Memorial Stadium: Bristol Rovers

Filton Avenue, Bristol, England, BS7 0BF

Commonly known as the Memorial Ground, the Memorial Stadium was named in memory of local rugby union players who lost their lives during the First World War. Indeed, the ground’s history is steeped in rugby, given that it only became the home of Bristol Rovers in 1996 yet has been used to host sports fixtures since it opened in 1921.

The ground was built on an area of land known as Buffalo Bill’s Field because Colonel William “Buffalo Bill” Cody’s Wild West Show performed there from the 28th of September until the 3rd of October in 1891. It was used as allotments during the war before being bought by Sir Francis Nicholas Cowlin, the Sheriff of Bristol (continuing the wild West theme), and given to Bristol Rugby Club so that they could build themselves a stadium on it.

Stats

Memorial Stadium Stats
Year Opened1921
Capacity12,300
Average Attendance9,302
Record Attendance12,011 (Bristol Rovers v West Brom (2008))
Pitch Size101 x 68 (6868)
NicknameThe Mem
Former NameMemorial Ground
OwnerThe Memorial Stadium Company
Clubs HostedBristol Rovers
First FixtureBristol RFC v Cardiff RFC (14/09/1921)
Bristol Rovers Stats
Year Founded1883
NicknameThe Pirates, The Gas
Club MascotCaptain Gas
RivalsBristol City, Swindon Town, Plymouth Argyle, Exeter City, Yeovil Town, Forest Green Rovers, Cardiff City
Previous StadiumsPurdown, Three Acres, Schoolmasters Cricket Ground, Durdham Down, Ridegway, Eastville Stadium, Twerton Park, The Memorial Stadium
KitBlue & White Squares (Home) / Yellow & Black Squares (Away)
Training GroundFriends Life Sports Ground
Shirt SponsorThornton's Travel
Team OwnerThe Jordanian Al Qadi Family
Record GoalscorerGeoff Bradford (242)
Record AppearancesStuart Taylor (546)

Memorial Stadium Photos

Memorial Stadium Seating Plan & Where to Sit

The North Stand is a single-tier terrace section of the ground that is home to the more vocal Rovers supporters. The East Stand is a tall structure that has terraced sections either side of it, whilst The South Stand is a fully-seated section that also has a roof. Finally, The West Stand is identifiable by the fact that it looks like a cricket pavilion. It contains both terraced areas and seating.

Bristol Rovers Ticket Prices

Bristol Rovers separate their tickets prices into three categories: Category A, Category B, and Early Bird prices for Category B matches. It means that three things will determine how much you pay to see The Pirates play live: Your age, where in the ground you want to sit and the category of match you’re going to see.

If you’re an adult then you’ll pay anywhere from £16 to £28, with the former being an Early Bird Category B ticket in the North Terrace and the latter being a Category A ticket in The West Stand. For concessions you’ll pay between £5 and £22 and if you’re aged between 16 and 21 then expect to pay from £12 - £22.

How To Get Bristol Rovers Tickets

Buy tickets through the club’s official website, over the phone or in person from either of the club’s retail outlets.

Where to Buy

Getting To Memorial Stadium

Move Map
Swap Start/End

Bristol is simultaneously not too far from London whilst also feeling like it’s miles from everywhere. Here are some of the more typical routes you’ll probably look at to get there:

Train - Montpelier and Bristol Parkway are both about two miles from the ground. Bristol Temple Meads is the main station in the city, though, if you’re heading in from further afield.

Bus - There are a number of buses that run from Bristol centre to the ground. First Group is the company that operates them and they have a good journey planner if you know where you’re coming from.

Car - From the North, East and West leave the M4 at Junction 19 and get on the M32. Leave that at Junction 2 and follow the signs. From the South take the M5 to Junction 16 and get on the A38. Once you enter the suburbs of Bristol keep your eye out for signs to the ground.

By Air - Bristol International Airport is the one you’ll be looking for if you’re flying in from abroad. Or from elsewhere in the UK, actually, given it serves domestic flights too.

Taxi - A taxi from Bristol Temple Meads Station to the Memorial Stadium will take about 15 minutes and should cost you between £10 and £15.

Parking Near Memorial Stadium

There is a car park at the ground but it’s permit only. There are residential roads around the ground that you can park on, paying mind to parking restrictions, and both Muller Road and Gloucester Road are about 5-10 mins walk away and offer free parking.

Useful Resources

Memorial Stadium Hotels

Bristol is a big city with loads of hotels, so you won’t be short of options, even if it is a pricey city to stay in. Here are some of our faves, though:

Holiday Inn Express Bristol - North - £80+

New Road Bristol Parkway Business Park, Bristol, BS34 8TJ
The Holiday Inn Express is just two miles from the stadium and has a bar, a business centre, a conference space and free parking. There’s also free Wi-Fi and a free hot and cold buffet breakfast. More details.

