News from the SC
December 15, 2008
Don’t Spoil Our Good Name
From the Chairman
Welcome back after what seems like an awfully long time away from the Memorial Stadium, although in fact it is only three weeks! Those of us who follow the team home and away have had a couple of long trips to support the boys in green since we dropped those two points here against Swindon. I would rate last Saturday’s match at The New Den to be the best game of the season to date and arguably Rovers played their best football so far against a very good Millwall side. We should definitely have got something out of the game but unfortunately we were two down before dominating the rest of the match. The ‘Lions’ winner was completely against the run of play but it summed up our season to date. We were undefeated throughout October and won all the awards for that month but have not claimed a single victory since just as we were winless all the way through September. Strange and inexplicable unless you were witness to all the matches where it was plain for all to see where Rovers’ problems lay. What chance a clean sheet this afternoon I wonder!
The start of our poor run of results in November was of course at leaders Leicester City where Rovers deservedly led until the last four minutes. A huge contingent of ‘Gas’ were at the Walkers Stadium that afternoon and I have previously mentioned the unsavoury incidents that soured the day, apart from the last-ditch defeat of course. As well as the Police over-reaction to some rather pathetic and childish behaviour from a small group purporting to be Rovers’ fans, (most of whom I have never seen on an away trip before), there was some obscene chanting including one of a racist nature that did not go down well with the equally obnoxious home section who were allowed to congregate on the other side of a strip of the netting dividing the two sections. Whatever we can rightly say about home ‘supporters’ or over-reaction by Police who anyway remain above criticism there is still a responsibility on us at Rovers to at least try to control those who use the club’s good name as a vehicle on which they can ‘have some fun’ in another city. Quite why all the official Supporters Club coaches, including those from our new branches, were detained at the motorway services for hours, (along with supporters of Leeds United who were also on their travels!), whilst unofficial coaches were allowed on to drink heavily in local pubs remains a mystery unanswered by Leicester Police. I’m sure in my own mind that all those arrested are not regular Rovers’ supporters but any that we find to be BRSC members will be expelled if found guilty. There is little more that we can do except to ask that you decent individuals out there report any future miscreants to the Committee or to Dave Harper at the Football Club so that we can try to stamp out the sort of boorish behaviour that can spoil any match, regardless of the result!
The Pirate Band
A very Happy Christmas to all Rovers fans and that of course includes those from Merseyside. Thank you for being with us today and a safe return home after the game.
Since there are not too many of us that carry the name in League football I tend to look out for the results of Blackburn, Doncaster and Tranmere. I also admit to having a soft spot for Raith and Albion north of the Border. Up the Rovers!
Visiting supporters are part and parcel of our game and quite right too. I am still smarting somewhat at the way decent and law abiding families, younger and older people were treated at Leicester, just because they were proud to be supporters of Bristol Rovers and had the good sense to travel by way of properly organised and official Supporters Club coaches. I am sure our visitors today will be treated with the respect that we seek when we are on our travels ourselves.
Talking about our travels, I am bound to mention those who travelled to support our team at the away game up in Hartlepool. It is a very long way to go at any time but to make it for a Tuesday night game in late November deserves a huge vote of thanks. The small pirate band got right behind us as the team worked so hard to come home with at least a point. Barry Bradshaw and I tried to catch one and all after the game to thank them personally for being there and to wish them a safe if long journey home. If we missed you I take this opportunity to say very many thanks.
It is really pleasing to see the club branch in North East Somerset going from strength to strength. Norton Radstock Gas are great to be with and the Crown at Clapton is an ideal venue to meet up and talk Rovers. A couple of weeks ago the branch entertained members from Weston Super Mare for a social evening of pub games, Gas chat and a bite to eat. The evening was a great success and enjoyed by all. The newly formed branch has now opened a bank account in the name. They have raised a tidy sum already and a raffle for a signed first team shirt on the night added to funds very well indeed. Away travel from the Crown is also on the agenda and an away trip to Leyton Orient on January 17th is being planned.
I will continue to give my time to members in the two Somerset branches and to give them as much coverage as I can. That said we are now ready to get activity going in Gloucestershire. I am really keen to promote branches in the Mid and South of the traditional county. We have such a hot bed of support in those areas.
South Glos is the next up. I am working hard with Terry from the Yate area to find a suitable base for a branch there and to fix a date for a first gathering soon into the New Year. We are thinking that a Friday evening prior to a home game could be good. We are also thinking that a most apt name for the branch could be Yate and Sodbury Gas. Looking at the away fixtures we are also seeking to identify a game that would serve as being attractive for a first outing.
If you would like to get involved please contact Terry on 01454 880483, evenings before 8.
Organised Juniors Matchday Parties
This has again been a massive success and all matches to the end of the season have now been booked up. Should you want to put your club on a reserve list please get your applications to [email protected] or (07765) 254110.
Today we welcome Winterbourne Youth United which has nearly 80 players and runs four youth teams, playing in the Hanham Minor League and Avon Youth League. They have close ties with the adult’s teams at Winterbourne United making their club one of the most successful in the area at present. A special welcome to Simon and Ben Cole today as this is their first visit to The Gas.
Why not nip along to our shop in Kingswood or Pirate Leisure for that last-minute present.. The new Rovers calendar is available, covering Rovers’ 125 years history in pictures. The Black Arab shirt would also make a popular gift. The shops are open until Christmas Eve.
Liam Nicolson of Bradley Stoke picked up £1,017 in the 50/50 draw at the Swindon game. The winning ticket 45619 was sold by Sandra Jaques in the DAS Stand.
Jo Kuffour is presented with his Supporters Club Man of the Match award against Swindon by Young Pirate Ben Davies and his father Matt.