26th December 2011 Plymouth Argyle
January 1, 2000
May I begin by echoing the words of Nick our Football Club Chairman, and Jim our Supporters Club Chairman, by wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and every happiness and prosperity for the New Year.
May I also extend similar greetings to the players, staff and supporters of Plymouth Argyle who we meet today at the Mem. As Jim pointed out in his programme notes, this particular contest is always very competitive and hard fought, but always a friendly one. However, if Rovers collect all three points today, I know this will give us extra Christmas sparkle and set us up nicely for the New Year campaign.
Many of you will remember we met Plymouth twice last season and, regretfully, found ourselves with nothing to show on both occasions. That was despite being two goals up in the corresponding home fixture in League One this time last year. Looking at recent form, I am sure we will put that right today.
I know you will have read the very comprehensive coverage regarding plans for our new stadium. No one should underestimate the substantial work that Nick and his team have put in behind the scenes in doing everything possible to make this dream come true. Whenever you, as supporters, have spoken to me about the stadium, you know I have firmly and honestly said that I believe UWE will
happen. It must happen to ensure the long term future and success of our football club.
This is a new and exciting chapter in the history of Bristol Rovers and now the Chairman, the Board and Club need your support and backing like never before as we bid for planning permission. Together we will, and must, make UWE happen!
On a completely different subject, I mentioned in conversation with several supporters that I was keen to see a return of former players to the Supporters Club bar for a Q&A prior to each match. This would be followed by a similar appearance in the Uplands, followed by autographs in the Supporters’ Club bar after the match to help further enhance your matchday experience. I am delighted to say that both the Football Club and Supporters Club have given this idea their full backing.
I am also delighted that Pete Aitken has offered to host the Supporters Club events and Ian Holtby the Uplands presentations, with the Supporters Club offering to cover the expenses of our guests. These sessions will start in the Supporters Club bar very
shortly, so please watch all websites and local press for details. It would also be great if you emailed me on [email protected] to say which former players you would realistically most like us to invite.
Enjoy the match.
Yours in friendship
Brian Seymour-Smith BRSC director
The Supporters Club Executive Committee has decided to perpetuate the memory of Alan Lacock by naming its Youth Team Player of the Year Award after him. A lifelong Rovers supporter who had not missed a home match for 50 years, Alan died recently after a short illness. Players and fans stood in a minute’s tribute to him before the recent Barnet game.
Alan had a reputation for his vast knowledge of Bristol Rovers Football Club. Jim Chappell said recently: “There was little he couldn’t remember about Rovers’ games and players. My lasting memory of Alan will always be one of him flicking through his latest edition of ‘Rothmans’ just to check a point or to show some poor ‘disbeliever’ that what he had just declared was actually a fact that only he could possibly remember! That made him first on the list as a contributor to the best programme in the Football League and he will be greatly missed by the rest of us on the ‘Pirate’ team.
“Alan’s health had deteriorated greatly over the last few years to the extent that he finally lost his incredible home attendance record only this season and perhaps that was somehow fitting considering the team’s sad decline over the last year or so. However, I’m sure we will rise again soon and Alan can look down on his beloved Rovers in a new home proud to have played a part in our great club.
“Alan was another great character who will be greatly missed by all the many Rovers fans who knew him and the Supporters Club sends its sincere condolences to his brother Steve and all the rest of his family at this very sad time.”
The trophy is currently held by Darren Jeffries, as selected by the youth team coach, and is presented at the Supporters Club annual awards presentation night.
A festive welcome, from the Supporters Club, to everyone here at the Memorial Stadium today.
I hope you all had a great Christmas Day and that you witness an equally great game this afternoon against our old rivals Plymouth Argyle.
This is that time of the year when the BRSC pages, along with a few others I might say, have to become at least one match ‘out of date’ due to publishing deadlines. This means that I cannot comment on last Saturday’s trip to Gillingham or for that matter on the FA Youth Cup tie against Coventry City that was scheduled for the previous Wednesday but which had to be postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
The game was rescheduled for last Monday afternoon, which was very disappointing as the number of supporters who could have attended must have been greatly reduced from that for an evening kick off. Let’s hope that our lads got through so that the majority will have the chance to see them perform against another `big name’ in Round Four.
Prior to that postponement things had continued to look up with Rovers gaining a well earned point here after falling behind to high flying Swindon a fortnight ago. Whilst consecutive draws against promotion chasing sides, with a big cup win against non leaguers sandwiched between, were very creditable results and performances we need to get a few wins on the board so let’s hope that happened at the Priestfield last Saturday.
Off the field, of course, we received the great news that Rovers have completed all the legal agreements to fund the building of our proposed new stadium alongside the University of the West of England at Filton. We are told by Chairman Nick Higgs that the planning applications for both the new stadium and for redevelopment of the site here will go in early in the New Year. This is when we supporters will need to put our views forward in support of the two linked plans as neither one can go ahead without the other. The new stadium will be the best
in the west and should be in advance of anything on offer from ‘south of the river’ so watch this space for more news on this exciting project in the coming weeks.
Today’s match is the first of five big games, four of which are here at the Mem, that can really make or break Rovers’ season with the current League One leaders and Premiership Aston Villa amongst the New Year visitors. Rovers against Argyle is always a great fixture and a big crowd is almost guaranteed to make this afternoon’s match a thriller. There is the added spice of Rovers’ `Torquay connections’ who will no doubt provoke a hostile reaction from ‘Pilgrims’ supporters so we want everyone in home areas of the ground to get right behind the boys in blue this afternoon. It certainly won’t be easy but after hopefully seeing the lads gain a valuable three points I hope you all continue to have a great holiday and a very Happy and Prosperous New Year!
Jim Chappell, BRSC Chairman
Derrick Smith picks up his 50/50 winnings of £887 from Jim Chappell at the Swindon game. The winning ticket number 49767 was sold by Pete Collins in Filton Avenue
Barry Knight collects the signed shirt he won in the Share Scheme draw from Helen Wigmore at the Swindon game.
SPEND AND RAISE
Did you know that if you shopped on line at the eStore today you could be raising money for the Supporters Club?
We have earned more than £400 in commission from people clicking onto Spend and Raise on the Supporters Club website.
By shopping on line you won’t spend any more than going to the retailers’ website directly. In fact if you visit the ‘Today’s Offers’ tab, the chances are you will even save money.