BRSC Chair’s Report 2
September 12, 2014
BRSC CHAIR’S REPORT 2014 (Part Two)
Probably the most successful fund-raising scheme organised by the Supporters Club over recent years has been our 50/50 half-time draw, the entire proceeds from which are dedicated to Rovers’ Youth, (now Academy) Scheme. The profit and therefore donations from the 50/50 have more or less been unaffected by the club’s fall from grace thanks to our great supporters and also, of course, because of our small army of sellers and ‘behind the scenes’ workers who make ‘Raise the Youth’ one of the very best draws in the lower leagues.
It’s achievements can easily be judged by the performance of our Academy teams over the last couple of seasons but more importantly it is the production of local players for the first team that confirms real success. With Tom Lockyer, Ollie Clarke and Ellis Harrison regularly playing in Rovers’ Conference team and a string of other former Youth team lads out on loan to gain experience at local semi-professional clubs the success of the 50/50 is obvious. My thanks to everyone who contributes, either as a buyer or a seller!
Away travel numbers on the supporters club coaches are of course linked closely with the team’s performances on the road and these have been distinctly poor over recent seasons. Nevertheless by careful management and close co-operation with our coach provider, Eagle Travel, this side of our business has continued to operate on a sustainable basis. We rely of course on our members to make this a success and a review has been carried out to try to make the service even better.
Some changes have already been made which we think will help but, at the end of the day, the real purpose is to get as many fans as possible to away grounds in support of the team. That support has simply been phenomenal of course and will I’m sure prove to be greater than any other club in the Conference come next summer so my thanks to all our fans, no matter how you travel!
As if relegation from the Football League was not enough we have since learnt that there is likely to be further delay to Rovers’ plans to build a super new stadium at the UWE campus at Frenchay as the Board have taken legal action against Sainsbury’s over the latter’s failure to complete purchase of the Memorial Stadium. At the current time we simply do not know how this latest setback will effect the UWE project and can only hope that it turns out to be just another minor delay. Time will tell!
On a similar theme our own, (Supporters Club), efforts to sell 199 Two Mile Hill Road has also suffered setbacks with all interested parties over the last twelve months backing-out of a purchase. However, following a long period of inactivity we have just recently received two interesting offers and these are being considered by the EC as I write. Whether we will be able to rent back, should a sale go through, or if we will have to relocate to other premises in the Kingswood area remains to be seen. Whatever, our staff deserve better than they have to put up with at the moment and that’s not only the shop but also having to ‘counsel’ disgruntled customers as they bemoan the state of the team! Hopefully these matters can be resolved in the very near future but one thing is for sure and that is life is never easy at Bristol Rovers!
Once again the Supporters Club’s end of season presentations took place on the pitch but this year before the final game instead of afterwards as we all would have wished. With the terrible result of that awful last match against Mansfield the Manager’s foresight was unfortunately fully justified as the clear winner of the Player-of-the-Year trophy for a second consecutive season, Michael Smith, was crucially injured and missing a match he would almost certainly have affected the result of! An equally outstanding winner of Young Player was Tom Lockyer who thankfully remains with us whilst Under-18’s Manager Alan Walsh again chose his goalkeeper, Keiron Preston this time, as our Youth Team POTY. The Committee picked our latest recruit, David Thomas, as Clubman of the Year in recognition of his efforts for the successful anti-TRASH campaign and the since departed Kaid Mohamed won the Goal of the Season award for his strike against Morecambe.
My thanks go to all of your Committee, our two elected Directors, our three shop staff, the army of match-day sellers and helpers and all you great supporters for enduring a truly terrible season and let’s hope we have something truly worthwhile to celebrate in a year’s time!