FOOTBALL: Last Rollo the dice
VETERAN Jim Rollo revealed the lure of one last shot at promotion glory with Chippenham Town was enough to make him end his long association with Bath City.
The 36-year-old defender signed with the Bluebirds on New Year’s Eve and made his debut at left-back in the 2-2 draw with Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division rivals Frome Town a day later.
A revered figure at Bath with whom he enjoyed three spells, the most recent a ten-year stint with 475 appearances, the former Cardiff City man had been restricted to a bit-part role with the Blue Square South side for much of this season.
A favourable impression of the ambition of Bluebirds boss Nathan Rudge and the opportunity of game time at Hardenhuish Park proved too good an opportunity to turn down, leading to him calling time on his Mayday Trust Park career.
Rollo, who helped City to the Southern League Premier Division title in 2006-07 and Conference South play-off victory in 2009-10, said: “I just felt the time was right and hopefully I’ve got one more promotion before I finish.
“They (Rudge and assistant Richard Fey) are building a nice steady team.
“They’ve got a blend of some young lads and a bit of experience and are trying to add to it if the right player becomes available.
“They want to kick on and win something and enjoy a management career in football. For that to happen, they need to have a good few seasons with Chippenham and go from there.
“That’s what impressed me about the two. They seemed very ambitious to get the club promoted and do well in management.’’
Such was Rollo’s status at Bath City that a handful of supporters travelled to watch his Chippenham debut on Tuesday.
He said: “I’ve been at Bath for ten years, it’s been a big part of my career. It’s been a big privilege. I’ve made some great friends and I probably know all those who came from Bath (Tuesday) personally by name, so that was nice.
“I was just being a squad player at Bath. I felt like I might have got a little bit more football this year but it just developed that way.
“Just because you’ve been somewhere for ten years doesn’t guarantee you a game of football on a Saturday, which is fine because they are in a bit of a transitional period.
“I’m 36, still fit and feel like I’ve got a couple of years playing left in me.
“Nathan’s (Rudge) been on to me for a while and I’ve known Rich (Fey) as well. I can maybe get 21 games in before the end of the season and help the team try and achieve something here.”
Rudge hopes Rollo’s capture will add another strand of experience to a squad that already contains the nous of striker Lee Phillips and midfielders Adie Harris and Iain Harvey.
“He’s been at Bath for ten years and been a great servant there. For the younger lads he’ll be great – a bit of experience,” said Rudge.
“He was someone that became available and it was too good an opportunity to turn down, to bring in someone of his stature and his presence.
“He’s a role model for people who want to play non-league football. I think he’ll do very well for us.’’
LIVE UPDATES FROM CHIPPENHAM TOWN'S CLASH AT WEYMOUTH ON SATURDAY ON TWITTER @gazsport AND MORE CHIPPENHAM TOWN NEWS & PICTURES IN THURSDAY'S GAZETTE & HERALD AND FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES