You could have knocked me down with a feather when I learned that Nick Day had decided, after 25 years, to hang up his mike at Bristol Rovers, a quarter of a century which saw us play at a non league ground, get promoted to what we now call the Championship at a non league ground, move to a rugby ground, play at a rugby ground in non league football and finally climb back to where we started at a rugby ground. It’s been a hell of a ride.
In that 25 years, I have gone from being a nodding acquaintance of Nick Day, to an acquaintance, to a friend and during the last couple of decades to the closest of close friends and indispensable confidant. He is a man with the biggest heart I know.
Nick was Bristol Rovers PA man. He was also the MC at countless social events. People used to ask me how much he was costing Bristol Rovers, in terms of salary. They thought he must be on the payroll given the amount of time he gave the club. The truth is he did it for nothing. He even had to pay for his own drinks at the bar because I wasn’t going to.
If I was one of the Jordanians who own the club, or one of the suits who run it, I’d have been on bended knee, begging him to carry on as Darrell Clarke continues with the most brilliant job a manager has performed since I started supporting the club in the early 1970s. Whilst I have been the first person to criticise the shambolic running of the club under former chairman Nick Higgs, and everything I did when I was involved was to try and make the club better, I also value tradition and respect the football club’s history. It is not just here today, gone tomorrow owners, officials or players who make a club what it is, it is people like Nick Day who, when it comes down to it, is one of us and just happens to have the gift of the gab, as radio producers around the area have all found out. But Nick has made his mind up. It’s time to go.
I wish the bugger nothing but good. He has been the kindest, most generous friend a man could ask for, he is as honest as the day is long and highly principled to boot. Honesty and principles are not normally things you find in football. The man has both in spades.
I’ll see you soon, mate. The pasties are on me.