Southend programme notes
December 11, 2017
Good afternoon and welcome to all at the Memorial Stadium for today’s League fixture with Southend United. We extend a warm welcome to the supporters, players, staff and officials from the Essex coast. Enjoy your football with us in Bristol and we wish you a safe journey home after the game.
It was quite a relief to hear the final whistle last Saturday that signaled a much needed and well deserved victory over Rotherham, who turned out to be as difficult and hard to beat as we could have wished for during a very testing period for Rovers. After a goal-less first half we let in another poorly defended goal and I guess everybody around the ground feared the worst.! However, as has been said on several occasions, the Rovers’ spirit has not gone away, absent though it may have seemed to have been in just a couple matches this season, and the lads came storming back to claim all three points.
Ellis Harrison has certainly been the most improved player this term and he seems to have added determination to his obvious skills and is reaping the rewards for himself and the team. I suspect the ‘old Ellis’ might not have made that lunge past the ‘Millers’ defenders in previous campaigns but that simple stretch and ‘toe poke’ for the equaliser was just what was needed and set Rovers on the road to a welcome win. That goal followed on from a fabulous strike at Blackburn the week before and then Ellis set up a cooly taken matchwinner for Liam Sercombe so let’s hope that he is able to maintain his great form against the ‘Shrimpers’ this afternoon.
This afternoon should see the Supporters Club’s highly successful 50/50 Draw winnings go past the £14,000 mark for the season to date which is now almost at the half-way stage. A similar amount is therefore pledged towards the Bristol Rovers Academy which and the Development squad as well as the Under-18 Youth squad that we have sponsored for the last decade or so. This additional ‘burden’ (for want of a better word) is not really that because if any of you have been to see the Development side in action then you will have been impressed by Chris Hargreaves’ rapidly improving squad, none of whom had even met each other before their first game at Corinthian Casuals just four months ago.
The side is a mixture of lads taken on from the Under-18’s and some astute signings, many of them rejected previously by other clubs, but who are hoping to make a career in the game with Rovers. The Development League is still also in its infancy and most of our fixtures to date have either been away from home or have been hastily arranged ‘friendlies’, mostly on the G.F.A.’s ‘4G’ pitch at Almondsbury. In the New Year this side has a run of home League fixtures and I hope to see a few more ‘Gasheads’ there to give them a cheer because I am pleased to say that I have seen some great football from what is now effectively a Rovers ‘reserve’ team. Whatever, your continued support of the 50/50 Draw is much appreciated by the Academy management of both the Under-18’s and the Development teams so please keep it going and hopefully I’ll be handing you one of our white envelopes at half-time today!
Thanks obviously go to our hard-working band of sellers who turn out in all winds and weathers to sell the tickets. Likewise to Berni in the Kingswood shop who organises and makes up the tickets and to Sam, Sue, John, Mark and Daryl who help me to put the thousands of stubs into the drum in such a short space of time; everything having to be accomplished at least five minutes before half-time at every home game. An achievement we are proud of.
Bearing in mind the aforementioned Development squad, they will no doubt be heavily involved as Rovers have been drawn away to the City in the Goucestershire Cup on the 22nd December and I’m sure the lads would welcome your support.
The ‘Robins’ undeservedly beat a 10-man ‘Pirates’ side at Weston-Super-Mare last month and it would only be right for us to get revenge as an early Christmas present! Meantime we need your support as ever this afternoon; get behind the boys in blue and white. Up the Rovers.
Quick reminder as Christmas looms fast. Don’t forget to get your match tickets and to book Supporters Club coach seats to all those difficult but winnable away games at Gillingham, Walsall and Oldham. Support on the road is massive and the Walsall game on Boxing Day especially is sure to be in high demand. That’ll please the relatives! Of course you could take them all with you.
A Bid on the Side
A capital bid or two will be the order of the day in the latest BOTS. Two great items with a Wembley flavour now that Tottenham are sharing their home games with the National side this season.
Item 1. Tottenham Hotspurs, away shirt.
At least I think this is a Spurs away shirt. As anyone that knows me understands all too well I take no notice whatsoever of the Premier League so I have to admit I am not really sure. This one is in very good condition and is size XL. There has to be a Rovers fan out there that follows Spurs as well so either tell them about this auction or even better, win it for them.
Item 2. Childs England Shirt.
This red England top is in very good condition and I am sure any youngster would enjoy wearing this whilst watching England at the World Cup next summer. It is very difficult to read the label as it’s so small. Even with my glasses on and using a magnifying glass I still can’t be 100% sure. I am pretty sure that it is size MS. Asking an expert (My wife) she reckons it would fit a 7 to 8 year old. It is in excellent condition.
Where does Jamie keep getting these superb items from? Well done to Jamie and to all contributors who find donations to coincide with all of our home games. Both of the items this time around have been auctioned on Ebay since Thursday the 7th of December and will be available for 10 days. The minimum price is just 99 pence each item and the highest bidder wins.
Many thanks Jamie; top online auctioneer.
Links to all both auctions will be found at http://bristolroversmemorabilia.weebly.com/
If any other Rovers fans have any rare or interesting Rovers related items that they would be happy to donate, please pass the item(s) on to 199 Two Mile Hill Road, or pop in to the Supporters Club matchday shop in the car park by the Dribuild Stand.
Brian Daley is a massive Rovers supporter. He’s got to be! Brian lives on the Costa del Sol and it really does costa lot to follow the Gas. Brian is not an infrequent attendee at the Mem. Brian got lucky at the Rotherham game with a bit of financial assistance for his loyalty and passion. Our man Spencer sold Brian a 50/50 draw ticket in the Civil Service Club and ticket number 029956 came out the drum to win Brian gold to the value of £100 sterling in cash. Well done to Spencer and to Brian.
The first prize of a cool £950 went to Nathan Leigh. Nathan travels to the Mem from a little closer to home; Filton. Helen Wigmore sold Nathan his winning ticket number 024179 in the West Stand boxes. Congratulations to Nathan and many thanks to Helen. Thank you to all of our volunteer sellers and to all who bought 50/50 tickets. Good luck today; you too could be a winner.
Bristol Rovers Supporters Club is the proud sponsor of the Bristol Rovers Youth Academy and of the Bristol Rovers Central League Development Group of young players.
Weston at Christmas
This year’s Weston- super-Mare branch Christmas meal will take place at the Windsor Castle Pub on Saturday 23rd December. To avoid disappointment, a booking around now and no later is highly recommended. Always a great event and a must do for Weston Gas members, relatives and friends. The Windsor Castle is a very supportive Rovers friendly pub. Thank you to all the management and staff