Cross Swords dream"] Well that fantastic image tool or device was never used and as time went by, slowly our fans lost faith in the power of what many had once believed could have been footballs greatest image front...an image front, which if ever it had been used in a skilful manner, could have not only had commercially promoted our club, off to the general public and the business community in a highly attractive and competent manner, but could also have been used spiritually, to promote the whole swashbuckling heritage of Bristol on to the nation in absolutely spectacular fashion. Nevertheless, in the absence of our clubs leaders at that time, showing any degree of fighting spirit, brains or commercial common sense on this matter in front of the general public, to our own fans and to the fans of Bristol City, our club almost became an imageless face to everyone...a telling void had been created in the image front of Bristol Rovers F.C and none of this was the fault of our own fans and nor may I say, even of this fantastic image front itself, which amazingly, nobody from within the club seemed to have the brains to understand, just how to use properly!!! The mental gap on this subject, between our old guard fans views and our clubs commercially lackluster owners was absolutely striking here.

The term, 'The Gas' did not begin to enter into the Rovers terminology book until the tail end of the mid 1970s and appeared in the form of the " WE ARE THE GAS, WE ARE THE GAS " chant, sang by a section of the Tote, very interestingly, around the same time that Bristol City F.C completely overshadowed us in the public's perception by finally reaching the high watermark in their history and punk music, with its raw, 'I DON'T GIVE A SHIT' culture began to take hold of the nations youth and I for one, very personally believe that both of these events, when put together also massively influenced, just why the ragtag Gas title was picked up by some of our fans at this particular moment in time. With this background in tow, the myth and the truth of just why our young fans began to adopt the once hated scorn title, has long stood on either side of the River for years.

As for the feelings of the city fans themselves on this subject. well understandably, they were totally amazed that we had done this, half of them being totally delighted that most of our fans had mentally given in to their view of us, as they saw it, while the other half, of them scornfully snorted back at us...where is your self respect? The smooth running myth of the Gas, which has always side stepped all this in depth background, started to take shape as soon as things began to calm down between the two sets of fans and even with some of our own fans on this matter and the myths greatest victim has always been the true story which all Rovers fans have always had a total, god given right to know...'Hallelujah'!

With the Rovers move to Bath in 1986 the Gas word was further reinforced by the sight of another gas works just a few miles further up the Lower Bristol Road. At around this period, a very rash, run away move was made by a few of our brilliant, highly intelligent, Gashead intellects, to try to overthrow our clubs traditional, nickname as the Pirates and replace it as the Gas... an act to simply justify in public, why we were using the City fans inspired term in the very first place. This idea went one step to far and was understandably rejected by the club. The Pirate nickname is a true creation of our own club (not the fans of Bristol City) from very early times and with its great link to Bristol's history, that made it far to big an object to be destroyed in this unthinking, well over the top way.  How on earth would that have looked to the people of Bristol or let alone, the fans of Bristol City? A total sell out on all our clubs true traditions and an utter victory to the reds in transforming our club completely and utterly over to their values, which they had created for us...all those years ago!!!

This utterly strange, anti-pirate sentiment which took hold of many gasheads during the Twerton years, resulted in a noticeable departure in our whole vision of ourselves. The 'original Eastville gasheads' who started to appeared on the Tote End in the second half of the 70s had very correctly, only taken on the gashead title as a verbal badge for themselves. The club and the team however, remained very safely and loyally known as being the Pirates, which showed great respect to our clubs true traditions... With our clubs traumatic move to Twerton however, there was a complete and utter break down in all these older values, which led more and more gasheads to believe that everything; that is the fans, the team and the club were all the gas, which began to show up publically, in the way our fans chanted about our club. This was the clear moment when our brilliant, far less than knowledgeable, Twerton, gashead intellects ( ' our gas eggheads' ) began to unwittingly, destroy the true traditions of our club and of our own identity in preference of mimicking like puppets, the very same (virus) gas tradition that had been set down by those snorting, young city fans from the late 1940s onwards... "Everything Rovers is G A S S S S S" was the City fan's, smelly, dismissive view of us and almost unbelievably, some of our Gasheads have swallowed that lemon, hook, line and sinker! Please allow me to put this in perspective for everyone and most important of all, for all of our young fans; every time our fans sing or chant for the Rovers, again unwittingly. they are chanting for the Pirates, because like it or not, by both true club tradition, by oral tradition and by seafaring definition, to be a Rover is to be a Pirate and that's why the whole, stupid attempt to overthrow our swashbuckling title, during the Twerton era was totally 'nonsensical', bar they get rid of our beloved Rovers title too. Hence to attack or belittle our Pirate title is a spiritual attack upon our clubs true name, The Rovers, and that's why our dear, red friends from Ashton Gate, called us the Gas in the very first place... 'AS AN ACT, OF PUBLICLY DEFACING WHO WE ARE'!   

In all truth, strongly due to the general 3 to 1 numbers difference in crowds, The city fans by pure weight of numbers, most particularly after their clubs promotion to the old 1st division, were not only able to use the gas term as a blistering scorn title against our fans but also used the term as a very powerful dis-colouring agent against our club for years. Faced by these problems and seeing that our clubs, very remote leaders had utterly no answer in how to promote the club against this overpowering background of small mindedness, in a sudden mood swing, some Rovers fans began to feel that by gaining some sort of control over how the word was used in public, might be in fact the best way to fight back against this long lasting, ugly method of stigmatizing the club and therefore with the adoption of the gas term, we slowly began to gain some degree of control over this most troublesome word and how it was being used in public. This was a pure act of self defence by our fans and it must be said that it worked 'on a very certain level'. Left purely alone in the hands of the city fans and without our clubs leaders, visibly countering back, in some noticeable and highly spirited way, the inflicted Gas title was having just far to much punching power in belittling our clubs whole public standing. The adoption of the Gas title at the time, by our young fans therefore gave us half of the control, in how the title would be used in public and forever reduced the terms massive impact as a blistering scorn title. The Gashead crown was originally taken up by many of our supporters with the I can take it spirit and has been with us ever since.

Perhaps at the end of the day, the biggest question that will forever haunt us from all of this, just has to be, why on earth didn't our clubs latter day leaders, at a time, when our clubs face was being, very publicly grinned into the ground by the fans of B.C.F.C , ever wake up and both spiritually and commercially counter attack that dreadful, smelly, Ashton Gate, stigmatic vision of our club with the very thing, that had all so often, troubled and aggravated so many city fans for decade upon decades... Hence bringing to life our attractive, swashbuckling, pro Bristol image front that was once believed to had been blessed upon us all, by our very own clubs founding fathers all so very long ago 'and in doing so, resurrecting that old fantastic idea of giving this club, a head turning, world class, image front, truly befitting the heritage of Bristol itself, plus all of those adventurous, rip roaring, old spirits who had once walked Bristol's most famous streets, all so long ago.

This script was written by an old guard, Tote End boy in honour of the truth. (BACKTOTHEFUTURETOTE)

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> POSTSCRIPTS 2015 A to D <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

((( A ))) The astonishing claim by one author, that our club gained its Pirate nickname in the early 1930s is a complete affront to the oral traditions, as told by our old time fans, of which, the eldest of these men had fought during the 1914-18 Great War (which started only 31 years after the birth of our club) and by logic alone means, that most of those war vets would have been born in the late 1800s, less than 20 years after our clubs foundation. All these old time traditions had overwhelmingly supported the view, that our pirate title had been picked up at a very, very early moment in our clubs history, 'perhaps' indicated in the clubs, swift 1884 name change to Eastville Rovers. "Rovers = Pirates", hence our swashbuckling title? I will state flat out, that I always believed in the traditions of our old guard fans, long before that crazy 'early 1930s' statement ever turned up from nowhere. The whole motive for that incredible & poorly researched claim must be wondered at? See "Bristol Rovers, a beautiful history" so you can judge the matter for yourself.

As luck would have it and like an old Pirate ghost, rearing up, out of his watery grave to bite back, trace evidence, which is totally contemporary with those old time, war vets has turned up in recent times in the form of a 1921 Spurs programme, which totally recognizes the Rovers as being the Pirates ( Go to 'images' on this site to view the programmes front page ). A copy of that historically important programme was forwarded onto the club by myself via Kirsty S a number of years back. The original prog is held by my old time friend, 'Past Pirate' who is a long time prog contributor for 'The Pirate'. I do believe that this trace evidence or at least a copy of it, should be framed and mounted within our stadium, so all Rovers fans can view it, in the interest of truth, since both pro-Pirate, Rovers fans / gasheads, plus the anti-pirate element of gasheads will learn something factual about our clubs history. One of the most important things to take away from this Spurs prog is, this Pirate title and theme of ours must have been around for some time before 1921, for the Spurs to have even recognized us as being such....This swashbuckling title did not like spontaneous combustion, just suddenly appear from nowhere in 1921 and without there being some form of real baggage behind our clubs, once famous nickname! Food for intelligent thought for once and with that acknowledgement, this line of thinking begins to tie in perfectly with those long forgotten, old soldier stories (traditions) which a very long line of our clubs leaders, now aided by our clubs 'Gas Egghead' element have so sloppily and brainlessly allowed to be thrown away, over the decades.

