We are branching out

January 1, 2000

We are branching out

We are delighted that steps are in progress to open more branches of the Supporters Club.

My request towards the end of last season for people to come forward to help form branches has met with a good response.

From the Supporters Club point of view we have a challenge not only to support the football club financially, but to harness the strength of support that we have in Bristol, around the region and, indeed, around the country as a whole. The 40,000 Rovers fans at Wembley came from far and wide and we are making determined attempts to strengthen our organisation by setting up branches of the Supporters Club in other parts, and along the lines of the very successful operation in Weston super Mare.

To do this, of course, we need people residing in those other parts to help us. In my programme notes at the end of last season, I made a plea for supporters to come forward. I am really pleased to be able to report we now have fans around the patch who have put their names forward to help us. Many thanks to Tim Pocket for coming forward in Gloucestershire, Sally Ford, Louise Maidment and Carolyn Simmons in NE Somerset and Malcolm Thomas in Wiltshire. Further afield, Gary Olds up in Scotland has made himself known to me and I am meeting up with Gary when we play at Leeds next week.

More locally, I will be phoning around to get our volunteer friends together with Weston Gas over the course of the coming weeks. The more people that meet up the better, so if you would like to step forward to help please contact me by leaving a message at Pirate Leisure or at ‘199’ or by making yourself known to me around the ground on matchdays. If you are in exile and would like to start a group in your region say, for example, the North West of England or the East Midlands please come forward.

Today we welcome our neighbours from Hereford United for this early season League One encounter. A warm welcome to all Bulls fans, enjoy your time with us and a have a safe, if relatively short, journey home after the game.

Congratulations to United for not only regaining their Football League status, but for a really fine achievement last season in clinching a promotion spot in League Two. Our Director of Football reminds the Board from time to time, well most weeks I recall, that in football you are either going forwards or going backwards, there is no such thing as standing still.

The way that Doncaster, Carlisle and now Hereford have pushed on from recent periods in non league football is a good example of Lennie’s message to us. Likewise, the demise of Wrexham and Mansfield serves to remind us of what could happen if clubs start to go backwards. Wrexham are a bit like Oxford for me; a club whose support is deserving of a healthy Football League club going forwards. All the best to the fans up there who have done so much to keep their club going in recent years.

The progress made by Hull City has shown us that if you keep the momentum going, you can go all the way. It strikes me that to do it you need a strong fan base, good coaching and desire on the playing side and a specific aim backed up by a strong will in the

boardroom. I genuinely believe that at Bristol Rovers we have all three of these ingredients at this time.

Sustaining the progress that is made is another story, and one I think you need to pay attention to before the progress is actually achieved. This applies equally off the pitch as well as on it. In the boardroom it’s about physical resources and improving finances by generating through alternative sources of funds. That is why, in my view, a successful stadium regeneration programme is so vital to us. Nick Higgs needs all the support we can muster as he beavers away so tirelessly to deliver a stadium capable of sustaining the success we are aiming for on the playing side.

So that is why we are anxious to form more branches of the Supporters Club.

Come on you Blues.

Ken Masters

Share This Post On