Director’s Report

September 20, 2008

From the Boardroom

2006/7 was a fantastic year and few would have expected a repeat in League 1 last year. Whilst the league form dropped away at the end of the season fans will remember our cup run to the FA Cup Quarter finals as a high point in following the Gas. There is no doubt the club is on the up and with the recent additions to our squad all is looking good for next year. I would like to say a fond farewell to Richard Walker and Sammy Igoe who long be remembered for their goals in the Wembley victory that won us promotion to League 1.

Off the pitch everything had been positive until the very late and disappointing news that Opal were withdrawing from the Memorial Stadium Redevelopment Scheme. This resulted in an inevitable delay to the programme just when everyone was planning for a move to Cheltenham for two years. Unfortunately Rovers have been affected by the world wide credit squeeze which has contributed to a very difficult housing market in England. I know a lot of Gasheads are very disappointed as is everyone connected to the project. Unfortunately the timing of Opal’s decision was very late and too short notice to get another student provider for the scheme in time to move out for the demolition works. With a project of this magnitude there are a lot of important milestones and the original and revised planning consents had to be confirmed before the procurement and contracts stages could be signed off. A lot of work went into making progress with the scheme and after months of negotiation the Section 106 Planning agreement it was eventually signed. This effectively validated the planning consent that was granted in January 2007 since permission was subject to agreement of the Section 106. Unfortunately a lot of people had to agree and sign the Section 106 because they either had a direct interest in the Memorial Stadium or adjoining property affected by the scheme. As fans now know the original scheme had to be redesigned to make better and more effective use of the land and this resulted in a second planning application. Strategically this second application could not be made until the Section 106 was signed and the original planning consent confirmed. The second planning application should have been a formality as the concept of the original scheme was unaltered so the application should only have been about what were relatively minor changes. However local residents, quite understandably, saw the opportunity to contest the original approved scheme as well as the new application. The second planning application was thankfully approved despite those protests from local residents. Unfortunately the delay in gaining planning consent and in particular the protracted time in signing the original Section 106 agreement caused a delay which otherwise would possibly have allowed us to complete the contractual stages earlier and before the full effects of the credit squeeze. But we are where we are and I have every confidence that the delay will be no longer than a year and that we will eventually get the new stadium that everyone connected with Rovers wants and deserves.

For the last 2½ seasons I have promoted the organized match parties scheme and I am please to confirm that this will continue for the 2008/9 season.

Organised Juniors Matchday Parties

We are again this season running organised junior’s matchday parties. For those unaware this scheme, which operated successfully last year, is for schools and organised junior teams who can apply for up to 50 free matchday tickets in the Becks Stand or Family Enclosure. This will include for some parents to supervise them. have again agreed to provide a free bus within the Bristol area and will go further a field for a subsidised cost. As an example Yate and other areas on the fringes of Bristol will cost £125 places further a field such as Bath or Frome would cost £150 so still good value at £2.50/ £3 a head. We are expecting this to be popular again so please apply early

Please get your 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 pleased to hear from smaller parties who can make their own way to the ground. Many thanks again to Eagle Coaches

Share Scheme

For those entitled to Matchday meals (and any of the other benefits) can I remind you that these need to be booked through Clare McDonagh at Pirate Leisure during office hours on (0117) 909 6648 or e-mail to [email protected] Any members unsure of their entitlement can contact Clare for further advice.

With many of you continuing past the initial 3 years of membership, the number of members entitled to meals is far greater. To help Ian Holtby accommodate the demand certain matches have been earmarked as matches at which share scheme members can have their meals. The following 3 matches have been designated for meals for those entitled:-

Saturday 13th

September 2007

– Walsall

Saturday 27th

September 2007

– Crewe

Tuesday <span lang=”en-US”>21st

October 2007

– Oldham

Saturday 25th

October 2007

– Southend

Friday 14th

November 2007

– Scunthorpe

 

Some fans have asked “do will still need to have a share scheme”. The answer is a definite yes. Whist we are moving in the right direction there is still a long way to go. There has been a massive cost to get the stadium redevelopment off the ground particularly in terms of consultant’s fees. The stadium construction has to be largely financed before we receive any on the income from the student flats and grants etc. We will still have to finance the team strengthening if we are to maintain momentum on the pitch. The cost of running a football club can not be met from gate receipts alone. Financially we have avoided the necessity to consider administration but the reality is that whilst our finances are much more stable we have some way to go before we can clear our debts and start trading in a in a positive position. The “where’s the Money Gone” report, which was commissioned by the supporters club and undertaken by a group of independent fans, has highlighted that without transfer income we would not have survived. Since the Bosman ruling, transfer income has largely dried up. Without the share scheme income and the receipts from the Nathan Ellington, Junior Agogo and Scott Sinclair transfers we would certainly have been in a worse financial position. The success of last two seasons has been a massive help but the costs will continue to rise if we are to support team strengthening and the stadium enabling works. We are currently looking to support the club in their attempt to strengthen the team and make sure we establish ourselves in League 1.

 

We would like to thank everyone who is or has been a member of the Share Scheme and thank you for your magnificent contributions. If you were a member and your contribution stopped because you reached 3 years or for some other reason and you did not mean to stop paying please let us know that you want to stay in the scheme. By joining the scheme now your name will be put onto the ‘role of honor’ which will be manufactured after the scheme ends this December. The other way you can help is by introducing a friend to join the main scheme or even a small business to join our ‘Corporate Scheme’. The Corporate Scheme is £1,200 per year but with tax advantages this will effectively make the cost less than a Platinum subscription. You could get your company on the ‘role of honor’ which would be good publicity.

 

Should you want to rejoin the Share Scheme or know of anyone else who wants to join please contact Clare McDonagh at Pirate Leisure on (0117) 952 4001 or [email protected]. If you require any further information on the Share Scheme please contact David Brain; on (07765) 254110 or [email protected]

 

With a little under six months to run on the existing share scheme we have two main aims: –

  1. To slightly increase the income from the scheme to get the total raised to £¾M by December 2008.

  2. To introduce a successor scheme by the end of the original scheme.

In respect of the first aim we need a few new members and would appreciate your help. It will also get your name on the ‘role of honor’ in the rebuilt stadium.

 

In respect of the second aim we need to know what you the fans want from the scheme. Do you see the priority as to increase the number of shares the Supporters Club holds or to help our club financially by raising funds? Do you want discounts as a reward or special facilities within the stadium? We have asked before but got no response. Perhaps other benefits are important such as privileges in purchasing tickets for the all ticket matches? What about a draw for match day hospitality? We very much value your opinion and would also like to hear from anyone with ideas or who wants to get involved. In particular if a replacement scheme does not include share purchase would you still support it?

David Brain, Director and Share Scheme Chairman.

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