((( B ))) The origins of the Tote End inspired, counterpunch scorn title "The S**t", had been around for as long as I can remember as a tongue in cheek, leg pull on the snorting, young city fans. Every time those poor devil's chanted "CITY", the old guard, Rovers fans would happily join in and chant "SHITTY", which from a Rovers fans perspective, had a wonderful way to murder the city chant in front of the entire crowd... Even some of their, better natured fans, standing or sitting in other areas of the ground, would mention how funny that sounded to themselves. The by far more venomous version of the s**t word, which I made reference to earlier in the script, came after the 1969 Rovers v City GL-Cup game, in which our club was thrashed 5-0 at Eastville. It was not the defeat itself, which caused this change of mentality within our young fans, but rather by the well over the top way, those nose pinching, young city fans had mockingly celebrated their great victory at our ground.

If their gas scorn title had ever hit a sore nerve among our fans before, then this whole thing now, had reached a totally new level, never seen before. I know all of this first hand, because I remained on the Tote to the bitter end of that match and watched like a hawk on what happened after...NOT GOOD!!! Maybe an hour later, down in St Pauls, a large element of 'Eastenders' were still walking around, mockingly chanting " GASY, GASY, GASY, E, EAST, VILLE! ~ GASY, GASY, GASY, E, EAST, VILLE! ~ GASY - EASTVILLE! ~ GASY - EASTVILLE! ~ GASY, GASY, GASY, E, EAST, VILLE"!!! Plus the chest beating chant "WE TOOK THE TOTE END"? Sadly for them and their party mood, a rather large group of our 'Tramps' (many being members of the old 69 club - biker boys) had homed in on their signal and strangely enough, their tune, very, very quickly altered into the military quick step, as our hated foes took off rapidly, vanishing at speed, into the deep, dark night...Pell Mell! Tellingly, this one single event in April 1969 and all the blistering, gasy mockery that went with it over the coming year, would not be forgotten and was the number one, key ingredient which caused the massive crowd problems that would happen at Ashton gate and up on their old 'East End' during the 1970, GL-Cup clash between the two Bristol clubs. Captured in a photo, displayed by the 'Bristol Evening Post', one old haunt café, frequented by well known East Enders was almost obliterated from the face of the earth and this kind of behaviour would in turn became a trend with the young, vengeful Tote End boys for years after. It was this high tension background which formed the perfect platform for fellow old guard, Tote End boy and author 'Chris Brown' to produce his noted works on a largely hidden subject... Why duck away from something which really happened I wonder and it is my hope, that I will uphold that concept 100% within my own writings... with no quarter, given!

The 'finally' nailed down phrase, "S**t club, s**t fans with a shit mentality" (Sorry, I got the wording the wrong way, first time around...I've been properly corrected and beaten with a stick, 'BAD! BAD!! BAD!!!') was actually, furiously coined on the steps of the Tote End right at the very beginning of the 1969-70 season, right along side with another linked, kick back to that humiliating April night in 1969, which had prompted a group of our old guard, Tote boys, to ask the club to raise the world famous, skull and cross swords flag, high up over our old and very beloved Eastville stadium. This idea in part was designed to demonstrate some real club self esteem right in front of the general public following that most haunting and troubling night in April 69. Just to make it 100% crystal clear to all those people who try to side step around or twist some of the issues that I have written about in this article, the ugly shit title in its most hostile form, was slammed onto the young city fans and their club in direct retaliation for them calling us the gas... sure we all loved their snorting, scornful, smelly old vision of our club, which years later would slowly became one of the great Gas, cover up myths about our fans! At one time, for a city fan just to pinch his nose and gasp out "I can smell Gas" to the wrong Rovers fan could spark off trouble in a split second; just consult 'Chris Brown' or a whole troop of our old guard, Tote End boys to confirm the very simply truth of that statement!

All honest Rovers fans from that time, all fully know well, that both of the two upgraded, mud slinging scorn titles, Gashead and Shithead were both brought to life by both sets of fans, back in late 1969 / early 1970 and I personally can remember both the Tramps and our Skins all talking heatedly on just this very subject in the old 'White Swan' pub at precisely this time period and I must say here, it always makes a good number of our old guard fans laugh, when we hear some of our fans claiming to have been Gasheads well before the second half of the 1970s in what appears to be a clear attempt to bolster the gas myth in front of all our newer fans ... " WHAT A LOAD OF RUBBISH - WHAT A LOAD OF RUBBISH "!!! Certainly at the April 1969, Rovers v City match, neither of these two stigmatic scorn titles, Gashead or Shithead ( Both words in either camp, being akin to being called a 'Blockhead', 'Thickhead' or a 'Dickhead'! ) were being used by either set of fans at this time period, although the City fans had developed a number of very cutting and blistering chants, purely about the Gas itself. Our fans that night, in return had simply, but venomously countered back to almost everything they chanted with " SHIT, SHIT, SHIT "!!! Their was very little doubt among our fans after that nightmare match, that the pure punching power of their gas scorn title was by far better developed than ours was and the volatile young minds of our Tote End boys would quickly go to work to change all that...hence both of these finger pointing, stigmatic words, Gashead and Shithead came about in the direct aftermath of that utterly humiliating Rovers v City game in 1969...all 5 of their demoralizing goals, which I believe was the biggest post war victory between the two Bristol clubs, all came in a shocking, blitz, second half!!! I have never forgotten one bit, the smell emanating from the old gas works that night was absolutely as bad as it could ever get, yes utterly dreadful...must have been one of those still nights, plus acting as a very bad omen for what was to come about later on, right in front of around 14,000 fans, because I had to down an entire bag of sweets, just to help combat that strange, turning, sickly feeling that I had, deep down in my guts...NEVER FORGOT THAT!

Whatever the case, the young city fans most certainly didn't miss a trick here, because with delighted gusto, they rammed their gas scorn title right down our bloody throats until they were almost red in the face with it all and their cutting 5-0 victory only helped to make that night, all so much more painful for us and all the more delightful for them as they would continue to twist their fingers into that deep mental wound right up until the following year. The almost instant, aggressive impact that this game had upon the minds of the thousands of our young Tote End Boys and the hell that would follow it for years after, was also totally unforgettable too. It was therefore after that dreadful game that the word GAS, quickly began to mutate itself into GASHEAD, a city fans smelly description of all Rovers fans and we in return, began to counter punch back by crowning them all as being SH**HEADS! Hence the simple true story of how two ugly, stigmatic, tit for tat scorn titles were born... a little different from the modern day myth 'A'.

I do believe that the first time I ever heard the word 'S**thead' actually sang within a properly worded song, came in 1970, after the word found its way into a snappy little song, inspired by an old, kids T.V show called the Banana splits. Completely capturing the boiling hostility of those times and believe me, it was hot, in true (piratical) cutthroat fashion, the old guard, Tote End boys rearranged the words, far more to their own liking!!! " ONE BANANA, TWO BANANA, THREE BANANA, FOUR - IF YOU SEE A SHITHEAD...... ( Once again corrected and beaten with an even larger stick, I had rather incorrectly, used the word 'Potato' first time around for this chant, cant think why? ....DOCTOR!!! )" Anyways, just ask your Granddads about the rest of the song, if you're a boy and if you're a girl... or god forbid, a city fan... 'WELL DON'T'! Oh yes, here's the songs merry, but extremely rowdy finish, which was always done, in a massed and highly intimidating, war like, brotherly bounce "......TRA LA LA - LA LA LA, TRA LA LA - LA LA LA... TRA LA LA - LA LA LA, TRA LA LA - LA LA LA". Oh, how we just loved doing that one, right in front of all those upset shitheads, right up on their old East End, face to ugly face. "So sad - to bad"! ((( Do make a note to hear the original Banana splits song on youtube.... I still grin when I hear it ))) As a final note here, I must say that the intense power and energy of many of the songs or chants from the 1960s & 70s, which was strongly influenced by the various forms of pop culture of that period, owed much to the great massing of different age groups into their own comfort zones throughout the grounds. A massive percentage of the old Tote End would have been easily from the under 30s group, hence acting as a kind of powerful, psychological, bonding agent for all of the thousands of young, working class fans who once stood there.... remember here, by the late 1960s, kids could leave school at only 15 years old to join the working mans world.

((( C ))) My fascination in the oral traditions of our old guard fans, began once I fully understood in the late 1960s that all of the over the top, gassy mockery of our club by the city fans had been caused in part by their very real fear that the Rovers held the reigns of a high profile, historically Bristol friendly image front. Hence this feared image front, if ever properly developed and used in a manner that would capture the eye's and the imaginations of Bristol's public, might very well pose a massive commercial threat to their own club. This long lasting touchiness about our clubs, swashbuckling image front was last visibly seen in '1999' after our club introduced our current (award winning) Piratical, club badge on to the public. This one simple, little act, threw the then, Bristol City chairman, 'Scott Davidson' and a good number of his followers into a complete, convulsive, girly flap about Bristol City's own, overshadowed little Robins title, which delightfully, went on for some months and became so noticeable that the whole thing got reported in the local papers a good number of times! Oh, what a shame that our club had been so psychologically gassed out by this time, by our brilliant 'Gas Egghead club cronies' that so few of our fans, let alone club officials had even come close to really understanding what Mr Davidson's whole toy throwing episode had really been all about to begin with... 'you know, just that irritating, old haunting thought, that in presenting this new, iconic image of our club onto the public, we might be trying to evoke the power and spirit of one of the most magnificent and spectacular commercial image fronts that can be found anywhere within the entire football league', If we had been wired up the right way ((( THE OLD WAY ))) and realized all this, then maybe, just maybe we might have had the balls to have proudly raised, the world famous and symbolically powerful, skull & cross swords flag right up over our stadium (30 years at that time, after the original idea had first been put forward to our club) and almost sadistically, sat back and watched the poor man and his band of cackling hens, throw the mother of all cosmic tantrums... Well as they say, tongue in cheek... "IT'S THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS"!!!

