AGM Open Forum Evening

December 4, 2005

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Thursday nights Supporters Club AGM boasted a top table resplendent with important club figureheads and spokespeople. Among those present, were Lennie Lawrence and Paul Trollope.

It was pleasing to see the night was afforded good attendance and that people were taking advantage of the opportunity to pose questions to the new management duo, including some Gasheads taking advantage of the opportunity to leave questions via the Supporters Club web site. I somehow managed to be allocated the responsibility of being chief photographer!

Steve Slade was busy counting votes as proceedings unfolded and said votes established that David Brain is to be the new Associate Director. Good luck David and well done. Ken Masters narrowly missed out. He should also be recognised for his hard work campaigning and for the courage it takes to even go for the position.

Once the AGM was completed, Lennie and Paul were then posed questions from the floor for 45 minutes. It was refreshing to hear Lennie talk about potential of the club in an un-patronising way. We’ve heard it all before with regards to the big club comments and Lennie simply emphasized the importance of getting back into League 1 and pushing on from there.

With regards to transfers and areas to strengthen, it was agreed that Scott Shearer does need some competition, however, Paul and Lennie merely echoed the consensus around the room, which was that whilst holding his hand up for a few goals, Scott has kept us in many games. Indeed he has been the League 2 goalkeeper of the week for the last fortnight.

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Moving on, Lennie stated that whilst he has options to look for loan players, he and Paul really want to work together in order to ascertain the strengths and capabilities of this squad as they both felt they still have more to offer and they want to continue to work to establish this. Lennie expounded that the squad is big and definitely has talent. It is simply a matter of deciphering those inhibiting factors. On that note, Geoff Dunford highlighted the frustration that is starting to pervade with regards to the inability to record back-to-back wins.

When questioned as to what his role is, as Director of Football, Lennie was happy to elaborate. He said that ultimately, all decisions are Paul’s. Lennie went on to say he has about 40% input into training and that he will be constantly suggesting and pointing out his input into the running of the club to Paul.

Lennie continued to highlight the severe lack of youth players progressing through Bristol Rovers and his desire to change this. Filton Academy plays a pivotal role in this and he went on to say that we have a lot of promising youngsters. Perhaps not ready next season or in two seasons, but every indication is that there is now a blossoming and fruitful foundation at the club. Players like Scott Sinclair he continued, will always be taken by your Chelsea’s, but as a club in the lower reaches of the football league, struggling for finance, it is extremely important that we have the luxury of this youth system.
Upon our dwindling gate numbers, Geoff Dunford commented that despite currently levelling at around 5,000, they are still excellent. Of course only consecutive winning ways will bring back the droves from 5 years of hurt. The sacking of Ian Atkins alone will not.
Geoff emphasised the shared frustration by all of the board, as lovers of Bristol Rovers F.C. with regards to the last 5 years.

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Kim Stuckey also raised the importance attributed to attracting the new generation of Gasheads to the club, the need for better football to facilitate that and also for better facilities.

Much work is continually being done in order to get the stadium planning application in. The good news is that the most problematic stand to develop, in terms of council opposition; the North Stand did receive the go-ahead to be constructed. (Although it hasn’t been built since it is not financially viable as the city council refused to grant late licensing.) This means that the rest of the stadium should be easier to attain permission for.

All in all, it was great to see a positive turn out to see what the
Supporter’s Club and Lennie and Paul had to say. Things look on the up; however, the continued support is and always will be vital.

The Supporters Club would like to thank Paul Trollope, Lennie Lawrence and the board members present for attending the evening and taking questions from members. Additionally, we would like to thank Mark Edwards for taking all the pictures on the evening.

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