Supporters Club Statement on 50/50

Aug 16, 2021 | 50:50, News

As you will be aware, if you attended Saturday’s match, there were no 50/50 draw tickets on sale at the Memorial Stadium.

The reason for this is that the Club’s Commercial Director informed the Supporters Club that he didn’t want us selling tickets because he wanted to take the draw in house, despite the fact that the draw has never been anything other than a Supporters Club initiative since its inception on the Rovers return to Bristol in 1996.

The Supporters Club has always provided sellers and workers (all volunteers), and paid for the tickets, programme trolleys and all necessary equipment under our City Council Licence throughout.

The draw now provides our main source of income but the entire profit goes to the Football Club in the formof donations made regularly to the Youth Academy, the Development Squad and the Ladies teams operated by the Community Trust, all at no cost to the Football Club which would become responsible for these expenses should the 50/50 draw be taken over.

In addition to taking over the 50/50 Draw the Board has demanded a payment of £50,000 from the Supporters Club “to support and sustain the training ground”- The Quarters at Almondsbury. This money was raised by us from the sale of our Kingswood shop that we had to close when all ticketing and souvenir sales were taken away leaving it economically unviable.

With this money the Committee had intended to purchase spectator facilities and dugouts on a No.1 pitch, played on exclusively by the U-18’s and Development teams, for supporters who attend these matches. The equipment was to remain the property of the Supporters Club so that it could be transferred to another pitch if necessary.

Informal discussions regarding this arrangement took place with the then Supporters Club Director and the Football Club, though no formal agreement was ever put in place.

The Committee’s reaction to the Club’s demand for £50,000 was one of shock, as it came with no formal discussion taking place, simply a request to pay the money immediately.

It should be said, at this point, that the money, if agreed, would go towards the specific items listed above, for the Bristol Rovers Training Ground, not a training ground owned by a third party.

To the best of my knowledge neither the U-18 side or the Development side have yet played any matches at that venue.

The Supporters Club’s decision, as a gesture of goodwill, was to offer to donate £25,000 now with a further £25,000 next year in exchange for us retaining full control of the 50/50 Draw which would continue to provide the funding.

Our offer was made to the Commercial Director of the Football Club who, at the time of writing, has not responded, though he is attempting to contact all of our volunteer matchday staff to hold a meeting with them tomorrow afternoon.

Quite what his agenda is I don’t know, but I felt that you should all know that it was his decision to sell matchday programmes in house and his decision to take control of the 50/50 Draw and although I have seen instances of blame being laid at the door of the Supporters Club, this simply is not true.

Jim Chappell,
Chairman, BRSC.