Welcome all to this, our first home game of the new campaign – a campaign that we all hope will be less troublesome than the last. I normally review the previous away game but this time I have penned these notes in advance of our trip to the seaside at Blackpool as I will have spent a few days up in and around the nearby Forest of Bowland trying to catch up on holiday lost as a result of family illnesses and bereavements. Besides, there is a little catching-up to do on the end of last season and developments over the summer.

Supporters Club Awards Season 2018-2019

Firstly the Supporters Club was unable to present our end of season awards for one reason or another. Ours are the premier awards in my view as we were first to introduce them way back in Eastville days and cover all aspects of the Rovers we all love. So we tried to award ours instead at the Open Day held here by the Club on Sunday 28th July but unfortunately we were unable to because as we were told with injuries and other reasons meaning that the players were not available to us.

It was then arranged for us to present them at the training ground which sadly meant that you, the supporters, were not able to be join in; a very unsatisfactory position that we must not allow to be repeated in future. As it turned out the voting for the main trophy for Player of the Year was desperately close between James Clarke and Jack Bonham and the former was victorious by just one vote. Unfortunately both players have now left the club during the close season but James has subsequently received his replica trophy via the Football Club and he has taken the trouble to write back as follows;

‘”Thank you for going through the trouble of sending over a lovely trophy. You shouldn’t have as knowing I was thought of so highly to win the award from the Supporters Club would have been more than enough for me. Thank you once again and I wish yourself, the Supporters Club and Rovers all the very best.”

Nice one James. My sincere thanks to all those who took the time and trouble to vote and I hope that we can present the awards in a more satisfactory way after a more satisfactory season next May. The Young Player of the Year was Alfie Kilgour, another local lad who has successfully made the long journey up through the Youth Academy and the Development Squad and into the first team. We all love a local boy and let’s hope that similar ultimate success is gained by the winner of the Youth Academy Player of the Year, Harry Warwick.

Our best signing for years, and one which probably saved Rovers from the dreaded drop back into the basement division, has been Johnson Clarke-Harris whose desperately-needed goals included that fantastic equaliser against Plymouth Argyle at Home Park – the goal you fans decided was the best of the season. The Committee decided to award Rovers’ recently departed Padre, Dave Jeal, with the Clubman of the Year for his many years of service to the club and its employees. Dave was away training with the Marines so was another missing the end of the season but has promised to come back to the ‘Mem’ to receive his trophy at a future home game.

Pre-Season 50/50

Our SC volunteers were back at work for the two pre-season friendly games at the Memorial Stadium. We have two lucky winners, one from each of the games when we entertained Birmingham and Swansea.

Geoff Smith from Kingswood came forward with winning ticket number 029359 to collect £100 at half time during the Birmingham game. One hundred Pounds also went to Graham Mills from St Neots who presented winning ticket number 014730 to Jim at half time during the Swansea game. Very well done to both.

Don’t forget to buy your tickets from one of our many volunteers around the ground and in the bars before today’s game. Best of luck everyone

Share Scheme

I just want to end my first column of the season by thanking every single member of the Supporters Club’s Share Scheme for continuing to stick with us and to keep paying-in to the scheme when I’m sure most of you think it might be ‘money down the drain’! Believe you me it is not though few of you will realise how important your contributions have been to Bristol Rovers. Please keep helping us to support the Club.