Back To The Future West Football

So its October 21st 2015, the day the Back To The Future films came to ‘the future’. Today is being dubbed ‘Back to the future day’ and of course Severn Sport will have a piece of that action.

So to celebrate we are going back to the time that Marty McFly and the Doc came from when they visited 2015 and go back to 1985 in the Severn Sport DeLorean to see what our local football teams were up.

Bristol City were enjoying the end of their first season back in the old third division in early 1985 under Terry Cooper after spending the early part of the 80’s in financial meltdown. Cooper took them up and consolidated them as a third division side before his successor Joe Jorden took City up as runners up in 1990. Today Bristol City are playing their first season back in the Championship after Steve Cotterill took City up as league one champions last season, they are 21st after 12 games with 10 points.

Bristol Rovers in 1985 were struggling with stadium costs at their old Eastville Stadium. Playing there for 89 years 1985 would be their penultimate year there before sharing with Bath City at Twerton Park until moving to the Mem. Rovers were playing along side their Bristol rivals in the third division. The 84/85 season they faced each other three times with City winning 3-0 at home in the league, Rovers getting revenge in the FA cup winning 3-1 and then beating City again in the League at home 1-0. Today the gas are playing their first season back in the football league after winning the Conference (National League) playoffs last season.

Rovers Win Last Seasons Playoff Final
Rovers Win Last Seasons Playoff Final

Cheltenham Town won promotion to the football conference for the first time in 1985 so its a strange coincidence that they are playing their first season back in the top tier of non-league football in 2015. The Robins spent 7 years in the Conference after that promotion before dropping back out, they returned in 1997 and 2 years later they won promotion to the football league. As said before they are playing their first season back in the conference (National League) this season and are currently second behind Gloucestershire rivals Forest Green.

Forest Green Rovers in 1985 aren’t the team you see today flying high at the top of non-league. They won promotion to the Southern League, Midland Division from the Hellenic league in 1982 and won the FA Vase in the same season. They then spent the rest of the 80’s in the Midland Division getting a bit stale, so much so that in a move to revitalise the club they changed the name to Stroud FC in 1989. This move was short lived and moved back to Forest Green Rovers in 1992. FGR now play at a new stadium just up from road from the site of the old one and have ambitious plans to move to a bigger stadium to mirror their growth over the past few years under the ownership of Dale Vince. Rovers have splashed the cash in recent years with no promotion but today they site top of the pile in the National League and its looks their best chance they have ever had to reach the Football League.

Gloucester City joined Forest Green in the Midland division in 1985 after cutting their 3 year stay in the Southern Premier Division short with relegation. In the 84/85 relegation season Kim Casey scored 40 goals but that still wasn’t good enough for the tigers to survive. The relegation to the Midland Division is seen as one of the lowest moments in Gloucester City history and as we know, there have been a few! 1985 was also the last year at the Tigers Horton Road stadium before the 1986 move to Meadow Park. Today Meadow Park has been and gone and City have been homeless since 2007 with plans for a flood protected, raised up stadium at Meadow Park on going, Horton Road is now a housing estate with the street names baring names of City players from the 80’s. 2015 City are in the National League North and are sitting just inside the relegation zone.

Img - Tigers at Horton Road
Img –
Tigers at Horton Road

So there we have it, a lot has changed since Marty McFly & Doc Brown came to see us in 2015. Shame they didn’t visit us in the West of England! They could have told FGR not to change their name to Stroud FC. Told Gloucester City not to leave Horton Road and Cheltenham Town that they will be back in non-league in 2015. Of course it is just a film……

Happy Back To The Future Day,
Matt Yates