5th April 2011 AFC Bournemouth
January 1, 2000
BRSC programme notes compiled by Dennis Payter
The Cherries are making a great effort to achieve a second consecutive promotion despite all their money, points deduction, and transfer embargo issues of the last couple of seasons.
Bournemouth have had the Indian sign over Rovers in the last few years and won all three games against us the season before last. Given that we still have to pay them a visit this season, tonight’s opponents are likely to be crucial to Rovers’ survival bid.
It’s a good job then that Rovers have picked up so well under caretaker manager Stuart Campbell and his assistant Craig Hinton, two men who have shown, as players, how committed they are to the club. The difference when Stuart took over so suddenly, at Prenton Park, was instant with a completely different style of play and a seemingly much more determined attitude from the players that continued in the two home games and a second victory on the road at Notts County – a result which could yet prove vital come the end of the season!
I attended the Football Club AGM both as an individual shareholder and as representative of the Supporters Club, which is the third largest shareholder thanks mainly to the Share Scheme. After the main business had been completed, we were treated to a short question and answer session with Stuart who proved what an astute and confident man he is. He refused to be drawn on the performance of our previous managers and made it quite plain that he has his own style of play and is determined to follow it. There is no doubt that the playing side of the club could not be in better hands at this critical time and, win or lose the relegation battle, I sincerely hope that there is a place for Stuart and Craig when the season is over.
During the AGM there were a couple of critical comments made about the lack of local players coming up through the club’s Youth Scheme at the moment and this is something I would most certainly have agreed with two or three years ago. Only Chris Lines has made it through in recent years to become an established first teamer, although Mike Green and a couple more of our present fringe players may yet make it in the long run. That is why, when the Supporters Club’s 50/50 matchday draw seemed to have run out of purpose with planning permission given for the total redevelopment of the stadium, I proposed, and the Executive Committee agreed, we should allocate all further funding from the draw to Rovers’ youth development instead.
This coincided with a manager in Paul Trollope who was also of the opinion that a club like Rovers needed to bring on its own players as we had so done so famously in the past. Unfortunately a youth policy is like a big ship at sea – it takes a long time to turn round! There are many facets that have to be taken into account, not least having sufficient numbers of scouts and coaches of the right calibre to get the whole scheme running because it is not just one team we are talking about. To get a team of talented youngsters performing the way that you eventually want them to play in the Football League you have to start early and that means a whole string of teams up through the age limits. That in turn means not just coaches but physios and kitmen, good pitches to play on, transport and kit etc. All this costs money but I’m pleased to say that Rovers have taken this fully on board and we are now getting everything in place.
When we started out with the 50/50 draw funding I spoke with Paul Trollope to find out what was most needed and at the time it was a minibus to convey the lads to matches as the hire of vehicles was becoming a big drain on resources. I wanted Rovers to have the best, so it was that Ken Masters and I spoke to a specialist company in the trade in the Midlands and we purchased the luxury Mercedes coach that now transports the Youth team around the country emblazoned with the Football Club, Supporters Club and 50/50 draw logos.
Our ‘silver machine’ certainly does create a good impression when you see most opposition teams turn up at the super AXA ground in transit van conversions with one local team recently bearing sponsorship by their local chip shop! Of course it does not make a team, but the coach helps to make a good impression on the young players and, just as important, on their parents. Last season was our first one sponsoring the Youth Scheme and the 50/50 income did not pay the entire cost of the coach so the Supporters Club made up the balance, which we have paid back from the first few months on the draw takings this season. Next up was some urgently required medical and condition monitoring equipment that only cost about £1,000 but has been of great benefit to the staff and physios. In addition some of it has been useful for the first team as was a laptop computer and fitness monitoring programme that we purchased at reduced cost through the club’s main shirt sponsor, Smart Computers.
Since then the draw has sponsored the cost of training and educating our Academy players at Filton College – an additional non budgeted cost that has fallen upon the club in order to run its own Academy in line with new Football League rules. At the end of this season we will be sitting down with Head of Youth Ken Oram to see where we can next best allocate the draw funds next season. So, please keep buying those tickets as every one you purchase is helping to develop the Rovers teams of the future!
One very interesting, if slightly unusual, thing to come out of the revamped youth policy was the setting up of a Midlands Academy team based at Henley in Arden. Such has been its success that I am told we now have no less than eight teams up there, drawing talent from under the noses of the Premiership clubs and apparently now getting ‘up their noses’ as well. I went up to Pershore Town’s ground recently to watch a specially organised match between the Bristol and Midlands Academy teams and could not help but be impressed by the young talent on view. Already a couple of the Midlands players have been signed on for next season’s full U-18 youth team and I’m convinced that they may soon be impressing you supporters as well.
The Weston super Mare Branch of the Supporters Club have been directly sponsoring the Midlands set up since day one, so our thanks to them for all their great fund-raising efforts. The Midlands Academy, who currently top the Midlands Youth League, wear the Weston Gas logo on their guartered shirts! Things are not only improving on the youth front but they are getting exciting as well with a string of great talent making their way up through the ages. Look out for names like Jordan Tillson, (yes, a real ‘chip off the old block’), Sam Kamara, Shaguille Hunter, Alfie Santos, the latter pinched back from Stoke City because he doesn’t like the ‘ball up in the air all the time’! Buy a 50/50 draw ticket today and every week.
Jim Chappell, BRSC Chairman
Ken Masters, Jim Chappell and Darren Paterson with Alfie Santos, one of next year’s scholars
One of the Supporters Club directors on the Football Club board, Ken Masters is currently in the middle of his epic 180 miles walk for the Adam Stansfield Foundation.
Adam, the former Yeovil and Exeter player, died last year aged just 31. Ken was due to have walked to Huish Park for our game last Saturday before going on to Exeter and walking back to the Memorial Stadium in time for our game against The Grecians next Saturday.
The Just Giving website is setting up a page for donations to the Foundation or you can contact Kirsty Pugh at Rovers on 0117 9524003.
bids Ken Masters
SHARE SCHEME SHIRT
Alison Gibson was the winner of a Bristol Rovers shirt in the Share Scheme draw. It was presented to her at the Peterborough game by the scheme’s administrator Claire McDonagh.
Simon Heal of Frome won £769 in the draw at the Peterborough game with ticket number 73831 sold by Sandra Jaques in the DAS Stand.
The second prize of a Peter’s Pies hamper was not claimed. The winning ticket is 75069, sold by Ian Brain in the bars and pubs and the hamper can be claimed at the stadium from Stadium Manager Ian Holtby.