Busy Week For Rovers

November 13, 2005

<p>[image1] What a busy week it has been for Gasheads this week.
Finally after what has seemed an age, the board unveiled our new man who is charged with pointing Rovers onwards and upwards. After weeks of speculation and the local media linking everyone except Lord Lucan with the Rovers job, finally Lennie Lawrence was unveiled to us on Monday as Director of football with Trollope getting the job of manager/first team coach.

Lennie brings much experience and most likely a wealth of contacts that I am sure he will use to the full in his quest to help change Rover’s fortunes. He and Trollope will hopefully bring a good mix of youth and experience, though we as fans have to have patience as these things don’t happen over night. I know we have suffered for over five years now, but as proven so far quick fixes just don’t work, so we need to dig deep, take a deep breath and strap in for another building period. I am sure all Gasheads wish Lennie a warm welcome and all the luck in the world.

[image2] Since Ian Atkin’s departure, Paul Trollope, ably assisted by John Anderson, has looked after the first team on a caretaker basis. Results haven’t set the world on fire, but given it wasn’t his squad, and he had a group of players who had to endure a lot of uncertainty of late, most would agree that Paul and John did a good job. The players have certainly looked more ‘up for it’ during Paul and John’s tenure, and it was nice for them and great for the fans to see a win at Grimsby to get us into the hat for the 2nd round of the FA Cup. Again, many were disappointed to draw Port Vale, and an away trip again, with none of the cup competitions we have been drawn in yet yielding a home tie.

Tuesday was quite a different day. It was the day that an ‘independent’ tribunal decided how much Scott Sinclair was going to cost Premier League big boys Chelsea.
It seems that Chelsea are not content with having what seems to be a bottomless pit of money to spend on assembling a Premier League beating squad. Now they have taken to scouting all over Europe, even at little clubs like our Rovers, Stockport County and Gillingham, to entice any young player that has a spark of promise whilst offering the clubs a miserable amount knowing full well those clubs can ill afford not to get any money at all. In our case, they offered £85,000 but Rovers were unhappy to accept and decided to go to tribunal instead.

Fortunately for us, former boss Ian Atkins had the foresight to give Scott a debut in the dying seconds of a home game, which probably had a positive effect on the compensation situation.

The tribunal decided that Chelsea had to pay us an immediate payment of £200,000, with further payments based on his future progress. They are:

£50,000 for First team debut
£125,000 for 10 appearances
£125,000 for 20 appearances
£125,000 for 30 appearances
£125,000 for 40 appearances
£200,000 International cap
15% Sell on clause

[image3] It looks quite good on paper if we get half of that money for an unproven youngster, but as a club that has always managed to do well selling players at a profit, I can’t help but feel Chelsea will be the real winners.
Rovers chairman Geoff Dunford spoke in the local media this week to express his disappointment that the powers that be have not come down heavier on Chelsea and sent a clear message that this way of doing business is not acceptable and is not in the best interests of the game. He said he would like to see the League clubs form a group that can act to make representation to both the Football League and the Premier League in an effort to force them into making a ruling that protects clubs like us who take a chance and give youngsters their first break in football. If the big clubs are able to come in and entice all the talent away before we have even had any benefit from our investment, how are we supposed to progress? Is it seriously worth clubs like Rovers having a youth policy just to see this sort of thing happen? Lets hope that Filton Academy doesn’t become a car park for the Premier League scouts, leaving us high and dry.

[image4] Friday being Remembrance day saw players, fans and officials of both Rovers and Bristol Rugby honouring those that fell in the great wars by laying wreaths at the Memorial Gates. As the stadium was a tribute to the rugby players that died in the wars, it is an annual tradition to pay them the tribute and respect they deserve by doing so. I am pleased to say this was a mark of respect also shown before our match Saturday with a minute’s silence before the kick off.

So, on to Saturday’s match and our visitors Rochdale came to the Mem sitting quite pretty in League 2 and hopefully this time remembering to bring some kit that would not clash with ours. I remember them playing in our ‘fashionable stone and black’ quarters a few years ago, ironically the only time I saw a team play in them. The shirt always looks good with chinos though!

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Rovers started the brighter, but it was one of those days where you just felt it wasn’t going to be our day. Try as we might, we huffed and puffed, but just couldn’t blow down the Rochdale defence, and on 29 minutes Rochdale were awarded a penalty after Scott Shearer brought down their attacker. Holt made no mistake to make it 1-0 and we were all stunned. Whilst we maybe didn’t deserve to be in the lead, nobody thought we deserved to be heading into the break a goal down.

The answer was not long in coming as a good passing move saw good exchanges between Carruthers, Walker and Agogo for a fine equaliser just seven minutes later.

Sadly, Rovers just didn’t compete after the break and despite a late chance by Agogo, Rochdale put away a soft chance on the far post and held on to take all three points. A disappointing start for the new management duo, but Rome wasn’t built in a day as they say.

Here’s to next week then and the hope that a trip to Northampton can yield a positive both in terms of points and performance.

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