Open letter to the board of Bristol Rovers Football Club
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We the fans of Bristol Rovers Football club are writing this letter to you; the board to try and mend our broken relationship.
It is now nearly 12 months since we were told that the club was about to submit a planning application for our training ground to South Gloucestershire council and it is not acceptable that the fans only discovered that plans had been shelved due to cost in a damage limitation interview by Steve Hamer in the wake of the Barnet defeat. We now have a plot of land in Almondsbury sitting doing nothing. It's inconceivable that the owners appear to believe this doesn't warrant some kind of official statement underlining what they intend to do going forward to finally provide this club with fit-for-purpose training facilities.
The same is true for the stadium. Since the club pulled out of the UWE Stadium project, many feel that no adequate reason has ever been provided and are left bewildered that any deal could possibly be worse than an indefinite stay at the crumbling Memorial Stadium, with yet another tent thrown up haphazardly to improve spectator experience. We know many parents who are hesitant to bring their young children to the Mem because of the derelict conditions at our ground which puts us in serious danger of losing a generation of fans as the rest of the football world modernises around us. It is not unreasonable to expect updates on the owner's stated goal of redeveloping the Mem, unless of course the new tent is the extent of these plans.
Finally, whilst we understand that the owners can not be expected to come and and quash any and all rumours around the club, the strong and consistent rumours that the club is up for sale and there will be no more investment in the club until any takeover is completed are troubling and paired with the lack of progress in infrastructure or any meaningful communication from the board create a self-perpetuating atmosphere of unease around the club that we believe is beginning to have an effect on the pitch.
We are not writing to you to demand that you immediately progress on the training ground and stadium. The reasons there has not been progress may be complex and varied. What we are demanding is communication from the club on a regular basis on what is being worked on, what direction any future plans are going in and any delays that have come up.
We see this taking one or more of the following forms:
- A monthly fans forum where fans can ask questions directly to the board
- A monthly written statement from the board on the work it is doing
- Regular interviews on club channels on the work the board is doing
- Immediately putting out a statement if there is bad news to announce
We believe the above would stop the current cycle of radio silence and then bad news slipping out in BBC Radio interviews. This would also go some way to stopping wild rumours circling around the club and building trust between the board and the fans.
Bristol Rovers fans are used to having our backs against the wall and no one expects overnight success or massive unsustainable investment but we do demand is to be kept informed and whenever possible involved in the direction of a club many of us have supported for 50, 60 even 70 years of our lives. Let's work together to ensure there is a competitive, modern and sustainable Bristol Rovers football club for our children and grandchildren.
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