Although our early fans, believed that our Pirate title had been picked up at a very early stage in our clubs history, the very idea among our fans, that the Rovers had a world class, commercial image front within its grasp, was said to have kicked in very quickly after our club first entered the prestigious football league in 1920. Many of our fans from that time on knew, that if this image front was used in a commercially, aggressive, in your face manner, it would not only promote our club off to the general public in a highly competent manner, but would also be promoting the swashbuckling heritage of Bristol on to the nation. This incredibly important, key fact, would have made our Pirate image front, ultra Bristol friendly and displays why the city fans (perhaps with a push, from behind the scenes) feared it and felt forced to counter it, before the whole idea of our old guard fans ever took off. These views of our early fans which ran right up to and past, when I first began supporting the Rovers in 1967 were puzzlingly, never properly harnessed by our club, which just has to make this, the greatest commercial enigma to be found within our clubs history.

Naturally this whole belief system of our early fans, which never once, had meaningfully contained a trace of Gas, was centred upon why we had been crowned the Pirates. These oral traditions, as I found them in the late 1960s, had been reduced by that time into jumbled mass, of a very badly fragmented stories, which could be told in a 1000 different colourful ways, but which most often led to a kind of related outcome. Ask why we became the Pirates, in short, you would end up hearing something like "The world famous pirate, Blackbeard was born in Bristol" ( with other Pirates / Buccaneers with a Bristol connection also getting a mention here )... "the Rovers have always been the Pirates"... "to be a Rover, is to be a Pirate"... "we got the title because of Bristol's, swashbuckling history" or what appeared at first to be a total contradiction to that, "we got our name because of Bristol's part in the story, Treasure Island"... and then of course, just to get the mind running completely, north and south, there was that troubling, odd ball tale, that "we got our Pirate name because of those men who had once boated upon a flooded Eastville pitch"? Although all of these punch lines would be brought up over and over again to me, back in the late 1960s, I do believe, by far the most popular line that I ever came across was the "it was our clubs founders who crowned us as being the Pirates at a very early moment in our history".

It was of little wonder that all of this had me scratching my young, long haired, head, at a time when I was a Tote End greaser, one of the tramps, you know, Chelsea boots, Black Sabbath (the rock group), black leather with a blue & white scarf, cockily draped down from my belt, old school style and totally no stranger to the tribal troubles of the time either, as proved by when the 'Tramps' were openly caught by author Chris Brown, involved in a furious battle on the Tote against hundreds of young Birmingham skinheads in the summer of 1970, which almost laughably was a pre-season friendly game. This totally unexpected, bull-headed clash, which happened on a well under strength Tote End and before the match had even started, involved the burly Andy P ( 'the bear' and I ain't kidding either!!! ), the furious and unforgettable Bob D, Dave S (Pelican), Polish Eddie and if my memory serves me well, Brian W too. All told, maybe 25 of us, including two Rovers skins stood our ground against this large band of chicken shit fans. One of our greaser boys, who had badly injured his leg in this uproar of steel toe capped boots and fists flying, was told to get himself out of this uneven, fire fight, fast and having managed to hobble out of the Tote End was, within minutes, savagely set upon by yet another, whole coach load of these incredibly mouthy and brave Birmingham boys. Before going down under a storm of Birmingham boots, our young, wounded, leather clad hero, who could barely even walk, let alone pose a real threat to 50 odd, chicken shit Birmingham fans was unbelievably challenged by them! Totally unfazed by any of this and in the very best and highest traditions of the old Tote, he had, rather intelligently and uncompromisingly answered this large band of cowards back, by kindly, but firmly, telling them all " to go **** themselves"... ( A slightly homo erotic idea at best! ) No words for that needed, but the pure balls of it, still lingers! As for this young mans desperately outnumbered comrades, still up on the old Tote End, well altogether we withstood 4 to 5 massed onslaughts by the Birmingham fans, throwing each one back on its heels before common sense sank in and very badly outnumbered, we all begrudgingly withdrew from the action in the hope of gathering up further numbers.... Due to the very fierce resistance displayed by our boys during this clash, none of the Birmingham fans showed any real great interest to follow our boys out of the Tote, probably more than a little relieved that we had all simply just gone for the time being. WE WOULD BE BACK!!! It was noticed that when the Rovers meet Birmingham City in a league cup match later on that very same year, there was a marked reluctance by their young fans to cross swords with the ever growing fame of our Tote End boys for a second time..

As a much needed, sobering note to the above story, that young man, for all the neck he displayed, came within an inch of losing his life that day and it was only through to quick thinking and intervention of Bristol Rovers, club official 'Peter Terry' armed with a band of very meaty rugby players who Mr Terry was touring around with, behind the stands, that this pronounced group of Birmingham City cowards were quickly scattered to the four winds, sadly leaving only two of their number being held within Peter Terry's custody. The pure, spitting fury of those Tote End boys who happened to see those two frightened looking cowards being matched over to the Police was unforgettable, with both Bob D and Dave S who had only just arrived off of the Tote End, actually trying to get their hands on these two sorry looking wimps! Chris Brown's own account of the bloody mess he witnessed that day was completely and utterly spot on. Even by the standards of those days, the pure over kill of this one incident against a clearly injured person, caught in such a hopeless position, brought in a flood of furious young Bristolians into the ground around the halftime mark, in search of pure bloody minded revenge and remember here, this was only a friendly game! YES THINGS COULD GET VERY HOT INDEED BACK IN THOSE DAYS, UP ON THE OLD TOTE. I wonder how many of us can still remember this song? "F*** EM ALL, F*** EM ALL ~ THE LONG, THE SHORT AND THE TALL ~ FOR WE ARE THE TOTE END AND WE ARE THE BEST ~ WE ARE THE TOTE END SO F*** ALL THE REST" (and then repeated) !!!

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Like it or hate it, this was the way things were in those days on the Tote and no amount of head ducking is ever going to change that. Hardly a good grounding as a historian, one would think, yet history was my one great secret love and it was this thirst for info and my complete defiance of the young city fans smelly, vision of our club, plus fully understanding, the reasons for why those 'S**THEADS' were publicly, hammering away at our club with their tar brush, gas title, which kept me probing for the real origins of our once famous and true, pirate name . It was not until I came out of my comfort zone of talking to fans, who were all around my own age group that I really started to get a handle on this whole fascinating story. From 1970, right up until the late 1980s, after having a totally chance and very enlightening conversation with a retired old school teacher (respectfully known as Mr Jervis, from the St Andrews area of the city), a man who had once been a motorcycle dispatch rider in northern France during the first world war, that I was able to grasp that many of the stories that our younger fans had been telling me about our famous pirate title, were in fact real oral traditions that could be traced right back to Mr Jervis's own time as a young man.

From Mr Jervis himself, came the first clear confirmation that there had been indeed, a very strong belief in his own younger days that the Rovers swashbuckling, Pirate title had been picked up at a very early moment in the clubs history which he himself believed to have been inspired by both the world famous, Robert Louis Stevenson story, "Treasure Island" and also by Bristol's own rip roaring, seafaring history. Asking where Mr Jervis's information had come from, all this wonderful old man could tell me at the time, was it was all just pure common knowledge at the time, which for most people was taken as being fact and why on earth, when you think about it, should it not have been?...The Rovers were still a very young club when Mr Jervis himself had been a young man.

So there it was. clear proof, at least to myself, that those fragmented stories about our clubs colourful title which our younger fans had been telling me about, right back in the late 1960s, were in most cases true echo's of a real oral tradition that could be traced back to at least the very early years of the 20th century. When I questioned Mr Jervis about that odd, conflicting story that a few of our fans were telling me about the flooded Eastville pitch story being the real reason for why the Rovers became known as the Pirates, all the old man could tell me was, he had simply never heard such a story ever being mentioned back in his own time!

Interesting I thought, I must cross reference these stories with other older men from Mr Jervis's time and the older I could catch them, the more trustworthy would the information be and hence the picture gained from it. Remember here, I would only have a very short period of time to find and gather up such info. By the 1970s these old soldiers were beginning to die off at an alarming rate. As for asking our clubs officials about the origins of our swashbuckling title, barring the input from one man years later, well that was simply an insane excise in futility, clearly our old guard fans at that time, generally seemed to knew far more about our Pirate themes, background origins and had by far, a noticeably better understanding of how this rugged Bristol friendly device could be shaped into a powerful, eye catching, commercial tool to draw in both interest and money to a club which most desperately needed both. As a very worthy little side note here, as it came directly from an old club insider Steve Burns himself, he alone out of all the Rovers officials that I had ever talked with, had once mentioned to me, that he had been able to trace the use of the Pirate term right back to the very early years of the 20th century, so please just keep that under your hats as you read on.

