Walsall programme notes

January 20, 2008

[image1]Below are reproduced our programme notes from the Walsall match edition of The Pirate:

From the Chair

The success our team has had in the last six months has put considerable pressure on our Supporters Club’s shops and staff here at Pirate Leisure in the stadium and at Two Mile Hill in Kingswood.

Neither outlet is really suitable individually for organising the sort of ticket, travel and souvenir sales we have become used to since the turn of last year due to their cramped conditions and out of date facilities, especially for the staff who have to deal with enormous queues day after day. They have, to a man/woman, adopted a ‘bring it on’ mentality to cope with it all and they continue to do a magnificent job in the circumstances. The Executive Committee are proud of them all and I would just ask that you long-suffering supporters continue to be patient until the new stadium brings along with it the much-needed proper club store which will be a lot bigger than our current premises.

The present facilities, the forthcoming temporary relocation to Cheltenham and the new stadium development are of course subjects dominating the Committee’s thoughts at the moment, especially at Executive meetings such as we held here last Monday. However, there is also the usual mundane ‘run of the mill’ stuff to discuss as well and it was another long one, (over four hours), this time! Much of it is routine business as I said and of little interest to the average man on the terrace. However, we are of course in very exciting times – still in the FA Cup at the time of writing with a home replay against a Premier League team, three League wins on the bounce and the new stadium as already mentioned.

All the sub-committee chairmen presented their aims and objectives for the coming year and you can find these on the BRSC website, which was also discussed. We hope to have at least two new faces on the Communications Committee, which should really get the website properly updated for once and for all. We desperately need an injection of talent onto David Hewett’s  Social Committee as this side of our operation is sadly lacking at present and will need strengthening when we have no clubroom of our own during exile in the ‘frozen north’! The two supporters’ Directors Ken Masters and David Brain gave us a run-down on news from the Boardroom and we discussed several items including shared temporary premises during the redevelopment here.

This is ongoing but I can tell supporters that BRSC will definitely have a shop/ticket outlet somewhere in the Gloucester Road area to replace Pirate Leisure during the stay at Cheltenham but that this will continue to supplement and not replace 199 Two Mile Hill, Kingswood, which remains as Club headquarters. We spent a long time discussing the final year of the current Share Scheme, which will have raised over £700,000 for the Football Club by the time it expires in December, its replacement scheme and also the ever popular 50/50 Draw will require a new purpose in life when we leave the Mem. So, there is lots happening, too much perhaps all at once and we have decided to increase the frequency of EC meetings in order to cope. We will continue to keep you informed of developments, through this column, the website, Green-Un and the Newsletter – the latter we hope to make ‘electronic’ in the very near future. Mote anon!

Walsall is one of the teams we want to try and catch up with, especially as they were promoted automatically ahead of us last season. Let’s make sure that we are definitely ahead in the support stakes come kick-off time – whenever that might be!

Jim Chappell.

Confidence and Belief

Good afternoon to all at the Memorial Stadium for today’s League One game with Walsall Football Club. Only last season this was, of course, a League Two fixture. Both football clubs have come a long way in a short time. The Saddlers have recovered very strongly from an indifferent start to the season and now find themselves in a play off spot following an impressive run of results.

We on the other hand have found excellent form of late with a ten point haul from the last four matches. Three wins on the bounce have lifted our position away from danger and we still have several games in hand over teams immediately above us in the table. With a great deal of confidence and belief amongst our Management Team and Players we can look forward to a momentum that will carry us onwards and upwards.

We extend a warm welcome to the supporters of Walsall. One of my work colleagues and close friends is a Saddler fanatic and so I appreciate fully just how much the famous old West Midlands outfit means to the community up in Staffordshire. The club have lived in the shadow of their rather more illustrious neighbours over the years with the Birmingham Clubs, West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers all within a bus ride.

