Stockport programme notes
January 1, 2000
Bristol Rovers Supporters Club Notes compiled by Dennis Payter
From the chair
The weather was certainly not kind to the travelling Gas last week! It all started quite brightly with the journey over to Gillingham last Saturday when we arrived at a Priestfield Stadium bathed in beautiful winter sunshine. We were able to bask in the open temporary seating in the warmest weather for several weeks contemplating a first Rovers away win since last September. Unfortunately it was not to last as we ended the game, rather like the team, in a much different frame of mind under a dark, leaden sky, freezing cold and with snow flurries witnessing another away day failure against struggling opponents! So, it was with some trepidation that we made the much shorter trip down the M5 last Tuesday night to see if the much-weakened Pirates could overcome an Exeter side that had replaced the Gills in the bottom four following the weekend’s results. However, it was heavy rain that won the day this time round and I arrived at St. James’ Park just as the team bus pulled out. At least we didn’t lose again! Let’s hope we were able to overcome high-flying Colchester last Saturday. The late cancellation of the Tuesday trip was another reminder on a night when many would have taken the relatively short drive, as I did for family reasons, that the official Supporters Club travel is fully insured against postponements and everyone who travelled on our coaches will either be refunded in full or can take the Exeter trip on the re-arranged date free of charge.
Whatever your view on the current management team, apart from getting Rovers out of the basement division after seven years of unremitting failure and then re-establishing the club back in League 1, ‘Lennie and Trolls’ best achievement in my eyes has been the resurrection of our youth system. For most of my fifty-odd years supporting Bristol’s senior football club we have relied on locally-produced players who, over all those seasons, had an affinity with the people who supported them week in and week out. The local lads were supplemented in the 1970’s by a fantastic Welsh ‘nursery’ that produced such great Rovers’ players as Wayne Jones, Frankie Prince, Phil Bater, Tony Pulis and Pete Aitken who is backing working for the club today. The welsh lads became honorary Bristolians and all our youngsters were held in great affection by the supporters. After ‘Ollie’ left the club at the turn of the millennium the youth department more or less disintegrated and we relied on acquiring ‘journeymen’ players who probably cost more than the value of their ‘achievements’! Thankfully things changed for the good when Paul Trollope took over the reins and, since last summer the Youth Scheme has been brought under the Club’s direct control from the previous arrangement with Filton College. At the same time Darren Patterson was appointed Head of Youth. With direct control comes extra costs of course and I was very pleased that the Supporters Club’s Executive Committee backed my proposal that profits from the matchday 50/50 Draw should go to supporting the Youth Scheme. The summer purchase of a luxury coach to convey the youngsters and their kit to matches and training sessions was the first and most high-profile expenditure from the 50/50 fund but we have since made a £20,000 contribution to the general funding of the Youth Scheme and we hope that similar donations will continue in the future. This was one of the topics discussed when the EC met the Directors a fortnight ago and we’ll pass on news of our further sponsorship as and when we can. The Weston-Super-Mare Branch of the Supporters Club sponsors Rovers’ Midlands Youth Team and this interesting venture is already reaping dividends with several young players showing great promise for the future. We can’t do it without your support of course and I hope that you will all continue buying your 50/50 tickets as you have so willingly in the past. The present first team may be heading for a mid-table finish this time round, itself a continuing improvement on what has gone before, but the future is looking brighter as time goes by. Keep supporting us and we can keep supporting the Rovers’ stars of the future! Enjoy the game!
Let’s Go Again
Good evening and welcome to the Memorial Stadium for our mid week fixture with Stockport County. A warm welcome to the supporters of the Cheshire club who have made the trip down from Greater Manchester and other parts to be with us this evening. Enjoy your time with us and a safe journey home after the game.
I am writing these notes before the inaugural gathering of Severn Vale GAS. I have been looking forward to this event for several weeks and months. It is a real pleasure to help to form a Branch in our Gloucestershire heartland. If you have missed the first get together, I will be writing notes about it in the next matchday programme. The Railway Tavern in Charfield sounds like a great venue.
Talking about great venues, so too are those in Weston-super-Mare and Norton Radstock. The Windsor Castle and the Crown respectively are very welcoming and highly supportive of our branches in those areas. Club Branches are great for social getogethers, communicating and organising local transport to home and away games. Please look out in these notes and log in to the websites for all future dates and times.
Next up Norton Radstock. The Branch usually meet in the first week of each month. Sally will be sending out her usual text messages and there will be postings on the websites. The visit to Swindon Town looms and the branch are working hard for transport to the game. The trip will be long awaited so please come along to the Crown at Clapton on a branch evening if you wish to join the group.
A good deal of transport was arranged for the game down at Exeter last Tuesday. Many of our fans were taking time off work and linking up with the organised transport or making their own way. The late call was a massive disappointment and highly unfair to the large number of supporters who were making their way or indeed who were already at St James Park.
I know that the grounds team down there were trying very hard to get the game on and were doing their jobs to the best of their abilities, but it was raining hard all the afternoon, pouring down for goodness sake. I arrived in Exeter at about one o clock and I just could not see the game being on. Reports were that the pitch was well covered with water and the pictures show on our official website show this to be the case. The forecast was for further heavy rain. It is my view that there should have been a pitch inspection and a decision much earlier. Leaving it for the match officials to arrive at the normal time was far too late.
The people who suffered most were the supporters of Bristol Rovers Football Club. Let’s go again, support our team and take all three points. Back to tonight and three points here too. Come on Rovers, we can do this, together we can.
In at 199
Ever felt a Mug? Well I have on more than one occasion. The last time was at the Railway Tavern in Charfield last Thursday; very nice too and in good company.
The next time could be in the Supporters Club shop at 199, Two Mile Hill, Kingswood. Two New Mugs that have just arrived in to join the already extensive stock of all things imaginable Rovers wise. The Top one is called the Three Badge Mug and the Bottom one is called Blue White BRFC Mug. Feels good at only £5.99 each