After my eye opening conversation with Mr Jervis in 1970, whenever the opportunity arose, I slowly began the agonizingly slow task of tracking down other old Rovers fans from Mr Jervis day. This task was not as easy as one might think; with long hair and dressed in black leather, looking like a Tote End hell raiser, which of course I totally was at the time, some of our old boys would just coldly blank me clean out... as if their hearing aids were all fixed in the permanent off position! Another time and I remember this well, one very promising, good old boy who was standing right outside of the Rovers, old True Blue Club waiting for the rest of his family to gather up, and all in a very great hurry to attend some family function or other, did however kindly offer to talk to me at length about his good old days with the Rovers in a further two weeks time, after the next coming home game, The two weeks came and went, leaving me. once again standing outside the True blue club only find out from two of his family members who I recognized from the time before , that the old boy had died in the short time between,,,, I was truly, utterly gutted by this news...... yet more information lost forever in time and what appeared to have been a very good old soul, gone with it too.

Nevertheless, by pure persistence alone and without the need of an axe handle or a gun in hand to help things along, I slowly began to track down more and more people who were willing to sit down with me and give me their version of the old Rovers of yesteryear. By the mid 1970s with my dress code toned down a little, I found it even easier to get these old men to freely open up to me and my probing questions..... and finally deep into the 1980s the last two men who I would ever speak to on the subject of the mystery of the Rovers, Pirate title and theme. were both from the Totterdown area of Bristol; a Mr Authur and a Mr Donovan, men who were both well into their 90s, with still remarkably very sharp minds, who would both confirm in their own ways their belief that both the Treasure Island story and Bristol's maritime history had lay very much behind our clubs adoption of the swashbuckling PIrate title. I can still remember clearly that Mr Donovan himself had once been a member of the Royal Flying Corp during the first world war, operating in the near east. The Pictures that this old man showed me of his tour of duty out there, deep within the desert sands, were utterly staggering and I almost begged the old man not to allow these relics from a bygone age, to go amiss once his time on this earth was up! Almost mirroring at this far later date, the very same thinking for why this article has been produced for all of our fans, before the day comes when I, an old Tote End boy, always a Buccaneer at heart, croaks it too...... ( Well I'm going out yelling!!! )

So what on earth did I turn up from all these talks over so many years, all of you may fairly ask? Well hold on to your pants boys and girls, because here comes the run down as best as my limited mind can put it.... There was never once, any disagreement among any of those oldest of the old rovers fans that I had once managed to track down, that the Rovers had definitely been known as being the Pirates, going right back to the first part of the 20th century and I think that I should remind everyone about that 1921 Spurs prog as being firm, outside support to bolster that conclusion... from that point on or going even further back in time however, we are purely left with the oral traditions of these old men to give us some kind of vision of what they, themselves believed lay behind the origins of our clubs adoption of our famous, swashbuckling title which I, myself have tried to interpret on their behalf..

Never once did any of those old boys, ever refer to our club as being 'the Gas'! Had they have done that, then that act alone would have destroyed the City fans own tradition, which I totally believe to be true, that they, themselves had invented the gas word in footballing terms, to be a smelly, stigmatic scorn title against our club and fans shortly after the ending of the second world war...... The Hun, the Japs, the Gas, all very easy words to sneer at and then to convert into an ugly label of hate in order to help identify one's enemy with! Remember their old chant... "KILL, KILL, KILL THE GAS... KILL, KILL, KILL THE GAS"! Good god almighty, those times back in the early 70s when us old guard Tote End boys, over and over again, vengefully whooped their high and mighty asses right up on the unsegregated steps of their old East End must have really hurt their feelings beyond all repair... from an old Tote End boys point of view, that was payback with interest for Eastville 69... LOOK, LET ME PUT IT THIS WAY, WE'RE ALL HUMAN, WE HAVE FEELINGS TOO AND IF THEY BELIEVE THAT ONE, I'LL TELL THEM ANOTHER ONE TO GO WITH IT?

Having established those two above facts, we now have a clear run to take a very close look at the oral traditions that had once surrounded the origins of our Pirate theme and had so intrigued so many of our fans with the deep belief that our club held the reigns of a world class image front.

The old tradition supported by so many of those old men who I had once talked with, all so many years ago, that the real catalyst for our club becoming known as the Pirates was due to the world famous, smash hit story "Treasure Island". At first glance, back in the late 1960s when I first heard this tale I was not at all impressed by this version; preferring like most other fans of my own age group, to believe instead, that our swashbuckling title just had to have been inspired by Bristol's long seafaring history... well that sounded like pure logic...RIGHT! Oh how truly funny it is, that all so many of us, have this great ability to jump to a snap conclusion and then cling on to it for dear life, armed with only the smallest amount of Knowledge, if indeed, we even had that to begin with... SOMETIMES EVEN PURE LOGIC ITSELF CAN BE TURNED UPSIDE DOWN; TO LAND FIRMLY ON ITS FAT ASS, BELIEVE ME and people working within the Police service will probably be the very first ones to fully understand the basic truth behind that statement, much faster than far less critical minds might do... Hence in the blind act of just following or trusting in pure logic alone, will not always lead you to the truth!

My rude or kick in the pants awakening that I just might not be as smart as I once thought I was, first came in 1970 after my lengthy conversation with the very well educated Mr Jervis and then with a long line of our true old guard fans who would all so often support this Treasure Island story link with our clubs swashbuckling title. In my own mind it became utterly clear that this tradition from 60 or 70 odd years before my time, a tradition which seemed to run against mother logic herself, just had to have some element of truth within it, because why in the hell else, would all so many of those old boys be independently saying this to me over and over again in the first place? And yet, like some kind of troublesome itch that just wont go away, there always seemed to be something vitally missing from this story, something which I could never quite get to grips with, within in my own mind and that troublesome itch would end up, bugging me for years and years to come ((( I do believe that the answer to that missing nagging question that had so troubled me for so long, was finally solved in a totally haphazard way, back in 2012 as we will all see shortly ))) Nevertheless even as things stood at that point, how could I, in all truth, a young fan from the late 1960s, have the balls to dare to argue down such a rock hard, old tradition which very clearly had the backing of so many of these old boys from a far earlier time period .....Utterly Impossible, unless of course, you are one of our bright eyed 'gas egghead, club cronies' who seem to have the uncanny ability to rewrite history, distort or completely ignore the truth at will... "GAS SINCE 1883" oh how that thick, chimp minded line puts my back hair up, just like that other stupid, unthinking, half wit phrase... "I CAN SMELL GAS"! ...The mud slinging, throw back phrase, which came directly from the City's old East End Boys, which I, myself can totally remember as being in existence from at least the late 1960s and yet once again, being part of the near forgotten reason for why our unforgiving, old guard, Tote End Boys had crowned them right back as being "THE S**T" in return ... Well as they all so often say, one gift totally deserves another 'A'...... and that perhaps, is where all of this ugly, back street stuff, should have all ended.

Anyways having given those views, a point blank, broadside of blazing cannon fire, back to the story.... Somewhere around 2012, two of our old guard Tote End boys, 'Pabs' and one of his old buccaneer mates came up with a most extraordinary piece of information which more than surprisingly had never surfaced once in all of those long years of talks with our old great war vets; was the pure and simple fact that Robert Louis Stevenson's world famous story "Treasure Island" was first; jaw droppingly found out to have been published in 1883, precisely the very same year as our club was born!!! What made this event turn out even spookier was the fact that both of these old Tote End boys had been drinking in Bristol's famous and historic, waterfront bar, 'THE HOLE IN THE WALL', the very pub itself, which Stevenson's own imagination had turned into the 'Spyglass Inn' in his Treasure Island story and the place where Stevenson's two main stars, young Jim Hawkins and Long John Silver first come face to face with one another within the novel. Whatever the case, it was in there, within those haunting surroundings, that one of these brilliant old Tote End boys, neither one of these two clowns, remembering just who ((( THAT MUST HAVE BEEN THE RUM SPEAKING... ARRRRRR! ))) just purely off the cuff, posed the critical, yet insanely simple question " just when did Stevenson actually publish his Treasure Island story" and when the answer was revealed back to them both as being 1883, it did not take more than a few seconds for either one of these old Tote End boys to connect the dots and in a flash, fully realize the stunning importance of that date, in helping to put the meat back onto the bones of this wonderful old, oral tradition from a long, bygone age which our old, Great War hero's had been croaking about for absolutely decades. The publication of the Treasure Island story in 1883; our clubs double-barrelled name change to the Rovers ( PYR8s ) in 1884 and that old. oral tradition of ours, that most clearly stated that it was Stevenson's swashbuckling tale which had inspired our Piratical title in the very first place, plus even more connections on top.... This all seems to be a little bit beyond being, just pure coincidence... WHAT DO YOU THINK?

