Why 34-year-old EFL striker Brett Pitman dropped from newly promoted Bristol Rovers to ninth-tier Portchester

Brett Pitman
(Image credit: Getty Images)

During his career, Brett Pitman has won League Two, League One and the Championship with Bournemouth, and has played for clubs such as Bristol City, Ipswich Town, Portsmouth and Swindon Town.

However, in the summer of 2022, the 34-year-old made a drastic drop down the England pyramid, from newly promoted League One club Bristol Rovers to ninth-tier Portchester. 

The former EFL stalwart experienced a blistering start to life at the Wessex League Premier Division club, scoring 28 goals in his first 18 starts including a hat-trick and last-minute winner in a vital 3-2 win away at Portland in November. 

A week later, he struck four in an 8-1 drubbing of Alresford. This form has helped to make the Royals early promotion contenders. 

Speaking to FourFourTwo in the latest issue available to buy, the 34-year-old explains why he dropped down so many divisions.

“I expected to score goals, as I do whatever level I play at,” Pitman tells FFT. “That part hasn’t surprised me, but the team going unbeaten in our first 13 league matches was great. We expected to do well, but to have that start is brilliant.

“I loved my time at Bristol Rovers – it’s a really good club. Although I personally wasn’t very successful, it was nice to see them promoted last season as there are good people there."

However, Pitman didn't get to experience the run-in to Bristol Rovers' promotion, instead spending the second half of last season on-loan at National League side Eastleigh. He made 17 appearances for the Hampshire outfit, scoring just one goal.

"Going to Eastleigh was a strange time. I didn’t feel I was used enough, or used properly. I didn’t enjoy anything about it, and that’s why my next move was so important. It was imperative that I was going to enjoy myself, and I’m delighted it has worked out well at Portchester to date. 

“The quality of the opposition has been mixed if I’m honest,” he admits. “There have been some good teams that have given us a stern test. On the flip side there have been some poor, disorganised teams and we’ve taken advantage of that. 

“No matter what level you play at, you play to win. Whether it’s football or golf I just want to win, no matter what. When I came here, I wanted to enjoy my football. The Portchester lads have been class and helped me to fit in. I’ve been one of the lads. I’m relishing the here and now; I’m not looking beyond this season. As long as I can contribute on the pitch, I can’t see why I wouldn’t continue.”

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Ryan Dabbs
Staff writer

Ryan is a staff writer for FourFourTwo, joining the team full-time in October 2022. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before eventually earning himself a position with FourFourTwo permanently. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer while a Trainee News Writer at Future.