From the Chair – Bury

January 1, 2000

No doubt every one of our contributors to this edition of The Pirate will be writing about the roller coaster of emotions that accompanied Rovers one and almost certainly only competitive visit to the Millennium Stadium last Sunday and I cannot pretend to be any different I’m afraid! Having been one of only 322 Gasheads to make the previous Tuesday evening trip to High Wycombe, where Rovers turned in a highly professional performance and came back with three valuable points, I was absolutely gutted when in front of nearly 40,000 in blue & white, we conceded our first goals in the whole competition, twice in the opening five minutes. Only Rovers could have done it! It was one of the worst feelings I have ever suffered in my near 50 seasons supporting the team. However, this is the Rovers after all and a fantastic fight-back followed that was a credit to every player on the pitch. To come back to draw level and so very nearly win after such a dreadful start just showed what the current set of players are capable of if only the terrible momentary defensive lapses can be eradicated. I guess that’s why we are still in Division Two I suppose! Anyway, I hope a large number of that fantastic cup final following are tempted back here this afternoon as a result of what they witnessed in Cardiff!

The aforementioned victory at Adams Park mostly made up for the previous Saturday’s defeat here at home to lowly Wrexham and made it 3 wins out of 4. Not a bad return and just about acceptable considering how little leeway we have if Rovers are to stand any chance of making the play-offs. Indeed, if we had to lose one of the four games then Wrexham was a better one to choose than Wycombe as a loss there would have just about finished us off! Hopefully we have brought some points back from our difficult trip to Mansfield on Saturday as we are facing another team near the bottom this afternoon and all us regulars know what danger the ‘Shakers’ will present as a consequence!

The Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final marked the stepping down of Football Club Chairman Geoff Dunford to be replaced officially the following day by his long-time Boardroom colleague, Ron Craig, who now takes over the reins at an exciting time for everyone connected with the blue side of town. Geoff in particular and all the Board in general have come in for a fair bit of criticism in recent seasons as results have gone against us and we have got ourselves entrenched in the basement division. But, with the new stadium on the horizon and the team at last looking like it can finally start climbing back up the League I think there are some genuine grounds for optimism.

I would like to publicly thank Geoff for all that he has done for the Club and I’m glad that he is staying on the Board. 25 years ago, not long after I was elected to the BRSC Executive Committee, the Football Club was on its ‘beam ends’ to use a nautical parlance. The club was virtually bankrupt and playing in a near derelict stadium on a very short-term lease with little in terms of prospects. Some very unpalatable decisions, such as moving to Bath, had to be taken but the Rovers survived and the future is exciting with the Club near to owning a brand new state of the art stadium back in its home city thanks to Geoff and his colleagues. My best wishes go to Ron and his new Vice Chairman Nick Higgs who, all going well, will have the pleasure of leading Rovers into that fantastic new ground within just a couple of years!

Rovers’ performances in every single one of all the cup ties played this season, from wet and windy Barrow-in-Furness right up to sunny and windy Cardiff, have been excellent. Some much higher-placed teams have been put to the Pirate’s sword and, if the lads can replicate those cup performances in our last few League games then there might yet still be the chance of another ‘cup final’ at the end of May. Get behind those quarters as you did last Sunday and let’s take another step towards the new Wembley today. Up the Gas!

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