This most colourful tradition which firmly belongs to our fans, ( that's all of you and don't any of you ever forget it ) a tradition which forms a part of our clubs true heritage and a tradition which many other clubs could only dream of having; has somehow, through pure lack of care and a total absence of commercial common sense, has shamefully been allowed to sink into the deep, quicksand of time, to almost disappear without trace or even without a good fight to preserve it... perhaps, helping us all to understand just why, our club and our fans have so sadly lost our old, attractive sense of ourselves as being potentially the heritage promoters of Bristol, a brilliant, old idea which with the help of negative forces, from both inside and outside of our club have helped to nearly destroy this wonderful old concept out of mind too.... To date (28th Sep, 2019), out of the two clear cut, oral traditions that exist on why we became the Pirates, only the vague & very flat secondary part of that tradition, "that we became the Pirates due to Bristol's seafaring history" is given in our clubs so-called official story, while the real reported catalyst for our rip-roaring title, the colourful Treasure Island story, remains almost a total mystery to many of our modern day fans. In days past many of our old guard fans had clearly & very importantly placed both of these two traditions together, which gave the original story far more depth of meaning and gave the club an extra hook to hang its commercial hat on. How on earth can we allow such things to be thrown away without a thought... this is our clubs real heritage here! Lord almighty, Its a little bit like telling everyone that you got yourself a new dog & then just walking off, without even bothering to inform them all, of what the dogs breed is... its colouring & of course its bloody name! This kind of very sloppy mind set has bedevilled our club long before we ever lost our wonderful, vast, old Eastville stadium. With such a lack of attention to detail, no wonder the Ashton Gate virus image front found it so easy to creep in, during our clubs darkest hours in 1986.

You know all of these thoughts take me right back to the start of the 1969/70 season, not that long after that dreadful Rovers V City match, when all of this ugly gas stuff really began to be taken up a gear or two by our dear red friends from Ashton Gate. This was the time when all that blistering mockery of both our club and supporters really began to hit the fan and bite in hard and a time when our old guard Tote End boys really began to show back, some real backbone spirit by sitting up and hitting them right  back with some backstreet slop of our own making to throw right back in their own direction.... the sh*t in its most hostile form was born and it stuck too.... SPLOT! And all of us Tote End boys, as we saw it were doing this in defence of our clubs good name and honour; yet in stark contrast to this, many of us boys at that time, were troublingly asking each other " now why on earth doesn't our club itself do anything symbolic to fight back and show some club pride before the eyes of the people of Bristol", after all we had got one of the best fighting image fronts that could be found in the whole country and many us were well aware that many city fans hated us having the ownership of this swashbuckling, historically Bristol friendly image front, leaving some Sh*theads to even contest that they, for some unknown reason had a better right of ownership over this swashbuckling image front than we did? Were they called the Rovers = Pirates ~ NO!.... Did they have the old traditions to go along with that claim ~ NO!.... Were they the oldest club in Bristol ~ NO! Sharp eyed and spotting this long lasting irritation that this subject of our Pirate title seemed to create among them and then very cleverly playing upon it, one group of very fast witted Tote End boys actually suggested to our club to raise the world famous Skull and Cross Swords flag, high up over the Eastville stadium as a head turning demonstration of club pride, right in front of all those snorting young Sh*theads, plus Bristol's general public and bring properly to life the whole notion that our club held the reigns of world class image front that might very well platform Bristol's heritage on to the nation as well. Coming around the time of the first moon landing, this was truly an idea of the first order, light years ahead of its time and by pure colour, club spirit and commercial balls alone would have probably, in the public's eye, have completely overshadowed and smashed all of this smelly backstreet nonsense at a stroke and perhaps, even have shown it up for what it really was... The pure small mindedness of one set of fans attempting to publicly discolour the standing of The Rovers and our supporters by means of using an ugly, stigmatic, scorn title to achieve that end. Never mind, to help counter all this and based upon the old Beatles song, 'Yellow Submarine' we could always hit back with "WE ALL S**T IN A RED & WHITE POT ~ A RED & WHITE POT ~ A RED & WHITE POT" and then repeat!!!

Whatever the case, true to form and even after some very strong prompting by some of our more vocal young fans to do something publicly, right along side with this most stunning idea of raising the 'SKULL & CROSS SWORDS' flag over our ground on all match days, our completely out of touch clubs leaders who in a nut shell, behaving like some stunned old Duck, which had been squarely hit on head by a very large and heavy rock; walking around totally oblivious of its spiritual surroundings, our clubs leaders did absolutely nothing at all to show back publicly, in any shape or form, some real club fighting spirit at this most critical moment in time, when a tidal wave of backstreet scorn, in the shape of 'THE GAS' hit our club, like some massive, verbal sledgehammer! (The ignition switch, which truly triggered off, all this blistering scorn, fully into life, was undoubtedly that crushing, 1969, 5-0 victory of theirs) This commercial and spiritual inaction by our clubs leadership with hindsight, tells me, this was the precise moment where the slow erosion of our belief in the power of the Pirate image front began to die a slow death. We just simply didn't have the people in place or of the correct mental caliber to spiritually and historically understand how to use this potentially powerful image transmission device in the commercially aggressive manner that our old guard fans had once wished it to used. The great irony here is, it was stunning idea's like the raising of the world famous Pirate flag, a flamboyant and head turning display of the clubs high spirit and a commercial concept  which could have both raised the whole profile of the club before the eyes of the people of Bristol, let alone the entire nation and then,slowly turned the Rovers into a living legend among all British football supporters. It was daredevil, wildcat concepts like this which had once made the city fans so nervous of our stirring, ultra pro Bristol image front..... thoughts which had properly began to take hold of many of our fans from 1920 on wards. Back in the 1960s there were very few of our fans who didn't realize to some degree or other that our club was sitting on a commercial gold mine and true to form the city fans totally knew it too!!! Thoughts from the grave perhaps, but its never to late?

Today our brilliant, half wit, gas egghead cronies have even been heard to exult to all our fans that the Pirate theme is nothing more than a Peter Pan image front for our young kids to play with.... whereas being a gashead, well of course that's a mans image... I take it, that means that all of us Rovers fans from before the mid 1970s  were all just a band of mindless infants and those of us, who have remained loyal to our clubs old true banner name still are? ...Well in the most childish way I can put it, cause I don't wonna let these jack asses down, now do I, this following line is directed straight at this bunch of all knowing 'Gas Egghead', club cronies >>> "HAW, HAW ~ WHO'S YOUR PAW ~ A F**KIN OLD SH*THEAD ~ HAW, HAW, HAW"!!! <<< I'll give everyone a minute to think about the truth behind that line.... Did you get it? .... Well who crowned us as being the gas (and later as gasheads) in the first place = The Sh*t hence that's your Paw = that's your daddy!!!

Yes these Gas Eggheads, completely out of step and utterly disregarding the very limited and highly defensive reasons for why our original 'Eastville gasheads' had picked up the troubling gas title in the first place; in stark contrast, began to publicly destroy the real heritage of our club by trying to turn the Rovers = the Pirates into some kind of strange, mutated object called the gas... WHAT!!!! Back in the 1990s not even our clubs, ever slow footed leaders could get themselves go along with that one 100%... WHY? Well maybe deep down inside, some of them just knew that this whole idea just stunk to high heaven to begin with and perhaps helps to explain why in 1999, on the 100th anniversary of our club becoming known as Bristol Rovers F.C they unveiled the new club badge in the form of a very mild looking Pirate, just to help try, to balance up things a little! Oh what a commercial victory that would have been to Bristol City F.C and even more, what a spiritual victory for their fans, had our Gas Eggheads got their way . Talk about spitting on your own clubs heritage and doing it openly in public by nailing that Ashton Gate scorn title to our clubs mast and then trying to play it off to the nation as if there's something to be proud of, in doing that! The total confusion, brain washing and the pure B~S that these Gas Egghead, club cronies have been feeding into the minds of layers of incoming, new fans just cannot go on being unchallenged anymore. At this moment in time, I'm 64 years old, one of the tramps from the old Tote  and a buccaneer to the bone and I'm proud of being both. I Bet very few of our fans know it and this is a pure spit in the hand, historical fact, which was rediscovered at the turn of this century by a Mr Tim Blake, that there was in fact a club song, going right back to the 1950s with a line in it, which ran " WE ARE YOUR BUCCANEERS " and that line, when you think about it, kind of makes a 1000 times more sense for a set of fans who support a colourful club which represents the great, old historic port of Bristol before the nation, again reflecting in just why we called ourselves the Rovers or the Pirates ever since 1884. IS THERE ANYTHING REALLY THAT CHILDISH ABOUT THE OLD CONCEPT OF A CLUB TRYING TO CELEBRATE BRISTOL'S RIP ROARING PAST HISTORY IN SPECTACULAR FASHION IN FRONT OF THE NATION, HENCE PROMOTING HERITAGE OF BRISTOL? OR IS THERE SOMETHING INFINITELY MORE STUPID AND INFANTILE ABOUT TURNING OUR BACKS ON BRISTOL'S RICH HERITAGE AND PROMOTING OUR CLUB OFF TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC WITH A SMELLY ASHTON GATE SCORN TITLE AT OUR CLUBS HEAD INSTEAD? Now please, just sit back a moment and think about all this.    

As for Stevenson's classic swashbuckling tale itself, well that became a smash hit, best seller and along with it, his story exported an atmospheric picture of old Bristol to the books readers, all over the world. This great classic is still in print to this very day, yet does our club shop sell even a few copies of it ? Perhaps in honour of recovering Stevenson's lost link with our club, one of our bars at the ground should be re-crowned as being the 'SPYGLASS INN'.....lets get back some class and a little less gas back into this club and bring back publicly the whole notion that our club still has its hands on a world class, Bristol friendly image front, which in the end, given the right cultivation can only help to raise both public and commercial interest in our once cast away club!

