Manager Darrell Clarke leaves Bristol Rovers by mutual agreement

Manager Darrell Clarke leaves Bristol Rovers by mutual agreement

Bristol Rovers fans have expressed their disappointment at the departure of long-serving manager Darrell Clarke.

Clarke has left the club after four and a half years in charge, with The Gas finding themselves struggling in the relegation zone of League One.

The club experienced promotion from the Conference and League Two under Clarke, however recent results and performances were described in an official statement as “disappointing”.

The official Bristol Rovers Supporters Club said: “Clarke will be remembered as the man that led us back from the depths of non-league despair to League One.

“Darrell’s work and dedication to the cause will be respected and appreciated for many years by the supporters of Bristol Rovers Football Club.”

Rovers fans were upset with the decision on fan forum Gas Chat, branding it “short sighted” and calling for owner Wael Al Qadi to leave the club.

Fan frustration

A Rovers fan outside the ground said: “I think it’s very sad. He’s had a good tenure there

“There’s a lot of instability in the club, with the owner, and the rumours of the new ground. So I think it was a poisoned chalice.”

Another was supportive of Clarke but said it was “inevitable” and that “he was going to have to leave”.

Fan frustration has been epitomised in an open letter petition aiming to “mend the broken relationship” between the club and fans.

The petition asks for a monthly written statement from the board on their activities, regular interviews on the club’s channels and improved communication on issues such as the proposed new stadium and training ground, following the collapse of the UWE stadium project.

Over 500 people have signed the petition so far.

New manager search

Former Bristol City manager Steve Cotterill is the favourite to become the new manager, with Newport Country boss Michael Flynn and Rovers legend Ian Holloway also thought to be in contention.

Holloway described Clarke as the club’s “Winston Churchill” yesterday, for the way he had “lead Rovers through their darkest hour”.

Clarke’s assistant manager Marcus Stewart has also left the club.

Coach Graham Coughlan will take charge for the weekend’s League One fixture away at second place Sunderland.

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