Fulham programme notes
January 23, 2008
[image1]Below are reproduced our programme notes from the Fulham match edition of The Pirate:
‘FROM THE CHAIR’
Welcome to the ‘Mem’ this evening for what should be a cracking F.A. Cup replay. Tonight’s entertainment comes as a result of an excellent performance at Craven Cottage by both the team and supporters last Sunday week. We could have sold more than the allocated seven thousand seats but even so yet another packed away end on top of the 40,000 we took to both the Millennium Stadium and Wembley last season, along with sell-outs at Derby, Ashton Gate, Swindon twice, Hartlepool, Lincoln and Leeds proved what potential this great old club has when things are going well. And things are certainly going well so far this year up to the time of writing, before last Friday evening’s long trek to Tranmere. The comfortable win here over Carlisle, (were they really chasing promotion?), was followed up with another welcome trio of points at Southend, another of the promotion hopefuls, on New Year’s Day. Rovers were in a similar position this time last season when the two cup competitions seemed to kick things off following a dodgy autumn spell. Hopefully this will be the case again this time round with quite a long list of players coming back into action after several serious injuries and the suspensions resulting from the Swindon debacle.
Off the field there was even better news with the formal signing of the Section 106 agreement with Bristol City Council and other interested parties for the redevelopment of the Memorial Stadium. Now we know for sure that we will have to relocate up to Cheltenham at the end of the season whilst our current home is demolished, moved a fraction then rebuilt into a proper stadium suitable for the sort of following that is becoming commonplace on our travels. Congratulations should go to all those individuals, both on the Board and those assisting them at some time or another, who have helped to bring this about. We on the Supporters Club Executive have much extra work to do between now and August to provide what facilities we can for our members, such as may be made available at Whaddon Road. Pirate Leisure will of course be demolished along with the rest of the ground and we will only be able to take our present car park portacabin to Cheltenham. We are still in discussion with the Football Club Board about possible shared premises in the local area and we have two important meetings coming up in the coming weeks that should further this. Meantime of course we will continue operating the Supporters Club from 199 Two Mile Hill, Kingswood, where the shop will take on even greater importance. Further development may also take place there but that will depend on what happens here in Horfield. More news in the Walsall ‘Pirate’ and on our website.
It has been an extremely busy December for the Supporters Club in terms of commercial activity with combined sales of souvenirs from both retail outlets almost double that of the same period last year and all sales (excluding ticketing) showing a 60% increase! Big thanks to the fantastic efforts of all staff and volunteers involved. One of the benefits of the EPOS system that the shops use is that management information can be extracted rapidly and accurately as soon as the tills close for the last day of any given period. This allows us to report to the Football Club in a timely manner and also enables Steve Burns and his team to make commercial decisions on products and pricing in good time.
The Commercial Committee met in December and agreed its Aims & Objectives for the coming year, which are published on our website. Other matters that were discussed included monthly reporting to the FC board (as noted above), how to further utilise the EPOS system, and staffing issues. We also acknowledged the need for greater information to be made available to members – particularly in respect of ticketing and travel arrangements. In this respect I am posting as much information as I can onto the website and I am also publishing details of reserve fixtures which I know members have asked about in the past. Another article on the website that I’ll draw your attention to is one supplied by Mike Jay who at the end of last season set up the Bristol Rovers Collectors & History Society and if any of you are interested in participating in this initiative please visit our website where you’ll find contact details for Mike.
Finally, concerning the website, I am still standing-in looking after the day to day postings and following our next Communications Committee meeting we should have additional contributors/help in this area. One of the next projects we will be embarking on is the setting up of a periodic e-newsletter to members. This will enable us to communicate in a more timely fashion on both news items and any important issues arising. Watch this space!
Early signs as I right this article are that we are heading for a sell-out tonight which is great news financially and should make for a fantastic atmosphere – enjoy the game!
A very good evening to all at the Memorial Stadium this evening for what promises to be a scintillating FA Cup third round replay against Premier League Fulham.
Welcome indeed to all following the West London club from the supporters of Bristol Rovers. We were certainly made very welcome at Craven Cottage just over one week ago and so we are delighted to be in the position to reciprocate.
The game at the Cottage was quite unique given that there were more visiting than home supporters at the game, even more unique when you consider that the home club on the day play their football in the Premier League. I believe this was down more to the magnificent following that we took to the game than the reduced level of the home support.
I am quite convinced that had we been drawn at home in the regenerated Memorial Stadium against a Premier League club we would have attracted a bigger attendance then the one at another West Country venue over the same weekend and in similar circumstances.
The latest demonstration of our outstanding support following on from the 40,000 fans at Wembley and at Cardiff respectively last season goes to show yet again that with our huge fan base we have the potential to be the largest club in the region. Involvement in cup games and postponements because of bad weather means that we have a very high proportion of home games over the coming weeks. Our fans deserve to be rewarded.
Fulham Football Club is regarded with affection by many. Their Craven Cottage ground on the banks of the River Thames is a pleasant and delightful place to watch football. Harrods owner Mohammed Al Fayed’s injection of funds for ground improvements has certainly made a difference from the previous time we visited for a league or a cup match. It was good to see that the character had been retained alongside the inevitable upgrade.
Our own situation is quite different. Preparations for the total demolishing of the Memorial Stadium as you see it this evening and the replacement with a brand new 21st Century stadium took a major step forward over the festive period. The question as to whenever the S106 would ever get signed has been put to bed at last. Not just one but many hurdles have had to have been overcome since the planning consent of about one year ago
One thing for sure, there will be a tremendous atmosphere under the lights tonight and the stage is set for another memorable evening of cup football. The draw for the next round is not so tasty but does provide us with the serious opportunity to make progress into the later stages of this season’s competition. Why not a third appearance in a quarter-final tie and maybe more?
Such is the nature of the FA Cup that a club from down the pyramid can go all the way or very nearly anyway. The competition may have lost its prestige for some clubs but not for us. We are in our numbers again and we must thank our staff and volunteers in the ticket office for their very hard work over the past week.
We certainly have the number twelve shirt on our back this evening
Share Scheme helps sign Danny Coles
A second good piece of news is the signing of Danny Coles which the Share Scheme was happy to support. This is further tangible evidence of how you the fans are helping the club we all love.
We will continue to strive towards the primary objectives of the Share Scheme, which are to maximize its shareholding on behalf of the Supporters Club and income into the football club. This will ensure that, through the Supporters Club, a sufficient shareholding is held to influence any major Football Club boardroom decision. We have two full directors which has been achieved through the share scheme.
Places available for Organised Juniors Matchday Parties
This scheme is for schools and organised junior teams to apply for up to 50 free matchday tickets in the Family Enclosure or subject to availability the Becks Stand or Guinness Stand. This will include for some parents to supervise them. Eagle Coaches has again agreed to provide a free bus within the Bristol area and will go further a field for a subsidised cost. As an example we have parties from Nailsea, Wells, Bath and from Frome and this will cost £100 so good value at £2 a head.
We still have vacancies for 2nd February 2008 versus Port Vale, Oldham on the 12th February, Northampton on the 4th March and the last four games of the season against Huddersfield, Hartlepool, Gillingham and Brighton.
Applications to [email protected] or (07765)254110. There will only be one coach per game so priority will be given on a first come first serve basis but we will also give higher consideration to parties who will fill the coach. We would also be please to hear from smaller parties who can make their own way to the ground.
For details on joining the scheme please contact Clare McDonah at the Memorial Stadium on 0117 9096648.
Share Scheme Chairman