At last Saturday’s final game of a somewhat turbulant season I was both proud and very pleased to present a cheque in the sum of £5,000 from the Supporters Club to Adam Tutton, Head of Bristol Rovers Community Department, to cover the cost of setting-up a new Rovers’ Womens team. In fact not just one team but two because as well as the senior side that will start life in September by competing in the Gloucestershire Women’s County League there will also be an under-18’s team for the younger girls.

These will not of course be the first Rovers female teams as the original one is now competing at the highest level, the F.A. Womens Super League, under the ownership of our greatest rivals and near- neighbours, Bristol Sport! That first team started out in the early years of the modern women’s game playing in the famous quarters of course but only reached its peak following amalgamation with Filton College where the girls became Bristol Academy and changed to an all-blue strip. Those ‘Gas Girls’ eventually got into the Womens F.A. Cup Final and many Rovers fans travelled up to the Ricoh Arena to witness a narrow defeat to the then all-conquering Arsenal Ladies. Subsequently Rovers’ financial position at the time spelt what we thought was the end of our involvement in the women’s game and the likes of Secretary Roger Brinsford left the club. Unfortunately Steve Lansdowne stepped in and took the girls’ team over, renamed it ‘City’ and turned them out in a red & white kit just to add insult to injury!

Now, thanks to the efforts of Adam and his brilliant Community Department, Bristol Rovers is to have a couple of women’s teams turning out in our name and in our famous kit once more. When the Supporters Club’s Executive heard that Adam was looking for some funds to get things started we had no hesitation in offering our help. We felt this was only right seeing that we already support both the Rovers Youth Academy and the Development Squad and the ladies were an equally worthy cause. The new ladies’ teams will be based at the Community Department’s modern centre at Lockleaze where they will have facilities second to none. This alone is bound to attract good players and hopefully the new senior team will soon start to climb the women’s football pyramid. Who knows – we could have Bristol ‘derbies’ back soon!

Please keep buying those 50/50 tickets along with supporting all our other initiatives and we can then in turn help all the Rovers teams, male and female alike, achieve success in the future.

Jim Chappell,