Bristol Rovers Supporters Club are proud to sponsor the Academy to the tune of £23,000 per season. All this is possible due to the extraordinary success of the 50/50 draw and the generosity of Rovers supporters. This money is paid over to the Academy in three tranches: two of £8,000 and one of £7,000.
When we went into Lockdown in March and football ceased we took the decision to pay the final tranche of £7,000 over to the Academy. We had the funds in reserve to enable us to do so and it hardly seemed fair to penalise the Academy just because we were unable to hold any further 50/50 draws.
We asked the Academy manager Chris Hargreaves what difference our sponsorship makes. This is what he had to say.
Firstly I would like to say a huge thanks for the help you have given me over the course of my time at the club, and ongoing with the help you have given to the Academy, it goes without saying how important this has been. The pledge we receive each year is vital to the running of the Academy and ultimately to the development of the future stars of Bristol Rovers.
We try to focus on Attitude, Effort, and Ability, within the Academy, and we try to liken our hard working fans to hard working players. We know that fans want to see maximum effort from our players and this is something that we hope comes across in our teams.
Having the benefit of the 50/50 money directly impacts the players in a positive manner, whether this be GPS units to monitor workload, which has directly come from the Supporters, the purchase of the Minibus, gym equipment, or the general running of such a large Academy. Every penny counts in trying to make it as successful an Academy as possible, and one that young players enjoy being part of and benefit from.
We know that the Supporters club would like as many ‘home-grown’ Bristol area boys to develop into Rovers’ first team as is possible, we too would also like that, and it continues to be our main goal. The setting up of the Academy is London is purely to extend the reach of the football club nationwide and to offer boys the chance to get an education, and maybe one day a route into gaining a pro contract with us. This year we have seen Alfie Kilgour progress into being a first team regular, having been through the Academy system from the very beginning, we have also seen four more local Academy players get professional contracts. Again this is a tremendous boost for everyone concerned with the Academy.
I see the future as ‘One Club’, whether it be the community, the Gas girls, or the Academy. We want to strive together to make this club as successful as possible. Now more than ever we need to stick together to make sure that this club and its supporters continue to be a major part of this City’s culture and history.
Your support is a major part of why and how we have been able to produce so many good young players that have gone on to wear the famous blue and white quarters. Long may this continue
I wish everyone good health