In its rich history, Bristol has nurtured some of the great stars of the past and present.
We would like to thank Dave Fox and Mark Hoskins for allowing us to take advantage of the superb research they did for their book "Bristol Football Club (RFU) - 100 Greats". Dave and Mark contributed the information and the images.
If you would like to get more information on the club, its players and its history, then you can buy their book at most leading bookshops in Bristol.
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Position Full back
Date of Birth ?
Date of Death 1955-1956
Career 1896 - 1910 299 games
Scored 1t, 85c, 6p, 3dg, = 203 pts scoring details from 1900 - 1910 only
"No words can indicate what he has done for the club ever since he first joined it; no one has achieved more valuable out of sight work, often of the most exacting kind."
Thus the Bristol Jubilee Book summed up the contribution of Jimmy Oates, who served the club as a player and administrator for over fifty years. A fullback, he received his first team cap in 1896/97, was vice captain from 1902 to 1904 and captained Bristol in the 1905/06 season. He was Bristol's leading appearance maker for many years, his total of 299 games eventually being beaten by Fred Coventry in the 1920s and he was also a prolific points scorer.
Jimmy Oates made 20 appearances for Gloucestershire. He was Bristol's fullback when the club defeated Cardiff for the first time, and his season of captaincy coincided with the visit of the first All Blacks. Their game with Bristol was Oates's second match as captain, but he was out of action for much of the season through injury and retired at the end of it. He was immediately made an honorary life member.
Oates was assistant secretary from 1907 to 1909 and then joint secretary with various people from 1910 to 1914, a period when as many as three shared the job. He stepped in at short notice to act as secretary for the A XV (as Bristol's second XV was then called) in 1924/25 and in 1926/27, more than 20 years after the end of his playing career, he actually made one appearance for the A XV, even managing to kick a conversion. He was a major figure in the Old Players' Society, acting as honorary secretary and enjoyed attending reunions with fellow players. At one such gathering in 1938 he summed up his love for the club in these words: "I have never lost my interest in the club-in fact it is keener than ever."
Oates remained on the committee after World War Two, celebrating 50 years of service to Bristol in 1945/46 and finally retiring from committee work in 1947. He was made president of the Old Players' Society in 1955, but by then he was in poor health and he died during the 1955/56 season. Few have matched his record of service to the club he loved.