November 11, 2015

Directors Report For 2015 AGM By Brian Seymour-Smith.

Without doubt, these past twelve months have been an extremely difficult period in the history of our football club. Relegation to non-league football for the first time in our history, brought with it many challenges both on and off the field. I wish to pay tribute to the board, staff, team and supporters for the highly professional manner in which we coped with this unprecedented challenge resulting in automatic promotion via Wembley in May. I don’t know about you, but I did not  watch those penalties until 24 hours later.

Relegation brought with it many issues; in particular smaller grounds to visit and all the ticketing and access restrictions that came with it. I cannot praise you all enough for the fantastic support you showed throughout the season and the patience and understanding you showed to meet the challenges ahead. Many grounds were difficult to reach, to park, restricted views and yet as Gasheads, you turned up in your thousands determined to help Darrell Clarke and the boys back into the football league.

Apart from issues dealing with the above, there were many other issues at home as well. Mostly around ticketing, pricing, catering and general facilities. Several of these concerns focused around ladies toilet facilities and disabled facilities and access and we tried to resolve these as and when we could.

The Supporters Club and Young Pirates have been operating in substandard facilities and my thanks goes out to all those who have either done their best to endure these or in the case of staff, for doing their best to accommodate. We all know the basic problem is a worn out stadium and I have every confidence that one day we will get a new stadium and many of these problems will be consigned to history. The quicker the better.

One of the highlights of last season for me was the fantastic support you gave to young 6-year old cheeky Bristol City fan Oskar Pycroft, who suffers from cerebral palsy and needed to raise £50,000 to help him walk. You will recall Oskar turning up to our first game of 2015 with his city scarf and shirt. Top man! That day, together with a quiz night, raised nearly £5,000 for Oskar and that just goes to show the nature and kindness of our supporters.

As you will appreciate the club, Barry, Ian, Clare, the Supporters Club and myself get many requests for bucket collections and other fundraising for all sorts of excellent causes, but we cannot support them all. Nevertheless, the club does all it can to help and I appreciate that you understand this. Please keep the requests coming and where we can help we will.

Once again my sincere thanks for your continuing support and enjoy the remainder of 2015/2016 season.

Brian Seymour-Smith


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