Hampton by Hilton Bristol City Centre - £90+

Bond Street, Bristol, BS1 3LQ
Hilton has made a name for itself over the years largely because of the quality of hotel it offers and partly because of Paris Hilton being on TV. This Hampton version of the chain is less than two miles from the ground and has a restaurant, a bar, a 24-hour fitness centre and a business centre. More details.

Holiday Inn Bristol City Centre - £100+

Bond Street, Bristol, BS1 3LE
This is like the other Holiday Inn but in the city centre. It has a restaurant, a bar, a fitness centre, a computer centre and free Wi-Fi. It’s about two miles from the Memorial Stadium. More details.

Pubs & Bars Near Memorial Stadium

Bristolians are a lovely bunch, so you’ll almost certainly meet some fun characters if you go for a pre-match pint at any of these places:

Knights Templar

1 The Square, Bristol, BS1 6DG (0117 930 8710)
The Knights Templar was a Christian organisation rumoured to be willing to protect the location of the Holy Grail with their lives, having sworn allegiance to the Pope and being involved in many of the battles of the Crusades. This is a Wetherspoon’s pub near Bristol Temple Meads Station, and we assume the custodians are less devoted to the Pope than the Knights Templar were.

The Wellington

Gloucester Road, Horfield, Bristol, BS7 8UR (0117 951 3022)
This traditional Victorian pub promises a decent real ale selection, tasty meals and a beer garden. There’s also TVs for live sports, should you fancy watching something.

Commercial Rooms

45 Corn Street, Bristol, BS1 1HT (0117 927 9681)
The Commercial Rooms is another JD Wetherspoons establishment not far from Bristol Temple Meads Station. Cheap food, cheap drinks and some TVs with the sound off are the order of the day here.

Facilities

The stands are quite good at Memorial Stadium, but most of them feature irritating support pillars that limit your view. You’ll also find the concourses offer the sort of thing you’d expect from a middling Football League club.

Prices

  • Programme: 3.00
  • Pie: 3.20
  • Cup of tea: 1.30

Hospitality

There are numerous sponsorship packages as well as executive boxes available at Memorial Stadium, but the most popular hospitality option is probably in the club’s restaurant. Here you’ll enjoy a three-course carvery before the game, half-time refreshments and access to a cash bar. You’ll also get seating in The East Stand and the chance to watch the Man Of The Match award being presented.

Private Hire

From Christmas parties to funeral wakes, there aren’t many events that the Memorial Stadium can’t cope with. Weddings, conferences and Mothers Day lunches have all been hosted there in the past.

Stadium Tours & Museum

There are no tours of The Memorial Stadium at the time of writing, nor does the club have a museum.

About Bristol Rovers

By Мики32 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Bristol Rovers Football Club was established in 1883 with the somewhat politically incorrectly name the Black Arabs. The club changed its name to Eastville Rovers and Bristol Eastville Rovers before eventually settling on simply Bristol Rovers in 1899. The club has an official nickname of The Pirates because of the city’s maritime connection, but it is also know as The Gas for, frankly, random reasons. The club’s old stadium, Eastville, had a gasworks next to it and Bristol City fans used it a derogatory name but Rovers’ fans adopted it affectionately instead.

Rovers have won The Gloucestershire Cup 32 times, the Watney Cup once and the Football League Third Division South Cup once, too. It won the Third Division in 1990 and has made the quarter-final of the FA Cup three times. They were beaten by Newcastle United in the 1950-1951 season, Fulham in the 1957-1958 campaign and West Bromwich Albion in 2007-2008. They also became the first team from the Third Division to beat a Premier League team in the FA Cup when the defeated Derby County 3-1 in 2002.

Memorial Stadium History

Despite now being the home of Bristol Rovers Football Club, the Memorial Stadium is steeped in rugby tradition. As well as hosting Bristol Rugby Club from 1921 until 2014 it is also used as the location for varsity games between the University of the West of England and the University of Bristol. In 2013 it was also used to host a Rugby League World Cup match between the Cook Islands and the USA.

Bristol Rovers moved into the Memorial Stadium at the start of the 1996-1997 campaign after having spent 89 years at Eastville Stadium. It was financial trouble that forced them to leave their old home and they ended up playing ten seasons at Twerton Park in Bath before returning to Bristol.

When Rovers moved into Memorial Stadium they had a deal with Bristol Rugby that allowed one team to buy the other’s share in the ground in the event of financial problems. That happened in 1998 and Rovers, who had moved into the stadium as tenants, became the owners with Bristol Rugby Club as their tenants. Bristol Rugby Club left their former home in 2014 leaving Bristol Rovers as the sole occupants.

Future Developments

Rovers announced plans to move to a brand new stadium in 2011. The move would be funded by the sale of Memorial Stadium to supermarket giant Sainsbury’s. They pulled out of the project though in 2014, leaving everything very up in the air. The club was bought by the Jordanian Al-Qadi family, with the new president of Rovers, Wael Al-Qadi, stating that a new ground is ‘a key requirement’ of theirs, so a move is now unlikely with developments of Memorial Stadium more probable.

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