>>> 'BUT, OH MY GOD, THAT UPBEAT VISION WOULD UPSET THE S**THEADS ALL OVER AGAIN AND WE CANT HAVE THAT NOW, CAN WE'....MUCH SAFER TO STICK WITH THE GAS, AT LEAST WE KNOW THAT THEY DONT MIND US USING THAT ONE, NOW DO THEY! <<< ( and from a spiritual and commercial point of view it's not very hard to see why either ) The most basic building block for any competent business concern is to make itself look attractive to all potential customers and investors... that most basic business tool begins as a head turning image front, which you then step by step begin to cleverly cultivate & develop into being an attractive and inspiring commercial device to draw in the attention of the local & national media, the business community and the general public... the end rewards being = More interest, more support, more money and due to its blazing colour, a far better chance of drawing in, meaningful outside investment into the club. Due to Bristol's rich history, Bristol Rovers F.C has long had its hands on a fantastic, second to none image front, but has 'astonishingly' never displayed the brains, the balls or the imagination in knowing how to use it.... and nowadays we dare to speak about having a multi million pound stadium, when we cant even get the most basic (foundation stone) commercial concepts up and running, after our clubs founders had gifted us all with a magnificent, Bristol friendly, commercial device to help us on our way, over a 100 years ago... they must all be rolling around in their graves...'JESUS H CHRIST'!!!

I swear to god here, that cursed, virus scorn title "THE GAS" is in business terms, the unattractive, commercial killer of our club and what's more, it always has been. There has been barely a city fan living or dead, who hasn't realized without delight, the massive commercial blunder we made, when our clubs leaders, began to unthinkingly allow our half wit, gas egghead element to nail that smelly Ashton Gate scorn title to our clubs mast as these low level officials began to take it upon themselves to present our club forward to the public as being the gas!!! On the flip side however and this is on a completely different 'street' level of thinking, the fans themselves, can name themselves as anything they want to be... The Poachers, Tramps, Bovver boys, Tote End Boys, Butcher boys, Gasheads, Buccaneers, young pirates and there has been ever more than this. At one time, in an act of near harmony with our club, at all away grounds, we always proudly announced ourselves as being "THE ROVERS!!!" like when the thousands of us, had once swarmed up the steps of the city's old 'East End' to lock horns with our old foes.... remember that delightfully warming song.... "B,O,V ~ V,E,R, BOVVER BOYS IS WHAT WE ARE, WITH A KNICK-KNACK, PADDY WHACK, GIVE A DOG A BONE... BRISTOL CITY F*** OFF HOME", given that this was clearly a skinheads song, even us long haired, rebellious greasers could hardly hold ourselves back, from joining in with our skin-headed shipmates in singing that happy go lucky song right in front of all those pissed off looking, 'Sh*theads'!!!

And yet for all of this any competent football club must remain totally independent and well elevated, above this most basic, street level of thinking or in the end it begins to look to the outsider, as if the club has lost control of its own destiny, The golden rule here being, that the fans, other then by the pure power of constructive suggestion itself, must never be allowed to interfere directly with the clubs main control panel ( which is partly the clubs historical mind set ) or else things can very quickly snowball out of control as did happen. Very sadly in 1986 Bristol Rovers F.C not only lost its beloved Eastville stadium forever but also the club seems to have gone into a long, strange kind of mental melt down within itself and emerging from this black hole void, perhaps seeing themselves as being helpers at first, entered new people with very little true knowledge of the clubs history or of our background traditions, who very, very quickly found that they had been given, to some degree, the power to temptingly project the Rovers image front, in the very limited and twisted way, that they had understood it be and that's precisely when all this half baked gas stuff really began to surface publicly at Twerton park and the whole unthinking gas mania era really kicked off... Hence from that time on, if they found an inconvenient hole in their knowledge, then they either simply ignored it or just plugged it up, on the spot with something as absurd as say "gas since 1883" and it is precisely during this era that we find that all their chimp minded, myth building begins to conflict with the real history and traditions of our club, just as their DOCTOR FRANKENSTEIN, gas image front would try to destroy our clubs real historic image front !!! I mean there was just no real knowledge or fore thought put in at all, on what they were really doing to the clubs face, either historically or spiritually. Thank god our clubs leaders at that time, had at least the brains for once, to come down hard and stop these pea-brained, gas eggheads 'DEAD' in this mindless, unthinking quest... The Rovers are the Pirates, it's legitimately built into our clubs name, so why not try to live up to it for once? To call yourself a gashead, if that's what turns you on, well that's an historical right of any fan to do that, but in lazily calling our club, 'the gas' publicly, now you are forever reflecting the powerful, psychological influence of the Ashton gate faithful upon our club's spiritual face itself. Today & this has been noticed by many of our old guard fans, that many of our newer fans, who have been robotic-ally trained, parrot-fashion over the years by our chimp minded, gas eggheads to actually refer to our club as being the gas, almost unbelievably, actually sound like perfect city fan replica's, from the 1960s & 70s and there is absolutely no play on words here, this is a totally, noticeable fact!!! Our true swashbuckling, outlaw title is the 'ROVERS', it only costs just 3 letters more, how bloody hard can it really be? 'GAS THIS ~ GAS THAT ~ I DONT WONNA BABY THAT SMELLS LIKE THAT'... had anyone on the old Tote, ever have spoken about our club in the Ashton gate manner, then they would not have lasted long as a Rovers fan,,, no kidding, not even our original Eastville gasheads from the late 70s referred to our club as being the Gas .

The Bristol Rovers F.C really should have an organized think tank set up; fans with open & inquiring minds included, linked to the clubs commercial unit to fully explore for once, the long suggested, historical, spiritual and commercial power of our Bristol friendly, swashbuckling image front. I'm utterly sure that our clubs founders and our old guard fans would smile down, upon us all for doing this... FRESH MINDS, ABSORBING FRESH AIR, FOR A FRESH PERSPECTIVE, heading towards that landmark 2020 date.... and Christ, to beat it all, the CIA are still holding back the JFK files after all this time, I WONDER WHY? Oh...how time fly's, so blissfully by and we all so easily forget about the one thing that so really matters in life... the fire to search for the Truth. Finally, If there is any one piece of old guard, fan logic that I would wish to get across to all our modern day fans and even to our club, then it is simply this..... If you go to the dance, dressed up in rags or in a boiler suit, then you ain't gonna get many dancing partners and you can be totally sure of that... however if you go to the dance, suited, booted and looking like 'JOHNNY BE GOOD' then it ain't gonna take very long before the spot light shines on you... Image counts in presenting and projecting yourself forward. It also counts as a very basic & important, 'eye catching', business tool too, something that our old guard fans totally knew, going as far back as 1920. (The above logic was based upon an old conversation from around the mid 1970s, which even after all this time still lingers on in the mind and rings true )

>>>>>>>> ORAL TRADITION THE BEST EVIDENCE FOR WHY WE BECAME THE PIRATES <<<<<<<<

The fact Bristol's old seafaring history played a part in us being crowned as the Pirate has never been disputed, only the fact that it was Stevenson's great work which had been the real catalyst to awaken such thoughts amoung our early fans and club officials to start with. Back in 1883, Bristol was still a great international, inner city working port, a place where the old wooden, high masted ships could still be seen and a place where the old, inner city dock workers and sailor's still brushed shoulders with the local population right down in the beating heart of the city on a day to day basis, as they had done for hundreds of years before. Bristol was not only one of the great trading ports of the world back then, never forgetting its gloomy, shared role with other British ports in the ugly slave trade during those distant times, but was also the birthplace of the tall, fearsome and world famous Pirate, Edward Teach (best known as being Blackbeard, 1680ish till his desperate and heroic last-stand on Nov 22nd, 1718) and still, even to this very day, you can find old Bristol, waterfront traditions linking this most notorious outlaw to famous Bristol watering holes, which include the Hatchet, the Golden Guinea and the Ostrich... ((( "WELL SHIVER ME TIMBERS!!!" )))

If Bristol was a world trading center, then it also served as being a major staging post for transporting the thousands who were heading out towards the Americas in search of a new life, of which some of these men would become buccaneers and pirates in their own right. The legal grey line between those two swashbuckling titles often being played upon by both sides... with captured Pirates claiming to be Buccaneers in the hope of saving their own lives and known Buccaneers resorting to piracy at any convenient moment. The funny thing was, back then in the western world; it was only on the deck of a Pirate ship or in a pirate controlled port that a black man could stand as a total equal, in every respect to his kindred white shipmates... a fact that not only utterly shocked the greedy, stuffy, white establishment back then, but also displayed a degree of humanity and respect among these outlaw crew members for each other that was almost, totally unbelievable for the time... "brothers to the bone" I suppose and "In for a penny, in for a pound " and why the devil not, since most of them would be hung by the neck if they were ever caught!!! Besides throwing out this kind of accumulated knowledge to anyone who had an open ear, these old inner city, Bristol dock workers were once, generally considered to be the great ( unofficial ) heritage promoters of old Bristol and their knowledge of old seafaring terms like "Rovers = Pirates", "Ship shape and Bristol fashion" and a whole heap more was just mind blowing. Back In the mid 1970s, by pure fate alone, I had the very good fortune of finding myself working right along side the last of this breed of old inner city dock workers who had managed to find new employment within the old 'Wills' group. Their telling and very important involvement in this story is not over as we will presently see?

