Ken Masters Directors Report to our AGM
October 18, 2017
Ken Masters Directors Report
Bristol Rovers Supporters Club
Annual General Meeting: Thursday 19th October 2017
I had no prior knowledge of the ownership take over that took place in the spring of 2016. The building of relationships and the process of gaining respect and trust at board level started anew. It has been a lengthy process but one that has progressed well. My position has remained the same, I am responsible to the Chairman of the Football Club and as a director elected by members and I am accountable to the Chairman of the Supporters Club to whom I give advice and maximum support. On that basis I was pleased to accept the invitation of the new Board to continue my role as Trustee and Chairman of Trustees of the Bristol Rovers Community Trust. It is a role that requires a good deal of responsibility, time and work. Accountability is vital and my main concern is to protect the financial investment made by members through the share scheme. Contributions are ongoing; thank you to all members who have contributed in the past and to those members that continue to do so.
First and foremost we are a football club and all that we do ultimately stems from success at first team level; it’s all about performing and winning football matches. Our first season back in the third tier of English Football was satisfying and satisfactory. Credit must go to Darrell Clarke, his staff and our players for achieving a top ten finish in League One. The Supporters Club continues to sponsor the Bristol Rovers Youth Academy from 50/50 fundraising. It is a vital, significant and highly important contribution. It is pleasing that we have five members of the first team group that have progressed from Bristol Rovers Youth football. It is especially pleasing that two of those players have been granted the captain’s armband in the season to date. Thank you to our volunteer ticket sellers and all to who buy tickets and contribute to the cause.
I understand that developments within the football club are often difficult to follow and can go unseen. Staff appointments to medical services, strength and conditioning, sports therapy and analysis have been added to a broader base of coaching staff. The setting up and implementation of an under-21 development group has been a major initiative and investment. A development coach, assistant development coach and development goalkeeping coach has been installed to manage a group of over twenty players. Two of these players have already made appearances from the bench at league level and one has made a starting debut. Others were included in the Trophy game victory at Wycombe. I am pleased and proud that the Executive Committee agreed to my request to sponsor the group. I travel with the group to support them at all times possible; at Bury for a Premier under-23 cup game when the first team was at Fulham on the same evening and more recently at Southend for a Central Reserve League fixture.
Work with the Bristol Rovers Community Trust has been intense and time-consuming following a severance agreement being agreed with the former Community Officer. All community employees served notice periods, summer 2016 and the education teacher resigned to take the post of kit manager with the football club, June 2017. Adam Tutton was appointed Chief Officer to the Trust, September 2016. Appointments against an agreed staffing structure has been completed to comprise Head of Community, Head of Education, three community coaches, two education teachers/futsal coaches and a part time degree tutor. Financial management is provided by an external source.
Community Trust Education comprises two main areas of delivery. Post 16 Btec Level 3 in Sport it delivered in tandem with Futsal coaching and competition in the EFL Futsal League comprising other EFL Clubs with Btec Level 3/Futsal programmes. Forty-four students are currently engaged on the programme. Education is delivered at two centres, The Memorial Stadium and the Mangotsfield and Downend Sixth Form Centre. Recruitment for September 2018 start is already underway.
Post 18 Foundation Degree and Degree in Community Sports Coaching is delivered in collaboration with the University of South Wales. Eleven students are currently engaged on the programme.
Targets for September 2018 start: Btec Level 3/Futsal, 50 students. Foundation Degree and Degree, 15 students.
Community activity is based on Premier League Community funded projects, and local self-generating activities. PL projects comprise PL Girls, Primary Stars. PL Kicks and Move and Learn. The Move and Learn project was initially awarded to twenty EFL clubs only; his has recently been extended to include four more clubs taking the involvement to twenty-four EFL clubs. We were very pleased to be awarded as one of the four additional participants. Work on this new project starts October.
Self-generating activity includes the Extra Time Club for older people, Men’s Health programmes, Walking Football for over 50’s, first team
Match Day Experiences for junior football clubs and School Holiday activities based in Horfield and Mangotsfield.
In all, in the order of 1000 people of all ages are engaged in Bristol Rovers community activity each week.
The financial position of the Trust is sound and secure. Funds have been made available for a good deal of development work to continue to grow the activities and to engage with many more people in our Bristol Rovers Community. My sincere thanks go to Trustees for much needed help and support.
I say again that first and foremost we are a football club and all that we do ultimately stems from success at first team level. We have come a good way from the dark days of just three years ago. All of us in the Bristol Rovers family want us to move forward. Let us be clear; to do this we need to improve the amenities and facilities for all; supporters, players, staff and management. We have ambitions for at least Championship Football; we are the second biggest city in the South of England outside of London. We are big enough, we have a massive fan base and the potential has been there for all to see for a very long time. What is more and for our supporters not least, we must close the gap!
A developed training ground to accommodate all that we do on the playing side is not just desirable it is essential. A stadium that befits our city and our region, one that is designed and built to 21st century standards and requirements, one that enables us to complete on a level playing field is just not desirable it is essential. We must work hard and work together to make the progress we all want and to close the gap.
Finally but not least, the support given to our football club over the past twelve months has been magnificent. Season ticket sales have been high and attendances have remained strong. Support on the road has been extraordinary. We remember and respect all of those of our Bristol Rovers family of the past, we enjoy the Bristol Rovers family of the present and we leave the legacy for the Bristol Rovers family still to come.
Thank you for supporting Bristol Rovers Football Club. Your support is so very much appreciated