10th December 2011 Swindon Town
January 1, 2000
Well things are certainly looking up as we head into the Christmas period following a less than impressive autumn.
A dogged and determined display at Roots Hall, against League leaders Southend United, brought a welcome point on the road after defeats at Oxford, Burton and Accrington, and well deserved it was too! Then last Sunday, in front of the whole nation on live TV looking for an FA Cup giant killing, Rovers turned in a superbly professional display that immediately produced a home tie in Round Three against Premiership opposition in the new year. Six fine goals, the first three being absolutely sensational, showed just what the side are capable of. OK, Totton are three levels below us in the football Pyramid but no side could have defended those fantastic first half strikes and the team played with great tenacity for the whole 90 minutes. No Gashead could have asked for more; a clean sheet perhaps, but I felt that Totton deserved some reward themselves for a hard fought display.
The Evostick side never stopped battling but in the end they were simply outclassed and the famous Aston Villa will now be coming to BS7 to provide a real test of Rovers’ credentials! We were, of course, the equals of the ‘Villains’ way back in the days of Graydon, Stubbs, Godfrey, Taylor and the like in the early 1970’s but I’m sure the high flying Premiership side of today will provide just as exciting an afternoon in a month’s time as they did in those gripping Third Division promotion battles in the Eastville mud!
Something great to look forward to then, but this afternoon we face another old foe in the shape of Swindon Town. The last time we met
here in the basement division of the Football League was when the two sides were promoted together back in 2007 and a certain Rickie Lambert crashed home a sensational winner
to clinch an ultimately successful play off spot. Pirates and Robins seem to have been locked together for years, but we have a lot of catching-up to do this time round as Swindon have made the sort of start that I’m sure we were all expecting Rovers to achieve after our opening day win at Wimbledon. Whatever, it is interesting to note that Rovers were in the same position, 18th, when Paul Trollope’s side started that fantastic run to promotion back in the early weeks of 2007 so it is still perfectly possible to make up the lost ground on our visitors. A win this afternoon would make that possibility much more realistic!
On Wednesday evening we host another Black County club in the shape of Coventry City when the Midlands Youth Alliance Leaders come up against the South West & Wales Alliance Leaders here in the Third Round of the FA Youth Cup. Many Rovers fans complain that the youngsters never make it through but our (only) two year old investment in the youth scheme is already bearing great fruit; two fine goals from Eliot Richards last Sunday and a debut appearance for Darren Jeffries on top of Jordan Goddard’s in the last round of the FA Cup shows what can be done. Please keep buying our 50/50 half-time draw tickets in support of the Youth Scheme and come along on Tuesday evening to support the lads in their biggest test to date.
The Pirate for our last home game against Barnet had already been published when we heard the shock news that our old friend, committee
colleague, programme contributor, club historian and lifelong Rovers’ supporter, Alan Lacock had passed away from renal failure. It was something of a rush to arrange a minute’s silence, but that turned into an impromptu round of applause which brought a tear to the eye of those of us who knew Alan well. Thanks to all for giving him such a great Rovers’ ‘send off’. RIP Alan.
The committee has decided to perpetuate the memory of Alan, who had not missed a home game for 50 years, by naming its Youth Team Player of the Year Trophy after him. The trophy is currently held by Darren Jeffries, and is presented at our annual awards presentation evening.
I hope there are lots of you going to Gillingham next Saturday, (I know there is a big fancy dress, nativity themed party planned), and look forward to a full house here on Boxing Day. Have a great Christmas with the Rovers!
Jim Chappell. BRSC Chairman
Brian Seymour-Smith and Nick Higgs present Simon Arnold with the signed shirt he won in the Share Scheme draw.
BREAD AND BUTTER
Those of us who were at Totton last Sunday, and indeed those watching the game on television, were treated to six of the very best as we swept aside the hopes and dreams of the Southern League leaders to progress to the Third Round of the FA Cup.
Hopes and dreams are now switched to us as we look forward to entertaining Premier League Aston Villa; mouth watering to say the very least.
The competition never fails to reinvent expressions such as ‘turn our season around’, ‘kick start our season’, ‘platform to build on’,’go on a run from here’ and many more. Certainly there is an element of truth as the past shows. Clubs, players and supporters take the inspiration of a decent Cup run to improve League performances; let’s pull together and let’s hope so.
The League is the bread and butter after all. Successful, indifferent or otherwise to describe a football season overall is largely based on the performances and standing of the first team.
Today we welcome West Country neighbours Swindon Town to the Memorial Stadium. The Wiltshire Robins are also through to the Third Round of the Cup and are set to face Premier opposition at home. After an indifferent start to the campaign, fortunes have turned for the County Ground faithful as their club sit a very healthy looking sixth in the League Two table as we approach the halfway stage.
Now is the time for us to impact on our own League form, especially at home, and to start to climb the table towards the play off places.
Please don’t ever doubt the part we can play. We all like to feel positive support in life and especially so at school, college or work. Negative behaviour seldom helps and only serves to make situations worse such that we do not perform to our best and we do not enjoy what we are about. Professional football players work very hard to rise above that sort of thing and to cut it out of their minds, but in truth they are no different to the rest of us. Younger players are particularly vulnerable and we have a good number of those in our squad. They need, and deserve, our support.
On a different tack, we had a good Rovers evening with plenty of chat, opinions and a drink or three at the Weston super Mare Gas AGM on November 17th. Thank you to all of those who came along to support the event. The branch is organising local travel to away games coming up in the New Year including Barnet, Cheltenham and Aldershot. Please see Neil as soon as possible to book your seat. A small deposit will do and this will be refundable if the trip is cancelled for any reason.
The Christmas meal will be held at the Windsor Castle Pub on Saturday December 17th starting at 8.00pm. A race night is planned for Boxing Evening starting at around 6.30pm so a good way to continue the festivities with like minds. WsM will again be sponsoring the Matchball this season. The selected game is the visit of Accrington Stanley on April 28th. There will be a Skittles and Matchball raffle night at The Balmoral Hotel on April 14th starting at 8.00pm.
It was good to see Coleford Gas well represented at the Totton game. Would the organisers please get in contact. Brian and I will be in the clubhouse and around the ground before and after the game today. Please make yourselves known to us.
Game on, three points at stake and The Villa to look forward to. Come on Rovers, together we can do this.
Ken Masters, BRSC Director
Alan Nicholls, of Bishopsworth won £709 at the Barnet game with ticket 45090 sold by Dave Bean on the Uplands Stand incline.