Communications Committee Annual Report

November 18, 2005


 In preparation for the Supporters Club’s AGM on Thursday 1st December, all the sub committees are releasing annual reports. Below is the report from the Commercial sub committee.

As many of you may know I am a new committee member having been elected at last year’s A.G.M. I was then asked to form a new sub committee to deal with communications.
I had a blank canvass to work with regarding how I went about the role.
The first job was to recruit some willing volunteers. I have been very lucky to work with Steve Hoyle, Ben Ede and Stuart Hicks regularly on this sub committee with others helping out as and when they can. Sadly, the fact is it is very difficult to get volunteers to help at the Supporters Club but I have been very fortunate to get three quality people to help share the load.

Our main aim was to get good communications going with our members, whilst also promoting the Supporters Club and it’s activities. (And in doing so, the football club) We had many people constantly saying things like ”I never know what’s going on”, so we had to look at what we were doing and see if it could be added to or improved upon.
We regularly write a Supporters Club news column for the Green ‘Un which can be found on the ‘Inside Bristol Rovers’ pages, so that was one angle we had covered. In addition, we have a two page spread in the match day programme, ‘The Pirate’. Since February we have had our new look web site online, .
This site contains much of interest to Gasheads, and the figures suggest user numbers are increasing month by month. The objective is to compliment the official site. It’s content is many and varied with information on travel and ticketing and membership information for all branches of the football club and share scheme. You can even find the winning 50/50 numbers on there. There’s info on the young pirates, the Gas girls and plenty of items written by fans, including match reports written by fans on the terraces. The Supporters Club are indebted to Ben Ede who built the site from my design all for the love of Bristol Rovers. Drop us a line if you want to contribute.

Towards the end of last season, we decided to try something new to compliment all of these. I hope you have noticed we have regular posters going up in the bars at the Mem and also in some of the pubs local to the stadium. These posters go up every month and their role is to inform those who maybe don’t buy a programme or a local newspaper. I accept that these may get lost amongst the plethora of posters that adorn the walls of the Mem’s bars and I have also noticed sometimes they seem to be disappearing quite early. To this end, we are currently in the process of getting some small notice boards specifically for these posters and clearly marked as to their purpose and in time people will come to know where to look for them and be able to stay informed on the latest news from the committee.

You may also remember the wristband promotion. The publicity was all co-ordinated by our sub committee and we had a lot of media interest from all the Bristol Radio Stations and the local press. We even got a mention on Radio 5 Live, which lasted some 5 minutes, a real achievement we were rightly pleased with. In addition, I managed to get on Soccer Night, the West’s quality football show on ITV, wearing the first and only new Rovers shirt in the country at the time earlier this year. A good opportunity to let Gas heads get an early viewing of the new shirt in the flesh as it were though running the risk of mockery. (And I was not disappointed on that front!) Despite the banter, we managed to get a free advert for the new shirt on TV for a full half hour, another result I reckon.

Not wishing to rest on our laurels we continue to prospect for more opportunities by emailing new names regularly. Most of the national press and TV aren’t really interested in a League 2 club, so it is very difficult to make progress, but we continue to keep going and we are learning along the way.

Contact on radio is important too. I have maintained the relationship in place with Radio Bristol and have also made contacts with the other local stations like GWR Vibe etc and regularly speak to them to promote anything Rovers I can. I expect you may well have heard my dulcet tones on there at some point this year. I am hoping to expand this further with an objective of getting a small time slot on a station to give out Supporters Club news regularly, say once a month. I will keep everyone informed of the progress we make on that.

Additionally, I have started to use the screen soccer coverage at home games to promote Supporters club events and news. They have been very helpful and can add anything a short interview with me to the highlights shown around the stadium’s televisions after the match. This is another potentially effective way of communicating with Gasheads and we are doing this once a month. To compliment the match day communications we liase with Nick Day the match day announcer and are also starting to use the scoreboard to further promote things that need extra publicity.
This is by no means an exhaustive list and there is still more to try and more we can add to the web site and we will explore all ideas to raise the profile of both the Supporters club and the football club.

I made statements about what I hoped to bring to the committee and the club at the last A.G.M that helped get me elected, and I hope you feel I have delivered on a good deal of what I wanted to try to achieve for you. I will continue to push this on for the following year.

Robin-Mark Schols

Communications and Publicity Sub Committee Chair

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