28th April 2012 Accrington Stanley
January 1, 2000
Today we remember Alfie Biggs, who is pictured here with a number of other former Rovers stalwarts for one last time at Eastville. Back (L-R): Terry Oldfield, Ray Kendall, Doug Hillard, Peter Sampson, Joe Davis, Harry Liley, Alfie, Dick Sheppard, Stuart Taylor. Front (L-R): Harold Jarman, George Petherbridge, Ray Mabbutt, Tom Stanton, Bobby Campbell, Graham Day
Good afternoon to all at the Memorial Stadium today and a warm welcome to Accrington Stanley fans who will have travelled from the North West and other parts to be with us for the penultimate game of the 2012113 season.
It seems a long haul from the first game opener at AFC Wimbledon, when three away points put us in the mood for success and reinforced our expectations of a real go at a quick return to League One. In the event circumstances dictated that we lowered those expectations and by January some thought we were staring non League football in the face.
That scenario was never in my thoughts or of any of us on the Board as far as I could tell and action was taken to turn around our fortunes. No less than seven home defeats at that stage was not good and it is a measure of the ‘turn around’ that that figure in the columns is still seven; still too many, but still seven.
Credit must go to Mark McGhee and the players for gaining the points and moving us up to a safe position in the League table. As the manager has said publicly, preparations for next season have already begun. The air of togetherness has returned to the football club.
We are looking at the future with a good deal of optimism. Thank you to our members and all supporters who have filed their individual support to South Gloucestershire Council. Only time will tell where we will be in three or four years time; you can be sure that the ambition is there from the top and we will be working very hard to fulfil the hopes and dreams of who support us and share in the ambition. This is Bristol and we are Bristol Rovers.
Today we celebrate the life of Bristolian, Bristol Rovers great, legend, captain and goal scorer extraordinaire, Alfie Biggs. The Baron will appear on the front cover, first page and final tribute of any historical text in the name of Bristol Rovers.
Supporters on the Eastville terraces idolised him, visiting teams feared him. It was a wonderful time and to produce such greats as Geoff Bradford and Alfie Biggs to play together in the best team that Bristol Rovers have ever produced and one that thumped the Busby Babes 4-0 was remarkable. Those of us that were lucky enough to have been there that day will remember Alfie’s brace as though it was yesterday.
Alfie Biggs gave us our finest and proudest moment in the history of Bristol Rovers Football Club. God bless him and take him into His care for ever; thank you Alfie Biggs.
As the season draws to a close I take this opportunity to thank all of our members and supporters for your contributions since last August. There is no professional football club without the fans, simple.
A special thanks to Branch organisers and members. Thank you to organisers of away travel. Thank you to all of our volunteers who work so hard on matchdays. Thank you our BRSC staff and to BRFC staff for unseen and vital work on our behalf.
Thank you to all who have supported my charity walks and to say that I am not on my own. London organiser Paul Davis is walking 28miles, wearing his Rovers shirt, from Croydon to Kings Cross and back in aid of CJD research. The event takes place on Thursday 17th. To support Paul please call up justgiving.com/paul-davis-2012.
Ken Masters BRSC Director
The latest winner of a signed shirt in the Share Scheme Draw, James Stoate, collected his prize from Brian Seymour-Smith
Winner of the 50/50 draw at the Burton game was Jenny Gibbs, who won £798 with ticket number 70493 purchased from Jackie Chapple on the Clubhouse Terrace. Jenny is pictured receiving her winnings from Jim Chappell, accompanied by Graham Day and Paul Randall who were our guests at the game.
From the BRSC Chairman: JIM CHAPPELL
Welcome to the Memorial Stadium for the final home match in what has been a second disappointing season in succession to last year’s relegation from League One. At least the appointment of Mark McGhee into Rovers’ managerial ‘hot seat’ has again raised expectations for the promotion challenge next season that never got going under Paul Buckle despite similar hopes nine months ago!
Our latest defeat, at Port Vale last Saturday, seemed to sum the season up really as it came on the back of a thumping win here over Burton Albion – Rovers biggest score since the 8-2 win over Brian Clough’s Brighton 1973/4. Where are they now, one could ask? Forget Brighton and Burton, Port Vale are the sort of team, with today’s visitors Accrington Stanley, who will harbour promotion aspirations of their own next autumn and they will need to be overcome if Rovers are to be successful next time round. Let`s hope we are back to winning ways again this afternoon.
Whilst Rovers actually defended quite well last Saturday, especially after playing an hour with only ten men, we failed to produce anything up front in complete contrast to the previous perfomance. So we left the Potteries feeling very disappointed only to receive even more bad news from the boardroom at being informed of the passing of Rovers’ legend Alfie Biggs. Big Alf, the ‘Baron of Eastville’l was just the sort of player we could have done with at Vale Park and he was one of the truly great names from Rovers’ history.
A full tribute to Alf is appearing elsewhere in this programme so it just remains for me to express ovir sincere condolences to Alf’s family at the passing of a man so loved by every supporter privileged enough to see him play! R.I.P. ALF!
To finish where we are in the table today is not really good enough for a club of Rovers’ stature but only a great team effort, and that includes us supporters, can bring about a major improvement for next season.
ORGANISED JUNIOR MATCHDAY PARTIES
Welcome to FC Colerne Colts who are very grateful to Bristol Rovers for inviting them to today’s game; many of the team will be attending a league match for the first time! FC Colerne Colts were set up this year, after over 15 years where Colts football has nct being played in the village. Thanks to all the local community, Parish and Wiltshire council together with kind support from local business and donations from individuals as well as committed parents and helpers, they now have 30 new players across all ages, boys and girls, from U6-Ull’s and play on the village recreation ground every Saturday morning.
Last weekend was an exciting time with the players and coaches all receiving their new sponsored kit by Smith Carey Ltd and now, after a few months of training and with all new training equipment, together with the club being fully compliant to the FA Charter Standards, which includes CRB checked staff, FA qualified coaches, fully trained first aiders and all full club child safety and welfare standards, they are now set for their first full season in the Wiltshire League.
Please check out FC Colerne Colt’s web site at www.fccolernecolts.co.uk
Organised Junior Matchday parties have again operated successfully this year and will be run again next season. As we go in to our final home game we are taking expressions of interest for 2012/13. Please email your applications to [email protected] or phone on 07765 254110.