Vital Gas Interviews: PirateJim
1) Why and when did you become a Gashead?
I watched my first game at Eastville in August 1957, v West Ham United. I much prefer the nickname Pirate to Gashead, it's an age thing, as I pre-date the term Gashead by quite some distance. The reason that I was drawn to Rovers was the atmosphere amongst the Eastville crowd. Gallows humour I always call it, but essentially friendly and supportive of the team. Absolutely no moaning, and it was very refreshing.
2) What is your best memory being a Rovers fan?
Undoubtedly Bristol Rovers v B*FC, at Twerton Park, 3-0 to us, and promotion as well.
3) If you could bring back one Rovers player at his best, who would it be?
Tricky one that, so many to choose from. But I always enjoyed watching Alfie Biggs. He was so skilful, but extremely modest as well.
4) How do you think John Ward did last season?
Unbelievably well! When he arrived in December we were in complete disarray, and heading out of the Football League. At the end of the season we were mid-table. 'Nuff said!
5) Best and worst moments of last season?
The best moment must have been the appointment of John Ward as manager, and the worst moments must have been the long haul to his appointment, and all that went with it.
6) Do you think Mark McGhee was given to much time, not enough time or was it timed just right?
Initially I supported MM as manager, and continued with that support for longer than most other supporters. But it became obvious to everyone that was interested that he couldn't turn things around. I think he was given an adequate time plus. He can have no complaints, surely? Just think back to York City (a) in December 2012, if you are still undecided.
7) Its been said only one more player will come in (John Joe O'Toole Maybe) do you think that's enough?
I'm more than happy to be guided by the manager. He is the man in the know, and it would be a little impertinent to question the thinking of a manager who has proved to be up to the job. More importantly I'm interested to see what he does with the likes of Garry Kenneth and Matt Gill. Can he get them playing (successfully)for us? If he can, well . . .
8) Any players you would like to see leave Rovers?
Again, I'd be guided by the manager. But I do think that Eliot Richards needs to shape up this year.
9) Favourite current Rovers player?
I like the look of Steve Mildenhall, who came to the club and brought a bit of stability to the back.
10) Favourite player of all time?
As I said previously, there really are too many fine players to mention, but it would have to be a player from the 1960-1970s for me. If pushed I would have to opt for The Baron.
11) What our your expectations for the coming season?
By the time that the season starts, and John Ward has finished his wheeling and dealing, I am expecting us to have a successful season. Ideally I would like automatic promotion (as Champions, of course), but if we were promoted through the play-off's then I wouldn't object. The starting point though, has to be where we were last December. Must be avoided again at all costs.
12) Your opinion on Nick Higgs and the board?
Despite a lot of criticism, mostly born out of fear and frustration, the Board as a whole have stuck to their master-plan and deserve a lot of credit for that. The supporters are lucky that Nick Higgs is the Chairman at this particular moment. His expertise has been invaluable to the progression of the planning application. Well done that man!
13) With the build of the UWE to start soon, what would you like to see added to the design?
Difficult one to answer that, as I've only seen the outside of the new stadium on the O/S and in the local press. But I think that it would be appropriate for the club's best servants to be remembered in some way. I'm not thinking of anything grand (no statues, etc), just some acknowledgement of the people that have served the club well in the past, as we enter a new (and hopefully, settled and successful) era.