Doncaster programme notes
December 26, 2017
Good afternoon and welcome to all at the Memorial Stadium for the first of four football matches over the Christmas and New Year festive time of the year. We extend a warm welcome to the supporters, players, staff and officials from Doncaster Rovers who have travelled some distance to be with us today. Enjoy your football with us in Bristol and a safe journey after the game.
Happy Christmas Everyone
Seasonal Greetings to everyone associated with Bristol Rovers in any way. To Pirates young and old, far and wide, we wish you a very happy and joyous Christmas time. Raise a glass to The Gas; a special time of the year at a very special football club.
In all my near six decades of supporting the Rovers I have to say that this current side is the most inconsistent and frustrating team I have ever seen as they are like a pendulum that swings from brilliant to poor in consecutive games. The last time we gathered here for the visit of Southend we were treated to Rovers’ best display of the season to date with the ‘Shrimpers’ simply brushed aside by the ‘Pirates’ who scored three and could have had more whilst preventing the visitors from registering a single worthwhile shot at goal.
Adam Smith had a boring afternoon ‘between the sticks’ only being required to catch the occasional hopeful cross and take a few goal kicks so great was Rovers’ dominance. So, on the back of consecutive victories here if ever there was a good time to put right a miserable record at the Priestfield Stadium then it was last Saturday with the usual backing of over three hundred ‘Gasheads’ up in the freezing cold uncovered away stand. But it was to be a much busier afternoon for Smith and one which continued our terrible record in Kent along with the inconsistency that has plagued our season so far.
The inclusion of summer signing Joe Partington in front of the recalled internationals Ryan Sweeney and Captain Tom Lockyer in the centre of the defence seemed to have been the answer to the season-long problem in trying to keep ‘clean sheets’ but that all went out of the window at Gillingham. The ‘Gills’ had the worst home record in the division and looked a really poor team until Joe gifted them the first of two penalties after Rovers should have taken a first-minute lead. Smith made a great save from the ‘pen’ but the opposition striker was first to the rebound and another Rovers collapse was on its way. From then on the home side looked like champions as they swept unhindered particularly down our left side and we had another miserable drive home from the Medway!
So what can we expect this afternoon? The unchanged team simply fell away last Saturday so I guess there will be changes today and let’s hope that whoever is picked can get us back on track because I believe the squad is much better than what we witnessed last Saturday.
The games come thick and fast over the festive period and on Boxing Day we head up the M5 again to Walsall where Rovers have had mixed fortunes in recent seasons with big wins and defeats as befits our current inconsistencies. I’m sure that we’ll have another massive following and let’s hope the lads can do us justice on the road again – another day like we had at Northampton would be a wonderful Christmas present. The familiar M5/M6 trek up North beckons again a few days later as we take on Oldham Athletic in the third of the festive games.
New Year’s Day sees the visit of Portsmouth to the Mem and they are certain to bring a huge following of their own so there is plenty to look forward to, hopefully starting this afternoon. Get behind the boys in blue and let us win the ‘war of the Rovers’.
Up the Pirates!
Supporters Club Sponsorship Pride
Bristol Rovers Supporters Club is the proud sponsor of the Bristol Rovers Youth Academy and of the Bristol Rovers Development Group of younger players.
Stand up Tom Lockyer. From under18’s Youth Captain to full Welsh international as a Bristol Rovers player. Bristol Rovers Supporters Club members take great pleasure in congratulating Tom on his achievements in 2017.
A Bid on the Side
Bots is taking a Christmas break today but will be back in the Portsmouth issue.
In the meantime we would like to thank every single person who has made a bid on the various items that have been featured here on “Bid on the Side”.
So far, up to and including the Southend United game we have made a superb £240.27. Thank you all from Jamie and a very special and sincere thank you to Jamie for all of the hard work that he puts in for every home game.
Supporters Club Chairman Phil Draper leads a fleet of dedicated pirate volunteers who give up a massive amount of time leading up to the kick off on home match days. Thank you and a very happy Christmas to our sellers Dave Bean, Pete Collins, Mel Dry, Sue Dry, Ray Exon, Jackie Hawkins, Leanne Hawkins, Jamie Haworth, Dave Hewitt, John Kayes, Pat Newport, Hannah Rudham, James Rudham, Mark Smith,
Angela Thomas, Ron Thorne.
The Executive Committee work hard through the year and because of the work load and half time ticket draw miss pretty much all of the first half of home fixtures at the Mem. Thank you and a very Happy Christmas to our committee members Jim Chappell, Sue Williams, Phil Draper, Janet Wooster, Helen Wigmore, Davis Thomas, Daryl Parsons, Sam Parsons, Nick Hodgson.
The SC branches put in a great deal of time to organise memberships, local travel to away games, social events a fund raising. Thank you and a very Happy Christmas to our branch organisers and members at Weston-super-Mare and Norton Radstock.
Disabled Supporters Association
A lot of work has gone into setting up our DSA over the past year. Thank you and a very Happy Christmas to Zoe Kirkby, Clive Marshall and members of our DSA.
Fed up with the Tele? Here are a few “West Country Managers” quiz questions to add to your festive entertainment. Answers in the Portsmouth programme on New Years Day.
1. England goalkeeper who managed Plymouth Argyle in the 1990s
2. Previously managed Reading and Wolves before taking over as the gaffer at Bristol Rovers
3. Manchester United player who resigned as manager at a West Country club after just a few weeks in 2010
4. England midfielder who briefly managed Exeter City in the 1980s
5. Bristol Rovers player who had spells in charge at Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion
6. West Ham United striker who managed Torquay United for 44 months in his first spell and 10 minutes in his second.
7. A managerial legend began his career at Bath City and ended it with Bristol Rovers.
8. Swindon Town youngster and Torquay United player who won promotion as a Bristol Rovers Manager
9. Manager who took Cheltenham Town into the football League for the first time
10. Northern Ireland manager who was in charge at Home Park from 1968 to 1970
11. Championship manager who has managed at two Devonshire club as well as Notts County
12. England manager and football pundit had a spell as boss at Swindon Town
13. Son of World Cup legend in charge at FGR
14. Managed at Torquay before moving on to Leicester City and Manchester United
15. Manager who took Yeovil Town into the Football League
16. Plymouth manager who played for Everton and managed Sunderland
17. Leeds United and Scotland striker who twice managed south of the river.
18. Italiano Swindono
19. Bristol Rovers boss whose son managed Fulham at the same time
20. The one and only