Gillingham programme notes
April 24, 2008
From The Chair
The only reason that today’s game against the struggling ‘Gills’ is not a massive ‘6-pointer’ is down to Gillingham’s and others even greater failings during recent weeks and my personal view is that we need to win our own way out of trouble rather than rely on others for survival.
There was much criticism from within the large Gas contingent at Bournemouth that we were playing with only one man ‘up-front’ but I have to say that the tactic worked perfectly at Swansea and Nottingham Forest, both grounds where the visitors have normally been put to the sword this season. At Bournemouth the wide men just did not deliver anything like the threat they had previously and this was born out by the fact that both were substituted and we only started to dominate after going 2-0 down. Nevertheless, Paul Trollope is quite right to experiment whilst the team were, (and hopefully are still), in a safe enough position to do so.
It must also be remembered that we lost the services of all our three loanees, each within less than half-an-hour of coming onto the pitch. I was at all the three games concerned and it looked to me that all of the debutants had something to offer whilst the permanent squad are struggling for goals. Unfortunately we are going through a spell of misfortune combining loss of players with some indifferent referring decisions, the like of which affects all teams at one time or another. Whatever, whilst it is still mathematically possible for us to be relegated in our debut season back up in League 1, it is essential not to lose today and a Rovers win is definitely overdue!
There was a victory at least off the field when the amended plans for the new stadium were approved by Bristol City Council. We were assured by the Board of Directors that this second planning approval would be a mere formality with the original plans having already been given full approval last year and there was certainly not the tension in the Council Chamber this time as there was at the original meeting. However, it was still a great relief to us ‘on the fringes’ when the councillors voted the new plans through. The final planning permission brings of course the major dilemma as to where the Rovers will play during the next two seasons whilst the present ground is demolished, the pitch moved about 50m north east, (and a few feet up as well), then the new Memorial Stadium is erected. Many of our members and ordinary supporters think that we on the Executive Committee know where we are moving to but the fact is that we don’t! As far as I know, neither do the Board at the time of writing although Chairman Ron Craig has stated that we need to have a decision before the Football Club’s AGM on Monday week. From our side at least the final OK for the rebuild to begin has allowed us to proceed with the vitally important plans to relocate the Pirate Leisure club shop, which currently resides under the Uplands Stand. We expect this to ‘bite the dust’ during the summer along with the rest of the ground so we are planning to move and reopen for business before the start of next season. We have located a property in the Horfield area that provides space for a shop and offices for both BRSC and Football Club staff and daytime parking for all – better than we could have hoped at the start of the search process! Negotiations are taking place at the time of writing and I hope it might be possible to announce it fully before the end of the season.
Smash and Grab
When the Brighton team turns up at the Mem next Saturday they will be horrified to see those goal scoring legends Alan Warboys and Bruce Bannister at the ground. They both scored hat-tricks against the Sussex team in the record breaking 8-2 win at the Goldstone Ground during the 1973-74 promotion season.
Our thanks go to our vice-chairman Ken Masters for his hard work in organising the pairs’ trip from Yorkshire for the game. A special evening is being held for them on the night before the match at the stadium and they will be on hand to meet fans after the game in the Supporters Club bar.
Until the Final Whistle
Good afternoon and a warm welcome to supporters of the Kent club who have travelled to Bristol to be with us for what is an important game for both clubs.
Clubs going into administration and even with the possibility of going out of business all together have been common place this season. It is painful for long standing and loyal supporters to witness and endure. I wonder what the ten point deduction means along side the ultimate prospect. Not very much I think unless you are in the bottom half of League 2 and even then it would not be the end of the world. Although we were bitterly disappointed to loose last weekend I could not help to have sympathy with the current plight of AFC Bournemouth and with the fans down there at this time.
The summer of 1995 saw Gillingham staring extinction in the face. Businessman Paul Scally came to the rescue and installed former Rovers player and Bournemouth manager Tony Pullis to lead the club back from the brink.
We at Bristol Rovers are facing what is an exciting time on the one hand but a very difficult one on the other. A lot of hard work is still required on the regeneration project and all information pertaining to the works and to the consequences of it will be officially given by the football club at the appropriate time. What matters to me and many of us is that Bristol Rovers will be here for us in the immediate period and for our offspring for many generations to come.
The period away from the Mem will be tight in financial terms no matter how we look at it and wherever we play. A football club not even exist let alone survive without its supporters. Over the coming months our football club will need us as much as we need them. I have used the words togetherness and unity before. I am bound to use them again at this time.
Our game at Gillingham earlier in the season was a bit of a shocker because we went into the final ten minutes in front only to fall to two late goals from the home side. This afternoon we have the opportunity to make amends. The bigger picture shows fourteen months of unprecedented success. The team deserves our unreserved support right up until the final whistle on May 3rd. Come on Rovers, come on you Blues
Share Scheme – Presentation
The Supporters Club has traditionally raised money to donate to the football club. We are now in a position to donate some funds to the football club and have been negotiating with them to obtain shares in return for our donation. At next Tuesdays game, against Swindon, we will be presenting Chairman, Ron Craig, with a cheque for £55,000 and in return will receive 20,000 shares. This will give us a real chance of reaching £¾m in total when the current scheme expires in December 2008.We need your help to achieve this goal and at the same time get your name on the ‘roll of honor’. This will be a plaque listing everyone who has contributed to the scheme over its 6 years.
It’s not too late to join the share scheme and have your name on the ‘roll of honor’ which is to be displayed in the supporter’s bar of the rebuilt memorial Stadium.
If you would like to join or introduce someone else please contact Clare McDonagh at Pirate Leisure on (0117) 952 4001 [email protected] If you would simply like to now more about the scheme then please contact me:- [email protected]
The current membership at the end of March 2008 stands at:-
The total monthly income is £5,530
I would like to thank all of you who attended the planning meeting or sent letters of support for the revised planning application that was approved by Bristol City council on Wednesday 2nd April March 2008. There is no doubt that fans support in January 2007 and again earlier this month helped us gain planning consent. Fans added to the lively debate which became quite humorous with some of the anti stadium comments such as when Spud Murphy again voiced his opinion that the development should be at Severnside.
Organised Juniors Matchday Parties
Today we would like to welcome parties from Saltford All Stars and the 44th
The Player of the Year
Have you placed your votes yet for the Supporters Club Player and Young Player of the Year awards?
The awards ceremony will take place during a special night in The Bristol Room at The Memorial Stadium on Sunday 27th April.
Voting slips are available today around the ground in the bars, the shops and from the programme and 50/50 sellers.
All the members of the playing squad are eligible for the main award and when it comes to choosing the Young Player of the Year the following players are eligible: Joe Jacobson, Josh Klein-Davies, Andy Williams, Tom Parrinello, Sean Rigg, Charlie Reece. Matt Groves and Alex Kite.
Lennie Lawrence, Paul Trollope the directors and all the players have been invited to attend.
The Steve Larkins Merit Shield will also be presented to the person who has done outstanding work for the Supporters Club in recent years.
The presentation night starts at 7.30pm, admission is £2.50.
Screen Soccer will be showing goals from throughout the season.
If you have travelled with the Supporters Club to at least 18 away matches this season then you are entitled to free travel for our last away game at Leyton Orient on Saturday, May 3rd but you must book in advance.
Tony Mills of Portishead won £787 with 50/50 ticket number 26300 at the Hartlepool game.
He bought the ticket from Sandra Jaques in the DAS Stand.