January 18, 2015
May I firstly apologise that I was not at the game yesterday and therefore was not directly on hand to help in regards to our supporters who with deep regret, were not able to get into the game at Woking.
I received several messages on twitter and other means around 3.20 and began to act immediately by contacting my fellow directors of the situation.
May I offer my thanks to them for immediately responding and were already responding, including the Chairman. Realising that there was space in certain parts of the ground, Nick put maximum pressure on their Chairman to open those areas and allow our supporters in. I only understand from hearsay, that their Chairman responded, spoke to the Police and this request was rejected, but I cannot confirm this.
May I make it clear that the safety and welfare of all concerned is paramount and if there is a dangerous situation then those responsible must be obeyed and remembering at the same time, that the staging of a home game is the responsibility of the home club and their decision is final.
However, in my own personal view, and again I was not there, is that it is safer to have people in a stadium rather than outside on the street – providing there are sufficient facilities to accommodate them. I am disappointed this did not happen.
I have spoken to the Chairman this morning as I promised I would.
Nick makes it absolutely clear that Woking were advised by BRFC that we were expecting in excess of 1,500 supporters to attend the game. It was Woking’s decision therefore not to make the game all ticket and to charge on the gate. Clearly, they felt they had sufficient room in a stadium, catering for over 6,000 to do this.
Secondly, they no doubt appreciated that the Rovers allocation would have been greatly restricted, possibly to 600 on an all ticket game and this would have had an effect on matchday revenue. They must also have been aware from our other away games that Rovers away support is constantly in excess of 1,200 and this attendance yesterday was not uncommon.
So where do we go to from here?
1. Firstly, again may I offer my sincere apologies to those of you who travelled and could not get in. Thank you for making the effort and spending money to travel.
2. I have asked Nick if in future, particularly at small grounds like Dover, we recommend all-ticket to prevent this happening again, but again this is the choice of the home team.
3. That we do continue to emphasis to the club’s we visit of our potential support and ensure sufficent space to cater for everyone- but this does go without saying, as the club does this already.
If you have any suggestions which may help avoid this in future then please do email me at [email protected] and I will pass these ideas on.
My Very Best Wishes