Report by Directors
September 17, 2014
Directors Report for the BRSC AGM on 25th September 2014 by Ken Masters
The Mansfield game on the last day of the 2013/2014 season was a very dark day in the history of Bristol Rovers Football Club. Just one point, just one goal and the players of last season could not get either. I repeat what I have said in public forums promoted by Supporters Club and by the Football Club. I repeat what I have said in the clubhouse on matchdays. I am deeply sorry for my long standing Bristol Rovers Family and to every single supporter that we were relegated to the non league last season and that we are now playing our football outside of The Football League for the first time in almost one hundred years.
You are where you are in competitive football as indeed in all competitive sports. We are where we are because our efforts at first team level were simply not good enough; the efforts of twenty two football clubs at League 2 level were better than ours last season, no matter how marginal that may have been. We have to face up and accept our situation and be totally committed to regaining our Football League status absolutely as soon as possible. We are showing that we can win at home against the likes of inform Wrexham and table topping Halifax; both former League club like ourselves with aspirations for promotion .
We must find the same resolve, especially away from home, against traditional non league part time opponents who play their football on small, tight grounds with lesser facilities than we are hitherto used to. We must respect them but only by doing that will we get to where we want to be. We must all find that resolve; directors, management team, players, SC members and all loyal and true Bristol Rovers supporters, remembering that only the players can kick footballs on the pitch. Those players need to be well chosen, well recruited, well prepared and well supported to win football matches consistently at this level.
I have been asked at the face to face forums and by individuals at other times about my reporting and main responsibilities to the Board. I can tell you that at every regular monthly Board meeting I produce a written report, often 4 or 5 word processed pages long in Times New Roman 12 script. My reports include details of my work over the month, a section with reference to the Supporters Club and a section voicing the concerns and otherwise of supporters that I have met face to face and who have approached me with their opinions. The reports are circulated to Board members in advance and I am given the opportunity to speak to the respective report at each meeting. Subsequently I share my report and the reaction to it with executive committee members of the Supporters Club. My Colleagues, firstly David Brain and more recently Brian Seymour Smith have done and do exactly the same.
My work as Chairman of the Bristol Rovers Community Trust has been very satisfying over the past year. The Business Plan version 3 produced in the spring and covering the period July 2013 to June 2016 is comprehensive and shows the inclusive nature of our work. The identification of sources of funds, raising of finance and the biding for project funding to various sources is difficult, ongoing and yet not without a good deal of success. On the community side we are launching our Fans4Life programme designed to raise levels of health and well being in our community. On the education front we are recognised throughout football as recruiting and running a highly successful Futsal/BTEC Level 3 course and for the first time this autumn we are running a foundation degree course at our study centre beneath the East Stand. These are just two examples of our development over the year but over and above that new work we reach out to school children, young adults in our community, disabled footballers, women and girls in football, older people, junior football clubs, the Vinney Green Secure Unit, The Princes Trust and others. My thanks to the leadership and staff in Bristol Rovers Community and Education for their excellent work over the year.
Fund raising for the Bristol Rovers Youth Academy has reached an all time high. Our Supporters Club volunteers who sell match day prorammes and 50/50 tickets are unsung heroes who seldom get a mention. Our volunteers are proper football people who love our Football Club and deserve credit, respect and thanks. The likes of Tom Lockyer, Ellis Harrison and Ollie Clarke are testament to their work. The recent batch of young professional footballers are progressing well with loan clubs. Weston-super Mare Gas will have followed the development of Jamie Lucas at Weston-super- Mare FC where is conspicuous on the team sheet and amongst the goalscorers this season so far. It was through the sponsorship of the WsM Branch that Jamie was introduced to the club.
My imminent relocation, whilst fraught with difficulties beyond the control of Gill and me will result in my better service and attention to the Branches; this is my pledge. Thank you to the Branch organisers for their dedication and sterling work over the year.
The success of fund raising by volunteers or by employees of the Bristol Rovers Community Trust and others is not solely dependent on the success of the first team on the pitch but by a very large part it is. Funding of the Youth Academy going forward and of the Education and Community activities are linked to a very high degree to the status of the Football Club. Our volunteers are best placed to sell 50/50 tickets when we are winning football matches.
It is what directors want to see, it is what supporters want to see, it is what the new generation of future fans want to see. I genuinely believe it is what Darrell Clarke and his staff and players at the Football Club at this time want to do and are committed to do.
All said and done, it’s all about winning football matches.