18th February 2012 Oxford United
January 1, 2000
From the BRSC Chairman: JIM CHAPPELL
Welcome back to the Mem for the second consecutive Saturday as Rovers pit their wits against Oxford United, another club like us who have fallen from grace in recent years but who are battling to regain a higher status.
Despite our defeat in a hard fought game at Shrewsbury, new boss Mark McGhee could not have got off to a better start than three consecutive wins that were achieved despite the loss of several key players through injury.
The manager is quite right, in my mind, to focus on making Rovers completely safe from the dreaded drop out of the Football League, a misfortune that has so famously befallen Oxford of course, before we start talking about ‘outside chances of the play-offs’!
OK, so we did it before under Paul Trollope but it was an amazing triumph built on the back of a phenomenal goalscoring partnership in Walker and Lambert and in 2007 we never suffered the sort of injury list that is currently affecting the club. However, there is no doubt that a real ‘feelgood’ factor has returned to the club and the side has produced some dogged defensive performances since Mark’s arrival that have produced the points needed to
climb the table.
As I said in my previous notes, I like the rhetoric coming from the management that appears to be keeping everyone’s feet firmly on the ground whilst making quite minor adjustments that produce results based on good organisation. Long may it continue!
Whilst the gate for the visit of Morecambe Was disappointing, probably because of the freezing weather, it was good to have another healthy 50/50 draw prize of £729 that followed on from £868 awarded at the Bradford City game. This draw has now raised a total of £15,000 so far this season, all of which is being pumped into our ever improving Youth Scheme. Ken Masters mentioned the youth games in his Morecambe notes and I can only reiterate his comment that it would be nice to see a few more fans, rather than mostly parents and relatives, attending them at Cribbs Causeway.
The AXA ground has recently been renamed Friends Life since the latter took over AXA but it remains a decent venue with Rovers youths having their own dedicated pitch. So, good football is pretty much guaranteed from our table topping lads and I can only join Ken in urging you to get up there on a Saturday morning. See the U-18’s fixture list on the youth pages of this programme.
Talking of pitches and freezing weather, every praise should be given to Richard Allsworth and his groundstaff, who put in such a great effort to get not just Rovers but also Bristol Rugby Club’s games on last weekend. The pitch has had a terrible hammering this season due to a couple of ‘egg chasing events’ taking place in the wettest of all weather and it does not look too good it must be said.
However, Rovers have not had a game called off yet and that at a time when there were very few matches taking place in Leagues One and Two recently. It was a nice touch for Richard to receive a public ’round of applause’ last Saturday and even better that the Memorial Stadium be rewarded with victories for both Rovers and Championship topping Bristol on the same weekend. Supporters of both clubs should be thankful for the work put in to ensure the games went ahead as scheduled.
Let’s hope the pitch is good again today and that we get a great game and another three points for Rovers.
Up the Pirates!
Jim Chappell, BRSC Chairman
On behalf of the Bristol Rovers Supporters Club, I am delighted to welcome the players, supporters and management of Oxford United FC to the Memorial Stadium this afternoon.
I wanted to pay tribute to all our supporters who made their way up the roadwork infested M5 and so on to Shrewsbury Town on Tuesday night, on what was a very cold Shropshire evening.
Despite our first defeat under Mark’s control, in yet another battling performance, all our supporters stayed to the end to show superb appreciation of the efforts the lads put in. I thought we were so unlucky to get nothing out of the game which shows what positive progress we are making.
They say your supporters are your twelfth man – how true that is. I felt extremely proud to be part of Bristol Rovers on Tuesday night because of your vocal support. I have no doubts the management and players of Bristol Rovers felt the same, way too. Thank you so much and I know we will have the same positive response today.
On a completely different subject, you may have seen the flyers or articles on the forums about Ken Masters and my idea to run a Facebook page called Bristol Rovers Fans Ideas. The purpose of this is page is to enable you to put forward constructive suggestions about how we can improve your experience at Bristol Rovers and how, together, we can take your club forward.
I cannot thank you all enough for the fabulous positive contributions which have already been made. I have no doubt many more will be on their way. These ideas range from ticket pricing, the new stadium, merchandising, TV’s in the Bristol Room, ladies toilets in the Blackthorn End, and many, many, more. All of these issues are equally important and were presented to the board at our meeting on Monday. I am delighted to say the concept received a 100% welcome.
Therefore, following this meeting, it was agreed that Ken, myself and the chairman (or a deputy if he is not available) will meet once a fortnight to discuss each one of your ideas. If the chairman can respond immediately, he will. If the idea needs to be delegated to another member of staff for a responsive action, then this will be done immediately following each fortnightly meeting.
So that you know what’s going on, a report will be published on the forums to let you know how your ideas are progressing. I will publish dates to let you know when these reports will be made available, but my intention is a week after the chairman’s meeting. This will allow a new report to be written a week before for the next board meeting to ensure that there is no time lapse between your ideas and the actions required to put your ideas into actions.
As you will appreciate some ideas will take longer than others. Nevertheless our fortnightly report will inform you of how quickly your idea is being progressed. I would also like to thank my daughter Nikki who is helping with the administration which as you can imagine is extensive. With this in mind, let’s all look ahead to the rest of the season with renewed confidence both on and oft the field starting with a great win against Oxford this afternoon!
Enjoy the match UTG!
Yours in friendship
Brian Seymour-Smith, BRSC Director
John Thornell won £729 in the Morecambe 50/50 draw and is pictured receiving his winnings of £729 from Jim Chappell and Brian Seymour-Smith. The winning ticket number 68776 was sold by Sandra Jaques in the J & G Stand.
ORGANISED JUNIOR MATCHDAY PARTIES
Today we welcome Shirehampton Colts JFC. They are represented here by a range of age groups from the U-10’s to the U-16’s.
Their teams are competing in the Avon Youth League, South Gloucestershire Junior League & the Bristol Saturday Friendly League. Shirehampton’s friendly club was formed in 1978 to provide football opportunities for boys and girls from reception school age to U-18’s. The Club have in the region of 300 young people playing/training every week. Shirehampton are extremely proud to be supporting the GAS today and wish Mark McGhee and the boys the very best for the rest of the season. For information and further contact details please visit the club at www.pitchero.com/clubs/shire
This scheme is for schools and organised junior teams who can apply for up to 50 free matchday tickets in the Becks Stand or Family Enclosure. This will include for some parents to supervise them. Eagle Coaches have again agreed to provide a free bus within the Bristol area and will go further afield for a subsidised cost.
We are now fully booked, apart from Gillingham on 7th April, so please submit your applications in early to avoid disappointment. We are also taking expressions of interest for 2012113.