Unlike the so called bigger clubs around them, Walsall are without the experience of top flight football. Yet, as my friend constantly reminds me, many clubs over the years have underestimated them at their peril. No less than the mighty Arsenal of 1933 under the management of the legendary Herbert Chapman fell in an FA Cup tie at the old Fellow’s Park ground that year. Top goal scoring forward Gilbert Alsop was around at the time notching up no less than 40 goals in each of the 1933-34 and 1934-35 seasons.

Another forward who graced the old ground for a short time was our own Alfie Biggs who turned out for the Saddlers very late in his career. In the more recent past Andy Tillson was warmly greeted when he returned to the Memorial Stadium in Walsall colours.

Early in the 1990’s Walsall moved to the Bescot and a good period of football in the second tier followed. The building of new stadiums can act as a spur on the football side and that is exactly what we are looking for at Bristol Rovers. This will be the first match day Saturday since the beginning of the season I suspect that I will not be asked a question concerning S 106. Talking of confidence and belief, I have always tried to remain positive with my answers and be as honest as I can be. Championship football in a Championship stadium moved somewhat closer over the New Year.

I said in my last programme notes that our supporters deserved rewarding. The support against Premier League Fulham was quite outstanding and very much appreciated by all at the Football Club. We have a host of home games in a short period of time so I am pleased for our fans that the Board agreed to facilitate a £5 reduction for the Oldham Athletic game on February 12th. Season Ticket holder will benefit accordingly. A small token maybe, but appreciation nonetheless. Grateful thanks yet again to our ticket office staff and volunteers who worked so hard over the two games.

Another game is on and one no less important than any other. Be in no doubt, Lennie, Trolls and the team prepare and go out to win every game we play. We can play our part again. Support is the life blood of our football club. Get right behind our boys again today. Come on Rovers, Come on you Blues

Ken Masters<br />

Raising the Bar

So the Section 106 planning agreement for the redevelopment of the stadium has finally been signed after sustained effort by the regeneration team. This confirms the planning consent and the team’s effort now switches to procuring the stadium and securing the finance to complete the job. This has of course been ongoing but could not be concluded until the S106 was finally signed. Whilst this has been going on the detailed design has been evolving. There have been changes necessary to keep the development affordable as well as improvements to make the spaces within the stadium as efficient as possible. In the near future it is planned to hold exhibitions to show the latest plans to the fans and I will keep you informed. We are now at the stage when the detailed design switches to the fitting out of the stadium. This will involve producing room data sheets for every room or area within the stadium.

The room data sheet will record design requirements such as wall, ceiling and floor finishes as well as details of all fixtures, fittings and equipment required. It will also confirm the environmental criteria such as temperature, light and acoustics etc. For the Supporters Club this will mean a close look at our operation and consideration of how we will transfer that into the new stadium. We currently run the retail and ticketing operation for the football club and so the sales areas will be of much interest.  The layout of the Supporters Club bar in the new complex is another aspect we have to consider. For many fans this is part of the match day experience. Turning up early to chat about past victories and plan future trips with fellow Gasheads. So what will you expect to see in the new SC social bar? Your views are now required if you wish to help influence the design so please let us know your thoughts. Come on Gasheads lets ‘raise the bar’.

David Brain

Share Scheme

Under the Supporters Club constitution the share scheme is an item where we have to state the aims and objectives every 12 months even though this is the last year of the current scheme. Here are the latest details:

Mission Statement

“Together we make a difference”

Aims and Objectives

The Aims and Objectives of the Bristol Rovers Supporters Club Share Scheme for 2008-2009 are:-

To maintain the membership and income from membership as high as possible until the current scheme finishes in December 2008.

To develop and introduce a new scheme to replace the existing share scheme when it finishes in December 2008.

To regularly communicate Share Scheme information with all members of Bristol Rovers Supporters Club and to Share Scheme Members.

To ensure that Share Scheme information is accessible to all supporters.
Organised Junior Matchday Parties

Today we welcome Winterbourne Youth and we hope they enjoy both their visit to the Memorial Stadium and the game against Walsall.

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