From the Chair MK Dons – 19/2/07

January 1, 2000

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The brittle underbelly that has been a major feature in Rovers’ play since relegation until the last few months has certainly come back to haunt us with no less than eight goals being conceded in the last three games. As a result of this we start a vitally important period of the season today with our play-off prospects having taken a mighty blow on the back of the two defeats, here against Darlington followed by a stunning loss at Grimsby after taking an early two goal lead.

After today’s very difficult home match against promotion-chasing MK Dons we then face our great rivals from south of the river in the two-legged area final of the Johnstone Paint Trophy with the “sandwich filing” being provided by another high-riding side in Stockport County next Saturday. These are four matches that will really test the players’ ability and our strength in depth, especially in the defence where my player of the season so far, Byron Anthony, is starting to be missed. Hopefully we can get back to winning ways this afternoon and ease some of the pressure. We can certainly do with the points!

I could not mention the double fixture with City and not at the same time give my utmost thanks to our shop staff and volunteer helpers who have coped so admirably with the huge demand for both match and travel tickets for the final and that following right on top of the Derby cup-tie. More than our average home gate made the tip to Pride Park and what fantastic support the team received on the day when we ran out of luck big style.

The shops at Kingswood and here in the stadium have been bursting since Christmas it seems and our staff and helpers have had no respite from the pressure for tickets, especially on match days here when we have the added problem of running our regular activities. Whilst not wanting to heap further pressure on everyone’s shoulders I’m sure we all want the busy spell to continue with the team getting through to the Millennium Stadium final and by getting back into the play-off position we have craved for so many seasons. It might seem like a long shot now but, we must keep the faith and continue cheering the lads on like never before!

The JPT and FA Cup ties, whilst being a welcome distraction from our usual run-of-the-mill league (only) fare, has made it harder than ever to concentrate on some important club business such as the share scheme, which we are also trying to improve.

Our board representatives have been in discussion with their director colleagues on this and other issues, which will certainly have been discussed at our latest executive committee meeting held last Monday. These notes of mine are being penned before that meeting so I’ll leave it to Ken and Dave to report on the outcome of it, either elsewhere in this column or in the next Pirate if time does not permit. Like I said earlier, we are starting a very important phase of the season today and we desperately need your fullest support of the team if we are to be successful.

Please get behind those quarters today and cheer the lads on to what I’m sure would be a very important victory!

Jim Chappell  

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