Posts Tagged ‘Death threats’

My time at Bristol Rovers..Part 3. Death threats and out of favour.

November 25, 2010 Leave a comment

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My form had mirrored the team. It was hit and miss, mostly miss. I was in and out of the team much like many of the squad. I never knew if I would start the next match and my performances certainly didn’t deserve my name being first down on the sheet. Although results weren’t good enough often enough it wasn’t a downbeat camp. In fact, we all seemed to enjoy coming to work. We had some really good lads who I became very good friends with. Many of us were in the same boat being in and out of the starting eleven so we all just got on with it. I think we had all settled in and all loved living in Bristol, I know I did.  

It was around this time that I was made captain by Ian Atkins. Our current skipper, James Hunt, was suspended and there seemed no obvious choice. We played away at Shrewsbury Town and I was summoned to the front of the bus on the way to the game. I thought I was getting dropped and was ready for the news. I didn’t see it coming at all to be honest but a huge honour nevertheless. That lasted 3 matches before James was back. He was the captain and rightly got the armband back.

Again I reverted to being in and out of the team. It was around this time that I received a letter in the form of a death threat. At first I thought it was somebody winding me up. It became clear that it  wasn’t  a prank as I read the whole letter. It actually threatened my wife and children which wasn’t very pleasant. The letter was written by hand and the spelling and grammar was very poor so I wasn’t sure what to make of it. It said that if I didn’t stop scoring then me and my family would get it. Now, my goal scoring form was poor at best during my time at Bristol Rovers so maybe it was a wind up after all !! I didn’t take it too seriously. I showed the manager who said he would deal with it but nothing further happened.  I also received another similar letter when Lennie Lawrence and Paul Trolloppe were in charge by what seemed like the same author too. A bit strange really but slightly un-nerving nevertheless.

At the end of the season I felt like I was being forced out. There was one game to go and we had nothing to play for. There were quite a few injuries so I thought I would play. Ian decided to draft in an emergency signing. Even though deadline had gone he sought permission from The Football League. Jefferson Louis signed and started the match. It was a massive sign that Ian wanted me out although he denied it. The following week we all had a one to one with the manager to talk about our performances over the season. Apparently the board wanted to get me off the wage bill. I was in the top bracket of earners at the time and they felt that they didn’t want a top wage being spent on a player that wasn’t playing all of the time. I didn’t know what to believe but it didn’t stop them circulating my name for transfer. Boston United showed an interest but it wasn’t right for me to leave at that stage. It would have meant up-rooting the family again and we were all very settled. I had two years to run on my contract and thought that I could improve the following season.

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