5th January 2013 Gillingham
January 5, 2013
FROM SC CHAIRMAN
THESE NOTES HAVE BEEN PENNED AT A TIME WHEN A SELL OUT CONTINGENT OF ALMOST 1,500 ‘GASHEADS’ SHOULD HAVE BEEN ROARING ON THE ROVERS AT CHELTENHAM’S WHADDON ROAD GROUND LAST SATURDAY.
Unfortunately, as you will all be well aware, John Ward’s much anticipated return to another of his old clubs joined the list of games that fell foul of the latest heavy rain storms to batter our sodden island. Whatever, the other West Country “local’ fixture against Plymouth had yet to take place and let’s hope that John’s delayed home welcome was cemented with a valuable three points last Tuesday! This should of course have been his fourth game back in charge of Rovers but at least two have become victims of the weather so it has been a slow start for the new boss in what is normally a hectic holiday time period.
A big crowd had been expected for the visit of Rotherham two weeks ago and it’s a real shame that such a massive show of support at Cheltenham has had to go on the back burner. In between we did get in one game, held of course in torrential rain at Aldershot where a valuable point was gained courtesy of a second equaliser; very late on it is true but well deserved nevertheless.
Several of the players on show on Boxing Day were expected to be playing their last game for us at Cheltenham but as it turned out they had already kicked their last ball for Rovers in the famous blue and white quarters.
Whilst it is a shame that the likes of Tom Eaves, who in particular has worked his socks off in a lone striker role especially away from home, has not had the chance to work longer under new manager John Ward. At least we should now be seeing some fresh new faces in Rovers’ lineup. The January transfer window is now well and truly open and it is clear that Rovers will be actively seeking some fresh blood, particularly with basement division experience as we battle to retain our League status.
No club is too big to go down into the abyss that is non League football as clubs like Luton and Grimsby have proved in the past but sides with such massive potential support as Rovers should certainly not be in the mess we have been suffering of late. The visitor’s area at Whaddon Road, sold out days before the scheduled match, is greater than several League Two clubs draw for some home games and we even took nigh on five hundred fans to Aldershot on Boxing Day in appalling weather when the match had been in doubt throughout the morning.
It was great support and certainly the players seemed to respond to it with undoubtedly the gutsiest performance on the road for some considerable time. A first point of the season, believe it or not, in the black away strip!
May there be many more before the season is out and all of the decisions are made but, it is not going to be easy with another very difficult match against a high flying Gillingham outfit this afternoon. If we go down, either this afternoon or heaven forbid at the end of the season when all of the shouting will be over, it must not be for want of trying and everyone in blue and white must pull together, players, management, staff, volunteers, directors and fans, in the fight to keep this great club in the Football League. Get behind John Ward and his boys like never before, starting at home today!
MANY CONGRATULATIONS TO THE U-18 YOUTH SIDE FOR PROGRESSING TO THE FOURTH ROUND OF THE FA YOUTH CUP.
The young Rovers side performed superbly in the third round tie away at much fancied Coventry City in a rearranged fixture played at Nuneaton Town’s ground on December 15th and came away with a well deserved one goal to nil victory thanks to another goal from the ever impressive and dangerous wing play of Shaquille Hunter.
The boys now take on Birmingham City in a game to be played at Solihull’s home venue scheduled for the third week in January. Rover’s student professionals would have enjoyed an extended Winter break with the next Youth Alliance U-18 South West fixture not due to be played until January 26th. The FA Youth Cup success means the boys will be called back into action a little earlier than usual.
Bristol Rovers Supporters Club is the proud sponsor of Bristol Rovers Youth. Thank you once again for purchasing your 50/50 half time draw tickets.
TO SAY THAT 2013 PROMISES TO BE THE MOST CRITICAL YEAR IN THE HISTORY OF OUR FOOTBALL CLUB IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT.
On the field, our new manager John Ward is doing everything he can to ensure our League Two survival and create the basis for a solid and sound foundation from hereon. To this end, the January transfer window is critical.
Meanwhile, in two weeks time, we sincerely hope that the Sainsbury’s planning application goes ahead and is successful. If so, after all the traumas of 2012, then perhaps this year might therefore offer us the opportunity to see our club at last heading in a direction in which can all be proud with the start of the building of a new Bristol Rovers stadium. And so if ever this club needed you to get behind the team then it’s now. Your support has been magnificent and I know it will continue throughout this season and years to come.
The most important thing is that we build a team in which you can be proud and a team that wants to wear the blue and white quarters with pride. I know John will build a team for us all to do just that!
You may have read on the official forum about the launch of our scheme to offer tickets for schools throughout the Bristol area. This has gone exceptionally well. At the time of writing 15 schools have already taken advantage of the offer – and so we are now booked until the end of the season with between 60-100 youngsters and staff attending any one particular game.
Enjoy the match – UTG
Brian Seymour-Smith, Director
WESTON SUPER MARE MEMBERS WERE PREPARED TO RUSH BACK FROM NORTH HAMPSHIRE TO NORTH SOMERSET ON BOXING DAY TO ENJOY THE ANNUAL RACE NIGHT AT THE WINSOR CASTLE. However, the Pub was so popular over the Christmas period that time and space for the event was at a premium. It was decided at the last minute to postpone the meeting and the race card will be brought back into action later in the season. The
Easter weekend is the favoured time so look out for notices nearer the time.
Before then don’t forget to book a table for the Quiz night coming up next month. Long time and dedicated shirt wearing Gashead Pete Bartlett will be organising the quiz and putting up the questions which will cover general knowledge, music and sport.
All members and friends welcome. Local travel is being planned for trips to away games coming up during the second half of the season. Weston Gas members are planning transport to Oxford United on February 9th and Torquay United on April 27th. The Branch are also looking at a mini bus for the rearranged mid week trip to Cheltenham. Norton Radstock members are also planning a coach to Oxford game and to Chesterfield on Saturday March 9th. Please check with your local branch organisers for details.