Bristol Rovers Supporters Club – What next?

The following are the thoughts of the author and not those, necessarily, of GasCast. 

On the 20th of May Jim Chappell the BRSC chairman put out his notes reflecting on our promotion from League Two. In it he lamented the fact we won’t be having an open top bus tour and there were a few perceived digs at the board. You can read his notes here and make up your own mind on that.

This has riled quite a few fans for various reasons. A lot of the criticism I’ve heard has been along the lines these are Jim’s views and not the views of the majority of fans that BRSC is there to represent.

Does the BRSC exist to represent the fans? Does it exist to raise funds for the club? How is this going to change under the new owners?

 

So what is BRSC here to do?

According to the BRSC site:

Bristol Rovers Supporters Club is a strong, independent and influential organisation run by fans. We operate many activities that elsewhere will be managed by the football club itself. Our aim is to support Bristol Rovers FC, while ensuring we look after the interests of our members.

They do this by doing the following:

  • Selling match tickets, replica kit, leisure wear, souvenirs and match day programmes
  • Run the Gold Bond weekly lottery
  • Run the 50/50 half time draw
  • Administer the ‘Share Scheme’
  • Run the club shop in Kingswood
  • Organising subsidised away travel for supporters

 

They do this all on a volunteer basis. Everyone who helps run the BRSC is sacrificing their free time to do all of the above. Sometimes this means that people miss kick off so that the programmes are sold and the 50/50 tickets are counted, etc. I have nothing but the upmost respect for the people who are willing to do that. I can’t say that I would sacrifice missing the start of the match no matter how good the cause, so hats off to them.

How is this going to change under the new owners?

The sentence We operate many activities that elsewhere will be managed by the football club itself makes me think the role of the BRSC is going to change over the coming months and years seeing as Wael has stated that the club is going to improve the commercial side of the way the club is run.

Presumably this means taking some of the activities that BRSC currently do in-house. Time will tell what the club will take over the running of, but this could leave BRSC a bit marginalised. Fans have speculated this is the reason for some of Jim’s comments in his notes.

One thing that hasn’t changed is fan representation on the board. Due to the share scheme holding their stake in the club BRSC has two fans on the board. The perception of these fans board members has been that they didn’t really have a voice. Fingers crossed this will change under the new owners and the fans have a chance to have their voices heard.

If the club does take a large part of BRSC’s activities in house then the organisation is going to have a good look at what purpose it is here to serve.

What next?

The last sentence of the BRSC mission statement while ensuring we look after the interests of our members doesn’t mention all the fans that are not members. Perhaps this has in part lead to other supporter groups and initiatives like the FFSC, GasCast, LSN, Gas Prints, The GAS supports Marie Curie, etc.

Perhaps the BRSC could focus more of its time supporting initiatives like this for the benefit of the club? Maybe BRSC could be an organsisation all fans want to be a part of for socials? Maybe BRSC could be a single voice for the fans to the board?

Fancy joining?

If you fancy joining BRSC you can read more here.

Tom is a season ticket holder sitting in the posh seats in the Dri-build. Originally from East Bristol he now resides in the badlands of BS3 where Irene is a slag and Darrel Clarke wanks off dogs if the stickers are to believed.

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