Director Ken Masters report to our AGM

Oct 30, 2019 | Committee News, News

New owners acquired the Football Club just short of four years ago. Supporters Club shares were not included in the acquisition and so I remained a director of the Company elected by members. No other supporters or members of other support group are entitled to vote. The terms are conditions are to be found in the legal Share Scheme Agreement between the Supporters Club and the Football Club. No changes were made to the agreement at the time of the acquisitions and no changes have been made since. The agreement is still in place and the scheme is still in operation.

My position with reference to the legal agreement is clear to me; I am accountable to the Chairman and Trustees of the Supporters Club and I am responsible to the Chairman of the Company. This is a position that I do not nor would I seek to undermine in either regard. I take this opportunity to thank all members of the share scheme past and present for the most valued individual contributions to the scheme.

The summary report for the year ending 30th June 2019 shows a cumulative sum of £1,189,910 share scheme contribution. This figure includes the further contribution of £25,008 in the financial year July 2108 through June 2019. Predictions based on the current level of payments shows that the £1.2 million figure would be achieved by calendar year ending December 2019.

Four years ago hopes were high of a new stadium with sufficient and adequate resources and facilities that would befit a football club representing the second largest city in the South of England outside of London. This should still be the main aim, an aim I believe to be essential to the progress Bristol Rovers. Such a development would take our football club to the levels of other major conurbations in England and Wales essentially those with football clubs competing in the English Premier League and the EFL Championship. Over the past twelve months since my report December 2018, my opinion has not changed and my purpose has not changed.

My work in a dedicated area remains as before. I am pleased and privileged to serve as Chairman of Trustees of the Bristol Rovers

Community Trust; it is a time consuming yet satisfying role. The progress that we have made and the good work that we have delivered in our community has again not gone without notice and recognition. I am delighted for all concerned that following on with the Bristol Life Charity of the Year award for 2018, the Trust was awarded for its work by the Gloucestershire County Football Association, 2019. The Trust was further shortlisted for the Bristol Diversity Awards. I take this opportunity to thank the Trustees, Management and Staff of the Trust for their support, commitment and work over the year.

The Work of the Community Trust continues to develop and grow. Inclusivity and widening participation remain the principles that steer and drive our work. The Trust operation is entirely independent, self- governing, self-managing and self- financing. Raising funds is an on- going process. The Trust is not for profit but financial controls and financial viability is paramount. The yearly accounts are being prepared for the auditors and will again show an operating surplus above budget forecasts. The financial position shows an adequate sum set aside as a reserve and in addition an unrestricted accumulation of cash at the Bank is shown deposited. Trustees are satisfied that these positions gives the Trust scope to support new and locally devised initiatives over the coming year and beyond.

The work of the Trust is listed under the main community headings of Social Inclusion, Health and Sports Participation. Education is concentrated into the areas of post-16 and post-19 qualification programmes. Funding for community work is mostly sourced from the Premier League Community Fund. Education funding is mostly sourced from government post-16 funding in much the same way as sixth forms and further education colleges. Post-19 funding is sourced from collaborative agreements with the University of South Wales based in Cardiff. A new education facility has been adapted in space in the West Stand of the stadium. The facility, replacing the one classroom facility in the East Stand, comprises two classrooms, a work-room for smaller groups, teaching staff office and work space and an reception area. The Trust has worked with the Football Club to recruit first team player ambassadors for its work.

· Social Inclusion – Mark Little

· Health – Ollie Clarke

· Sports Participation – Alfie Kilgour

· Education – Alex Rodman

I take this opportunity to thank the players for their much-valued contribution to the work of the Trust in our Bristol Rovers Community.

I am pleased and proud that through the Community Trust we again have Bristol Rovers Womens Football Teams sporting the famous blue and white quarters. The Bristol Rovers Womens Football Club was formed over the summer and were admitted the Gloucestershire County FA Womens League Divisions One and Two. Both the women’s team in Division One and the development girl’s team in Division Two have made excellent starts and sit at the top of the respective divisions having won all League matches to date. Home games are played at the Lockleaze Community Sports Centre. I take this opportunity to thank the Supporters Club Executive Committee for their generous sponsorship to provide training kit, playing kit and facilities for BRWFC.

Over the course of the year I have continued to support the work of the Safety Officer at the Football Club. I attend all meetings of the Safety Advisory Group through the winter, spring and summer months. The group comprises City Council personnel, Police, Fire and Ambulance Services. I attended all stadium safety meetings and stadium inspections over the period. I have consistently raised the issue of the racial abuse of players. It is an issue that I feel very strongly about and one that I have featured in my “Hot Topic” articles in the match day programme.

Clearly, we are a football club and all that we do is driven by the success of the club at first team level. The position of the club in EFL League One looked difficult one year ago. The players rallied magnificently and the management and all associated with the team worked very hard to secure the status of the club in League One. The position at this time looks much improved. I take this opportunity to thank the football management and players for their hard work and commitment to our football club.

Finally, a developed training ground to accommodate all that we do on the playing side 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 locally and nationally, one that enables the football club to develop and take benefits from alternative sources of funds is essential. We must continue to work hard and to work together to make the progress for our football club that we all want and to take our Bristol Rovers to where we all want it to be.

Thank you for supporting Bristol Rovers Football Club; your support is so very much appreciated.