24th March 2012 Southend United
January 1, 2000
RELIEF ALL ROUND
Good afternoon and welcome to today’s fixture with high flying Southend United.
The Shrimpers edged back into the automatic promotion places following last weekend’s game at Hereford. The result marked an amazing twelfth win on the road this season, and a further three goals took their away tally to 39. Only Swindon in top spot had a bigger number in the goals for column at the start of the week and that was on their own soil and only by one goal!
I felt a sense of relief after the game last Saturday against Wimbledon. 45 points with ten football matches still to play represented a mid table position away from the relegation contenders. Expectation is one thing, but non league football at Bristol Rovers was definitely not one of them. Well done to Mark, Shaun and the players for turning our season around.
A warm welcome to Shrimpers fans who have travelled from Essex and other parts to be with us this afternoon. Southend is a well supported club at this level so we can expect a good Essex following and noisy support at the away end; just as it should be. Enjoy your football with us and a safe journey home after the game.
Relief in sport can feel as good as success sometimes and so Sport Relief weekend is very timely for us; sort of relief all round. Activities started yesterday and, as with so many of these charities, a little donation goes a very long way to help those less fortunate than ourselves.
This last week we have been organising and planning a big walk around the Memorial Stadium. Something like 800-1,000 children will have walked a mile, older people and disabled will have taken part as well to raise sponsorship money for Sport Relief. The walk was organised in groups and I promised to start with the first and finish with the last.
Earlier today I will have taken part in the BBC One Show 1000 as it reached Bristol on its way to the finish in London tomorrow. One thousand runners will have covered 1,000 miles around the UK in a non stop, day and night relay since starting in Oban just over a week ago. Age is nothing I worry about especially but I reckon that most of the 999 other runners will have been younger than me! Please help me to help others in the name of Bristol Rovers:
and click on ‘Sponsor Me.’ Thank you.
We are still branching out. There has been meet ups in Gloucester, London and the West Midlands of late and next week it is the turn of Rovers fans in the East Midlands. Thursday, March 29th marks the first meet up of supporters living in the Leics, Lincs, Notts, Rutland and Peterborough areas. Time from 7.30pm, place the Blue Dog Inn which can be found close to the Al right on the Leics/Lincs border.
The pub is very Rovers friendly and regulars raised a good sum for the Adam Stansfield Foundation last year. All Rovers exiles are welcome, members and non members alike. Grantham based Alan Nelder, originally from Weston super Mare, has volunteered to organise the branch. Alan is a top fan and has made the 320 mile round trip as usual to be at the Mem today. See you on Thursday at the Blue Dog Inn, Main Street, Sewstern, NG33 5RQ.
Southend are good on the road; we will need to be at our best today.
Let’s make some noise; come on Rovers, come on you Blues.
Ken Masters, BRSC director
We would like to welcome our latest member Steve Roscoe who has signed up to the silver ‘exile’ option.
Katherine Rechter picks up the signed shirt she won in the Share Scheme Draw from Brian Seymour-Smith
From the BRSC Chairman: JIM CHAPPELL
I agree with Mark McGhee when he says that a top ten finish is now a realistic goal for the team to achieve and, if successful, will give us a great springboard from which to get next season started. For a club of our stature, and budget, the play off positions really should be the minimum requirement next time round and I’m sure that with the current management team now in control it will be achieved. It’s easier said than done, of course, and a lot of hard work will be necessary to win anything because we have found League Two sides this time round just as resilient as they were during our previous spell in the basement division.
Our support on the road has been brilliant considering the disappointments in the first half of this season and it was good that the faithful were rewarded with all the points again last Saturday. The lads deserved the win which was courtesy of another great strike by ‘Muzzy’ and another fine defensive display
in appalling weather conditions on a pitch that resembled the Somme. With the ‘rugger’ boys on it again just 24 hours later, let’s hope it has recovered sufficiently to give us another decent game this afternoon!
It is the Committee’s intention to raise our membership fee next season, for the first time in many years, from £7.00 to £8.00. We cannot do this until approval is given, (hopefully), by the membership at our AGM in the autumn, so the £7.00 fee will remain in place for the start of next season. This should act as an incentive for members to renew their membership promptly and a good start by the team will help give a real boost to our funds, which of course feed indirectly into the Football Club. Ideally we would like to get the membership fee up to £10.00 by the time Rovers start playing in the superb new stadium at UWE — and at a higher level of football too of course! Chairman Nick Higgs has already outlined to us that the Supporters Club will have excellent and extensive
facilities in the new stadium and representatives of the board and Supporters Club Executive should have commenced talks on how these are going to be funded, and operated, by the time you read this. In the meantime we are also looking at ways to improve the matchday experience for our members whilst we remain here at the ‘Mem’ and we’ll give you details on all this as and when we can through this column, on our website and in the summer Newsletter. Please keep the support coming! The team will need plenty of vocal backing today as we tackle promotion chasing Southend United on our usually less than ideal pitch! The Shrimpers are bound to be favourites to take all the points but we know that Mark McGhee’s men are now capable of beating any team in the division so it is likely to be another close fought affair. Your support of the boys in blue could be crucial, so please get behind them from the very start.
ORGANISED JUNIOR MATCHDAY PARTIES
Today we offer a warm welcome Fishponds Youth FC who were established in 1996 as a boys football club for the local area.It was part of the senior club Fishponds Old Boys FC that was founded in 1969 by Alan Evans. Fishponds Youth’s home ground is currently at Forest Road, Fishponds, and they have U-13’s and U-14’s in the Avon Youth League. There are plans to start a younger age for next season. The U-12’s last year won the Avon Youth league Division 4 and in 2010 they won the North Cornwall Cup. The Club likes to enter football tournaments in Bristol and regularly takes part in the North Cornwall Cup. At Fishponds Youth FC all the boys are encouraged to take part in team activities, tournaments, social excursions and be part of the team.
Organised Junior Matchday Parties have again operated successfully this year and we are now fully booked up to the end of this season. However if you are a small party and can make your own way to the stadium we have some availability for the Good Friday game against Glillingham. We are now keeping a reserve list and taking expressions of interest for 2012/13. Please email your applications to d[email protected] or phone on 07765 254110.
Ian and David Brain of Corsham won £806 in the 50/50 draw at the Wimbledon game with ticket 60604 sold by Ian Brain in the local pubs. Jim Chappell is seen here handing over the winnings.