Flowing perfectly in time and tune with the Treasure Island link with our clubs adoption of the swashbuckling Pirate title came other oral traditions that were still being loudly voiced by many of our fans back in the 1960s and 70s and once again, with the help of our Great war vets, I found that these traditions could be traced back to at least the first part of the 20th century and that these tiny fragmented stories all had a strong whiff about them as being even older than that.... They basically all ran something like this, "It was our clubs founding fathers who had crowded us as being the Pirates" ..... "The Rovers have always been known as being the Pirates" ..... "To be a Rover is to be a Pirate". Please allow me to start first, with this last statement: when I first heard that 'Rovers = Pirates' line voiced to me, back in the late 60s, I'm pretty sure that I can still remember looking at the poor fella who said it, as if he was a complete 'nut bar' and not giving him an extra thought!!! To me and a good number of others from my own age group pure and simple, a Rover was a wonderer, a name of a car or just some name that some people tagged to their dogs butt. Nevertheless, from time to time other people would bring up that very same punch line all over again and in the end it tested me to ask them just why they were saying that? What I did not understand at the time, because I am not a Bristolian by birth nor was I reared here, was there was a far older, double barrelled, seafaring meaning behind the name which meant that a 'ROVER', by land or by sea was a prowling outlaw, like a highwayman and at sea alone, purely a pirate or a pirate ship..... and that fact was totally confirmed to me by those old inner city dock workers who I had once worked side by side with. Food for thought once again 'A'!

Now from here on, things really start to heat up and get interesting! In 1884, precisely when Stevenson's 'Treasure Island' story was starting to make a real impact upon the nations reading public and due to the story's content, where more so, than in Bristol itself... what do we find? Our club suddenly decides to under go the first of its historical three name changes. Out goes our very short lived, original 1883 Black Arabs title and in comes the new 1884 title as being Eastville Rovers and what's more there is a rather scratchy historical account given for why this happened in the first place. This whole event was, in no other terms, a commercial face lift, for what was at the time, a tiny, little club struggling to find its feet in this world; This whole name change act was primarily designed to draw in far more support and interest to the club from the local population. Hence the big question that arises from all of this must be, now why should a pure name change, all on its own, be presumed by our clubs founders to have the power to bring about such a surge of interest in the club, unless of course there was something far deeper, far more meaningful going on here in the background, that's become almost totally lost in time, bar leaving us all with a handful of old oral fan traditions and that one very teasing and haunting clue on what might very well have been going on here, that day in 1884, when our clubs founders publicly crowned us all with our famous, double barreled meaning 'Rovers = Pirates' title?

Well rather tellingly, yet once again, we find the more than striking historical involvement of those 'old inner city dock workers' with our club at precisely this time period too, leaving us all to wonder deeply if it was partly due to their knowledgeable influence as well , which helped this become the true moment when the Rovers, colorfully became known as being the Pirates, in honour of Bristol's rip roaring history which Stevenson's wonderful story, had so helpfully and publicly placed into the Limelight, to begin with? ALL OF THESE OLD ORAL TRADITIONS WHEN PUT TOGETHER, BAR THE FLOODED EASTVILLE STADIUM STORY WHICH UNDOUBTEDLY WAS INSERTED AT A FAR LATER PERIOD IN TIME, ALL SEEM TO POINT TO US, TO FOCUS IN ON THIS ONE PARTICULAR MOMENT IN 1884. Remember that old line "The rovers have always been known as being the Pirates", well if that's the case and you read the wording perfectly, than that date could only have happened in 1884 and in no other time frame..... and then finally adding to that line, at what other moment in time fits that other old tradition "that it was our clubs founding fathers who crowned us as being the Pirates, at a very early moment in our clubs history"?

Perhaps one of the most noticeable and interesting links between both our clubs rather bitty, official story for why it changed its title to Eastville Rovers and the original motive found within the early traditions of our old guard fans, on just why we became the 'PIRATES', Here we find that both stories tie together perfectly in stating that both of these acts were done "to draw in far more interest and support to the club from the local population" and therefore I think that we must all conclude here, that both of these stories are basically, one of the same thing, just two different ways of telling the same story, one the clubs version and the other the fans. Its almost completely impossible to ignore the striking similarity between both of these tales... since both commercial motives fit absolutely hand in glove with each other. As a final conclusion here, there can be very little doubt that back in 1884, our clubs founding fathers were publicly, trying to bond the club to the history of Bristol in the most eye catching manner that they could think of, all of this coming just a year after Stevenson had published his Bristol friendly, world famous Treasure Island story. The big question here for all of our modern fans is, did this book actually influence this line of thinking within our clubs founders, precisely as one of our old, oral traditions had once said it did? For me personally, having once talked to those old, First World War vets, face to face back in the 70s & 80s, I was totally convinced of the truth of this story, years ago.

With regards to that odd ball tradition, about the Rovers becoming known as the Pirates due to those men who had once boated over a flooded Eastville pitch, well all I can tell you here about this story is not one of those old war time vets ever supported this version of events at all and in fact only a very few of those old men had even heard about this odd ball tradition to begin with. However, that the flood had actually happened, well that's a pure historical fact that it did , but what seems to have led to this distorted tradition coming to life among some of our fans, was clearly due to a misinterpretation of the facts about the event itself, Apparently the men who had boated above the flooded Eastville pitch had rather jokingly been nicknamed as being the Pirates in honour of clubs swashbuckling title. However given just a little bit more time, this story for some of our less informed fans had managed to twist itself into being the real reason for why the club itself had become known as the Pirates. In this case I think we can safely follow logic for which one of these two stories is the correct version and besides the picture taken of that boat floating above the flooded pitch did not even capture a vision of an eastville stadium of the early 1900s. If anything can be gained from this dripping wet tale, than I think its got to be a testament on just how poorly our club commercial leaders have been in even trying to cultivate our so-called powerful, world class image front even in front of our own fans let alone the nation.... and to beat all and here's the greatest irony of all, have managed to pick up and wrap up in gold foil an outside virus image front that was more than happily dumped upon us by the fans of Ashton Gate and lord almighty, has that virus image front ever done some damage to us in all so many ways, which includes attacking our clubs true traditions.

As for why the club never developed its Pirate theme, into what our old guard fans had long perceived as being the trappings of a powerful, world class image front, a front that could bond the club to the history of Bristol and therefore, automatically make the club the heritage promoters of old Bristol in front of the entire nation, well that's a near head crushing mystery in itself! What is clear here however, is that the flamboyant views of our old guard fans on this subject, most notably after 1920 when we had first joined the football league and our swashbuckling image front, as an important commercial device or tool could have made a real spiritual impact upon the local population.... these powerful and enlightened views of our old guard fans, over a very long period of time were largely ignored by our clubs. rather aloof leaders in a bewildering display of commercial blindness which even the dullest of our fans could see... Oh that must include me too!

For me, in my own early time period, the bold, spirited & wild cat concept of raising 'the fearsome, match day, battle flag' over our old Eastville stadium back in the summer of 1969, which most surely would have been 'the daddy of all idea's to finally bring our swashbuckling image front to life' in front of the local population and then onto the nation, was seemingly, within a flip of a coin, turned into a worthless, meaningless thought by the exasperating, ice cold silence of our clubs, commercially clueless leaders; possibly may I say or simply because this little known idea itself, had come in from a small group of friends, who were all Tote End skinheads... I mean there were once thousands of us Tote End boys, laying down our money for the club we all loved. Surely these boys deserved a degree of respect from the club they worshiped for submitting such a gem stone, commercial idea!!! Christ... this muscle idea had some real spiritual punch and commercial merit built into it... just think a moment, about the powerful visual impact that this flag would have made upon the general public when seen proudly flying high up over our ground and then tied together with both Bristol's rich history & our clubs original traditions. As young as I was at the time (15) from the very first moment I heard about this idea at some long forgotten, pre season friendly game back in 69, I and those around me immediately recognized the massive commercial impact that this jaw dropping idea could have upon our club.

I mean here, just who the flying 'F**k' cared about the ages of these young men or what clan these boys had once represented up on the old Tote, when this brilliant idea all alone, should have stood out immediately, as being a real building block towards our club creating a fantastic, blazing commercial beacon, not only for us all to use, but for Bristol itself. Captured within this idea, we had an almost free and perpetual advertisement tool, which almost magnetically the general public, the business community and the national media would have found it near impossible to ignore. Here my friends, we had the very seeds of great business thinking and it came from the minds of our very own young fans. In it, we had an eye catching vision, full of bubbling psychological power which would have legitimized our own club founders colourful views and paraded a daring part of Bristol's rip roaring history in front of a totally fascinated nation. To state that an overly well paid, world class, image consultant would have been very hard pressed to trump such a natural idea as this, is a total understatement in the extreme and to beat it all, the 'Sh*t' right along with their smelly scorn title would have been hit for six by such a head turning, dare devil, class act...This, my dear friends, is what's always been missing from our club, the cool & open minded ability to think deeply, act fast & then turn a clearly brilliant idea into pure gold...now that's real alchemy at its finest, a pure, spiritual and commercial act of PIRACY ON THE HIGH STREETS..... Good God almighty, you could have gone out and dug up, a dead, blind man and asked him if he could see the power behind our old guard fans arguments and I swear to god here, that, that old boy would have sat, bolt upright in his grave, raised one hand up towards the sky and proclaimed to the whole world over, that he could see it too!!!

