Jim’s Jottings

Mar 11, 2021 | Jim's Jottings, News

In the last couple of ‘Jotting’s that I have written I have commented on how the Supporters Club’s 50/50 Match- Day Draw has funded Rovers’ Youth Academy since the days of Paul Trollope’s management. First up was the aforementioned luxury mini-coach which took up all of the 2008/9 season’s income plus a large chunk of that raised in the following campaign.

Quite by chance whilst going through some old committee papers the other day I came across the then Evening Post’s ‘Focus on Bristol Rovers’ page from Monday, August 16, 2010. This featured our continuing investment in the Youth Academy and in particular our purchase of £7,000-worth of monitoring and medical equipment that was to be used by both the Academy and first-team squads. The formal Development Squad was still a few years in the future but Rovers were, at the time, running a midlands-based ‘Central’ team that I suppose was the fore-runner of the Under-18’s League and we were able to donate a further £1,000 to that as well. The Supporters Club certainly got some welcome publicity from the article but of course it was all only possible thanks to all you great supporters (SC members or not) who continue to fund the 50/50 today, even during these troubled times. Thanks to all of you who have supported our ‘on-line’ version of the Draw which we will continue with every Saturday, home and away, until such time as things get back to normal on matchdays. I guess we are talking of next season now and it can’t come too soon!

The article itself dominated the page with large colour photo of the equipment being used by defender Gary Sawyer being monitored by Ben Dury of Physiological Measurements but it is the other smaller features on the page that makes you think of all the changes there have been since the Supporters Club started directly funding the Academy a dozen years ago now. The ‘Fan’s View’ on the previous Saturday’s narrow win over Yeovil Town in League 1 was penned by Dennis Payter who was, at the time, serving on the SC Committee. He’s been gone a few years now but I guess Dennis is still following the ‘Gas’ today! The Young Pirates mascot for that Yeovil game was reported as being 9-year old Will Wyatt from Patchway. I wonder if a now twenty year old Will is still attending games! Of course it is the fixture list that really shows up what can change so much in the wonderful world of football. Yeovil are back in non-league today of course as are Dagenham & Redbridge (remember them!), Hartlepool United and, most surprisingly Notts County – the world’s oldest club. Both Rovers and our namesakes Tranmere along with Leyton Orient have been relegated out of the League but have returned like Exeter City before us. Some of our other opponents in 2010 have gone on to greater things like Southampton, Brighton and Bournemouth, all that south coast trio making it to the promised land of the Premiership along with Huddersfield Town although not all have been able to sustain the top level. I wonder how much things will change in the next decade or so?

Enjoy the game!

Jim Chappell.