Bristol Rovers team kit for the 1883-84 season. Copyright Historical Football Kits and reproduced by kind permission.

The Black Arabs season 1883-84 was the first played by the team that would later become Bristol Rovers. This was the only season that they used the name Black Arabs, the name being changed to Eastville Rovers for the following season.

The team wore a predominantly black kit, from which they took their name, with a gold sash.


Black Arabs F.C. were not part of a league, and only played friendly matches during their first season. There is no record of the goalscorers from this season, and some match results have also been lost over time.

The first match was against Wotton-under-Edge on 1 December 1883 and two days later the Dursley Gazette carried the following report:

Football: Wotton-under-Edge v Black Arabs (Bristol). A match under association rules has been played at Wotton-under-Edge between these clubs, resulting in the defeat of the visiting team. The home team were in every point superior to their antagonists and after a one-sided game Wotton were declared victors by six goals to nil. —Dursley Gazette, 3 December 1883, reproduced in Byrne & Jay (2003).

1 December 1883Wotton-under-EdgeAwayLost 0-6
22 December 1883WarmleyAwayLost 1-3
12 January 1884Bristol Wagon WorksAway
19 January 1884Bristol Wagon WorksHome
26 January 1884WarmleyHomeLost 0-4
16 February 1884Wotton-under-EdgeHomeLost 0-2
1 March 1884Bristol Wagon WorksAwayPostponed
8 March 1884Bristol Wagon WorksHomeWon 3-0
15 March 1884Right & MightHome
22 March 1884Right & MightAway


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