18th August 2012 Oxford United

August 19, 2012



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A warm welcome to the supporters of Oxford United: enjoy the game today and a safe journey home this evening.

Today is a very special day because at your request. as part of your matchday experience, we also welcome back a number of our former Rovers stars to celebrate 40 years since Rovers won the Watney Cup after beating Sheffield United 7-6 on penalties in that packed Eastville Stadium in 1972. The memories of that great day will come flooding back. Those that were there will be recalling where you watched the game and your jubilation at that fantastic result.

Former Rovers manager Don Megson. now 76, was in charge at that time and we are delighted that he has travelled to Bristol to be with us today. Don not only delivered the cup for us, but also managed a very successful promotion winning team.

Rovers favourites who were part of that winning squad will be joining up with Don as our special guests and we are looking forward very much to welcoming them back to Bristol Rovers. We are very grateful for their effort in coming to join us, one or two who have travelled a long way to be here today. At half time they will be coming out with the cup and introduced to you. You will also have an opportunity to meet the players on a personal basis either in the Dribuild Stand suite prior to the game or in the Bristol Room after the match. I know you will give them a very warm welcome! Our thoughts will also be with the skipper and goalkeeper of the Watney Cup side, Brian Godfrey and Dick Sheppard, who are no longer with us. All these former players have become legends of our football club and will always be so.

I would like to personally thank, on your behalf, Pete Aitken, Keith Brookman, Steve Burns, Jim Chappell, Ian Holtby and Ken Masters and other

members of staff who have worked so hard to bring this event together.

So what a great way to start the season! A season full of justified anticipation thanks to the work that has gone on both on and off the field. Jim has gone into detail about the great news from South Gloucestershire Council for their support of our planning application at the UWE and now we keep our fingers crossed for the Sainsbury’s application which will be heard in September.

I’m sure you will appreciate an incredible amount of work has gone on behind the scenes into this application which will secure the future of Bristol Rovers FC, Therefore, I would personally like to congratulate Nick, the Board and every member of staff who have worked so hard to try to make this happen. However it is results on the field which will determine our season. In Mark, I believe we are extremely honoured to have one of the best managers in football. He is quietly putting together a team which will get us out of this league and prepare us for other seasons ahead. It is therefore our responsibility to get behind Mark and his team today and continue to support our lads’ right up until that final whistle in May.


Brian Seymour Smith





The winning ticket number was 73595, sold by Sarah Hedges at the Memorial Gates.





The fantastic news four weeks ago that Rovers have been granted planning permission by South Gloucestershire Council to build a super new 21,700 all seater stadium at the University of the West of England on their Frenchay Campus is tempered a little by having to wait for Sainsbury’s, to gain in turn, their permission from Bristol City Council to redevelop the Memorial Stadium.


All going well the Sainsbury’s scheme that is to fund Rovers’ development at UWE will receive its ascent in a few weeks time and then it will be all systems go’ for a start on works in the autumn!


Thanks go to all of you who wrote to the two councils in support of the respective applications – hopefully your reward of a brilliant new home for Rovers will soon become a reality after so many years of frustration!


On the field of play manager Mark McGhee, still unbeaten here at home since he joined the club back in the New Year, has yet to complete assembling his squad for the coming campaign at the time of writing. So much so that, whilst a certain James Constable is almost certain to be making an appearance here this afternoon, we do not know which side he is going to be playing for with less than a week to go before our League Cup Tie at Ipswich – a mighty tough start if ever we could want one!

There are a string of new faces in the manager’s squad who we welcome onto the ‘Pirate Ship’, along with five very talented young lads stepping up from the 50/50 Draw sponsored Youth Scheme. I hope, and trust, that you all enjoy happy and successful Rovers’ careers, starting today of course!

I cannot mention the playing squad without reference to Danny Woodards – the clearest possible winner of the Supporters Club’s ‘Player of the Year’ Award last season. Less than a week after presenting Danny with his trophy I was at our end of season ‘party’ at Dagenham watching him being stretchered off with a badly broken leg, from which of course he is still recovering and unfortunately he will play no part for some time yet. If that was not bad enough Danny then lost his brother before, I understand, becoming a father a few weeks later. Quite a summer whatever way you look at it with congratulations, deepest sympathies and the very best wishes from everyone in the Supporters Club being due to one of our best players in recent years!

By the time you read this column all Supporters Club members should have received their Newsletter which, for the first time since we introduced it, has now become an ‘annual’ as it contains all the travel information for the entire League season. We have done this because of the huge price hike in postal charges a few months ago.

With the internet and other forms of electronic news becoming much more the norm these days the Committee thought this was the most prudent course to take with the Newsletter. Any updates or corrections through the season can be done by this regular matchday column and on the club’s website.

With no second half of the season newsletter now being published around Christmas time, we have decided to hold what was the Christmas Draw during the first half of the season so the tickets for that and the necessary AGM Notices are included with the magazine and we hope you will still find the magazine both useful and interesting. With such an eventful season ahead there will, hopefully, be some exciting news to pass on so watch this space in future!

Today is the nearest we can get with a home match to that magical afternoon at dear old Eastville forty years ago this month when Don Megson’s

promotion bound Rovers lifted the pre season Watney Cup in front of nearly 20,000 ecstatic fans after a penalty shootout against First Division Sheffield United.

The Supporters Club has invited Don and all the players to be our guests at today’s game and you can read much more that great day elsewhere in this programme. The heroes of that afternoon will be taking part in various activities around the ground and Supporters Club members will be able to meet some of them, see the Cup itself and relive memories of a great Rovers team in the bar after the game. See you there!


A very difficult match is in prospect this afternoon so get behind the boys in blue and let’s start what promises to be a vital campaign off to a winning start.


Up the Pirates!


Jim Chappell


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