SO WHAT ON EARTH WENT WRONG HERE? WHAT LED TO OUR CLUB'S PROLONGED & ALMOST DISMISSIVE VIEW OF OUR OLD GUARD FANS IDEA'S ON THE DEVELOPEMENT OF A WORLD CLASS IMAGE FRONT? WAS IT LACK OF MONEY, LACK OF SELF AWARENESS OR WAS IT JUST BOTH? Well for me personally, for what its worth, having used oral tradition and our clubs famous 'ROVERS' title as being my main guiding force and compass in attempting to unearth the truth here, I believe that the club, perhaps understandably to some degree, lost its way in this whole matter due to the general day to day weight of running the club back in those extremely unsettled times, before we finally managed to dig in and put down our roots in Eastville. The big image front that by tradition, our club founders had given us, perhaps prematurely, could never properly take root and flourish in those 'up in the air' conditions of that extremely unsettled period and by the time we finally moved into our beloved Eastville ground in 1897, the whole rounded, original concept of why we had become the ROVERS = PIRATES within the clubs ruling elite had been largely, if not totally lost! It was only because of our fast witted fans, some of whom, just had to have been those old, inner city, docker workers themselves, that we fully grasped and remembered the original commercial and spiritual value of the Pirate image front, which even then, only truly began to surface with any real force after an horrific, blood bath, 5 year world war and after our club had gained its full league status in 1920.... and that for me, boys & girls, is about as close to the truth as I think we'll ever get to in this haunting matter?

As a final and almost reluctant note here, I do believe that if Bristol City F C had ever owned our swashbuckling image front. like so many of their fans had once wished they had, they would have murdered us hands down in demonstrating skillfully, how they would have confidently used this stirring, Bristol friendly device publicly as a powerful, magnetic, business and spiritual tool... Meanwhile, smack in the face of all of this background, the very best our club leaders could come up with on this very important topic in the last 30 to 40 odd years, bar the introduction of our award winning, pirate club badge in 1999, was to delegate our 'knowledgeable', chimp minded, gas egghead club cronies to have an almost free hand, plus a chimps tea party, to completely run wild with our clubs old mind set, reducing our near untapped,100 year old (PLUS), swashbuckling image front into a near meaningless, child's play thing and then to completely top it all off, brilliantly turning a once hated and cursed Ashton Gate scorn title into a so called towering, chest beating, inspirational club icon? I mean do they really believe that... really? So help me god, that sounds really convincing, original and well thought out too...yup, I can totally see the whole rounded logic of all of this...NNNNOT!!!

You know, its been a little bit like handing the keys of the school, over to a bunch of 10 year old delinquents for a year & trustingly, asking them all to be good ... can you imagine the f**kin wreckage you end up with !!! Well that's pretty close to whats really been going on within our club, not for just one year, but like an echo, for countless year, upon year, upon year, upon year. This is what happens when you delegate people into positions of power who totally lack a full background knowledge of the clubs real traditions and confuse our fans original, self imposed motives for adopting the gas title in the first place and then brilliantly take it upon themselves to go that step further by transplanting that ugly city fans title onto our club itself.... you brainlessly throw away a now unrealized world class, commercial and spiritual image front and attempt to replace it with an Ashton Gate scorn title... such a masterly piece of chimp minded, reverse engineering me and many others think! I utterly don't blame the city fans one bit for laughing at us for our gross naivety on this subject of image, when we've always held a glinting, world class commercial device tucked away in our top pocket, which at best, we've rather sloppily forgot to take a proper, focused and business like look at.

WHEN WILL THE ROVERS ( not the gas ) EVER WAKE UP AND ACT DECISIVE, ONE WONDERS? And on that sweet & merry note my friends, here's three real old time Rovers songs to send you on your way.... >>>" In Bristol's fair city, where the girls are so pretty, I once set my eye's on sweet Molly Malone. As she wheeled her wheelbarrow, through streets broad and narrow...singing [1-2, 1-2-3, 1-2-3-4] ROVERS! [1-2, 1-2-3, 1-2-3-4] ROVERS! [1-2, 1-2-3, 1-2-3-4] ROVERS!" plus the true, original and far better "Oh when the BLUES... go marching in... oh when the BLUES go marching in... I wonna be in that number... when the BLUES go marching in". I'm very sure that the cursed Ashton Gate vision of our club... "THE GAS", did not insert itself into this song until the late 1980s, early 1990s. Last of all, the ultra aggressive chant which derived from the haunting tribal beat behind the Chris Montez song, 'LET'S DANCE', "We are the boys in the BLUE & WHITE [1-2-3-4],We like to sing & we like to fight, so lets fight [1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4] So lets fight [1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4]" putting aside the warlike qualities of this old Tote End chant, whatever happened to our fans mental fight? <<< Never did we, the old Tote End boys, ever call our club the gas back then, that was purely a city fan's smelly, twisted & flippant view of our club... and now unbelievably, thanks to the brainless influence of our clubs egghead chimps we actually copy them.... Oh how we've really progressed forward.... NNNNOT!!!

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((( D ))) This whole work, withstanding my own blistering outbursts at that entrenched 'Gas egghead' element that exists within our clubs structure, has been done first and foremost for all of our rank and file fans, under any title that you may choose to embrace yourself with, In order of opening up a far more informed view of our club and its terrace history which has been either wastefully lost in time or just white washed over, particularly since the Twerton era. However what you make of this 'outlawed' article, well that's firmly in your own ball court now, but the one thing I would like everyone to understand is a hell of lot of our plain rank and file fans pressed me for years to knock out this script in order to help make some sense of a good number of fan issues or questions which answers never quite seemed to add up within their own minds. This script got a further boost of support after a very well written and totally inoffensive 'Blackthorn Buccaneers' contribution to the Bristol Rovers wiki, running within the section entitled >>> "FAN CULTURE" <<< just suddenly and mysteriously vanished from the view of all our fans. The Buccaneers had in fact raised an extremely valid counter point within that section, which gained a hell of a lot of support from our fans of all age groups, pointing out that our club had never properly developed its potentially very powerful Pirate image front into the massive spiritual and commercial device that it should always have been... hence the Buccaneers were advocating to all of our fans to look back to our real roots and join us in this quest. Now what kind of meaning can 'fan culture' truly have may I ask, when some complete 'Jack' (or Asses) are shamefully controlling what our fans are being allowed to see and hear...

Now that ain't "FAN CULTURE" by any stretch of the imagination now is it, that's very clearly our virus loving, Gas Egghead censorship at work here, controlling only what they themselves want our fans and the general public to see and nothing else... "FAN CULTURE, HAW, HAW, HAW"!!! These fellas can hardly help themselves from shooting themselves in the foot with every step they take... "GAS SINCE 1883", HAW, HAW, HAW, I wonder just how many of our poor, hood winked fans actually believe that smelly heap of "B S" ? Last of all, that complete moronic phrase "I CAN SMELL GAS", HAW, HAW, HAW, that scornful, everlasting spell that was more than happily dumped upon us all by the jubilant Ashton Gate faithful. In the well over the top attempt to make the city fans joke word, ''THE GAS'' bigger then anything that it should ever have become, our clubs 'Gas Egghead' element have not only ensured that the grubby finger prints of Ashton Gate are forever left all over our clubs face for all to see, but have also come within an inch of destroying the real, true traditions of our club and the wonderful spiritual and commercial concepts that our old guard fans had once attached to those traditions long before the Twerton gas mania era ever began!!!

Much of what you have been reading are the hard core beliefs of the 'BUCCANEERS' and are truthfully based upon the real testaments of our earliest supporters... THIS IS THE REAL, GAS FREE BRISTOL ROVERS OF OLD. How stands you on this outlawed subject which had once so aggravated the SH*THEADS and puts their unwitting friends, our butt licking, Gas Eggheads destructive views to such shame? In our great and unthinking ability to make small things big and big things small, I almost believe that this has invoked a strange kind of Pirate curse upon the club for not living up to our true "ROVERS" outlaw title nor Bristol's heritage!!!

FOOTBALL IS TRULY A PIRATICAL GAME, WHERE THE WEAK SINK & THE STRONG TAKE ALL THE TREASURE... SO AS A THAT WONDERFUL ROVERS LADY, MO BELL ONCE DID SAY " TO BATTLE QUARTERS " we the club, the fans can either drift in the shadows forever or go for it on all fronts... stadium wise, player wise and of course, image/commercial wise. THE WHOLE CLUB DESERATELY NEEDS A BROAD FACE LIFT!

UP THE ROVERS = PYR8s & GOD BLESS YOU ALL TOO.... 'TOTE' (My old greaser nickname from the early 1970s and seen printed on the back of my beloved, black, sleeveless leather jacket of that period.) PPS, all improvements to this script over time have been done only to make the document clearer for all the readers to understand...Thank you

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