Reunion for former Rovers FC players

A Stamford Rovers lineup from the 1950s: Back, from left, George Wardle (coach), John Prior, Tony Avent, John Aylin, Ken Ball (captain), Tony Parker, Colin Roberts and Jim Espin (trainer); front, Terry Southern, Alan Romaine, Peter Chappell, Ivan King and Lloyd Smith. EMN-161202-115851001
A Stamford Rovers lineup from the 1950s: Back, from left, George Wardle (coach), John Prior, Tony Avent, John Aylin, Ken Ball (captain), Tony Parker, Colin Roberts and Jim Espin (trainer); front, Terry Southern, Alan Romaine, Peter Chappell, Ivan King and Lloyd Smith. EMN-161202-115851001
0
Have your say

Former members of high-profile club Stamford Rovers FC are invited to a grand reunion being planned for next month.

Stamford Rovers FC shared the Wothorpe Road stadium with the Daniels between the 1950s and the early 1970s. The reunion is being organised for all those who wore the emerald green shirts over 18 years in the upper echelons of the Peterborough League and who went an astonishing 15 seasons without having a player sent off.

Last year, the Mercury featured a piece on the Rovers which prompted many players from the 1960s onwards to get in touch. Former members of the club have managed to trace more than 40 players so far but they are hoping to find more.

Led by larger-than-life founding chairman, Borough Public Health Inspector and Peterborough League management stalwart Leslie J. Roll, the Rovers attracted good crowds, produced an excellent match day programme and became the first and only Stamford club to be accepted into the prestigious FA Youth Cup in 1972.

The untimely death at 54 of Mr Roll in 1971 was a blow from which the Rovers never fully recovered, despite the best efforts of new chairman Percy Warters – another local Government officer – and a gradually diminished committee. Following the club’s demise in 1974, despite a healthy bank balance, a trust fund was set up which for many years until the death of treasurer George Wardle in 2013 provided small grants and new footballs for many local youth and junior teams of boys and girls.

“Leslie Roll was strictly old school amateur, with no payments ever made other than for legitimate travelling expenses,” recalled Brian Gibbons, 77, former secretary of both the club and trust fund. “However player welfare was paramount and by offering the best possible insurance against lost wages through football injury we were able to attract some of the best talent from a wide area.”

Most of the original veterans from the 1950s have now passed away but there are still many from later teams who are keen to meet up again and share reminiscences and old photographs. The Grand Reunion will be held at the Stamford Indoor Bowls Club on Saturday, March 12. With a 6.30pm start there will be a bar, buffet, lots of memories and the chance for a tutored friendly game of bowls. Partners are invited to keep the veterans in order and a token charge of £3 per head for everyone applies.

More information from Brian 01780 756786, Bob 01780 721411 or Alan 01780 764425.