Darrell Clarke: Bristol Rovers' exciting future made manager opt to stay

Darrell Clarke
Darrell Clarke was mobbed by fans as Bristol Rovers won promotion to League One on 7 May

Manager Darrell Clarke says he opted to commit his future to Bristol Rovers over the Leeds United job because he is "excited" about the Pirates' future.

The 38-year-old was speaking publically for the first time since he signed a new three-year Rovers deal in May after Leeds made a formal approach for him.

Clarke has guided Rovers to successive promotions up to League One.

"They met the compensation and I spoke to Leeds. But my head was at Bristol Rovers," he told BBC Radio Bristol.

"We're certainly going the right way, building the infrastructure. That's excited me, with the thought of potentially building a new training ground and a new stadium.

"That's why I've committed myself to the long term for the football club.

"You've got to respect Leeds as a massive football club, but I'm excited about the project here. I have no hesitation in knowing that I've made the right move."

Leeds subsequently appointed former Swansea City boss Garry Monk as their new head coach on 2 June.

Rovers 'won't pay ridiculous wages'

Rovers were taken over by the Jordanian Al-Qadi family - who bought a 92% stake in the club - in February but Clarke is not anticipating spending large transfer fees on players this summer.

"People think we're going to be making unbelievably big, marquee signings - it's not going to be the case," he added.

"We'll keep building it in the right way and not be paying ridiculous wages.

"The owners want to build an infrastructure. It's massively important for the future of the football club that we get the stadium and a training ground."

Clarke offered fresh deals to all but one of his first-team squad after they finished in the automatic promotion places in League Two in 2015-16, with 12 signing new contracts.

But top scorer Matty Taylor has yet to decide his future, with his contract at Rovers now up.

'The door won't always be open'

Matty Taylor
Matty Taylor scored 27 league goals last season

"I thought at the end of the season, we'd lose him (Taylor)," said Clarke. "That hasn't changed. But you never know.

"People have to appreciate that players have a livelihood to make. It's his obligation whether he wants to take the deal that we've offered him or not.

"But the door won't always be open for that.

"If I think a player comes in that's the right one to come in, at the right price that could potentially get the 20-plus goals, then we'll take that and then that door will shut."

On 23 June, chairman Steve Hamer said time was "running out" for the former Forest Green Rovers striker to sign a new deal.

Top Stories