This week, Brian Seymour-Smith – the Bristol Rovers Supporter’s Club Director, agreed to give us the lowdown of all things Gas ahead of the big game tomorrow.
Bristol Rovers have long been called a ‘sleeping giant’, a title which more and more clubs in League Two are claiming each season. The Gas have been waiting to make their attack since being relegated back to the basement division in 2011. Two seasons ago, they finished in an underwhelming 13th place despite being many people’s favourites for at least a playoff place but last season saw them struggling even more. The very real possibility of dropping out of the league altogether meant that Mark McGee was shown the door and John Ward returned to the club to turn around their fortunes. Brian says that there are similarities between his club’s top man and Aidy Boothroyd and that hopes are high that he can build on last season’s success.
“John Ward and Aidy Boothroyd are two of the most experienced managers in this league at this level and fully understand what it takes to gain promotion for their respective clubs,” he says, “Like Aidy, John Ward he has already proved in the past that he can bring success to clubs, in our case Bristol Rovers, and I know he will do it again. Bristol is a massive city with a massive support for the Pirates. Expectations are high and John has all the skills required to meet those expectations both on and off the field.”
Off the pitch, Rovers have faced a long fight to move to a new home at the University of the West of England. Brian updates us on the progress of the new home:
“We are now at the Judicial Review Period and this is scheduled to come to a conclusion during September. This is the final phase where objections can be raised, but on technicalities only. We are extremely confident that we have followed all procedures correctly and for the sake of the club, players and our supporters, we sincerely hope we can move forward without delay at the earliest possible moment.”
As the club awaits news on that development, they will be hoping that some new additions over the summer coupled with a solid grounding from last season’s key men can lift them to new heights that will be fitting of a brand new stadium and a brighter future. Brian says,
“We signed several players in the summer. These included players such as John Joe O’Toole, Steve Mildenhall and Mark McChrystal who were with us on loan, and we are delighted that they and several other players re-signed for us are becoming part of an extremely talented and, in particular, young squad. Our biggest worry has been a massive injury list but the good news is many of these players are now starting to come back and I firmly believe that once they are all back our success on the field will continue to improve still further.”
Rovers picked up their first win of the season at the fourth time of asking last weekend and are off the mark with four points having previously collected a solitary point at home to Scunthorpe.
“As with Northampton, the most important thing at this stage of the season is points on the board,” Brian says, “Performance comes later as confidence grows. But without doubt it’s been a massive boost (to pick up three points against York), particularly with our JPT match against our main rivals Bristol City scheduled for Wednesday. Both this and the Northampton game are matches we can and want to win.”
And finally, in terms of a score prediction, Brian can see more Memorial Stadium misery for the Cobblers:
Bristol Rovers Links:
Official Website: http://www.bristolrovers.co.uk/
Local News section: http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/bristolrovers