Nick on the events of 2012
Can I start by saying that I hope you all had a good Christmas.
Unfortunately it has been another disappointing year for Bristol Rovers, and the year ended as it had begun, with us parting company with another manager.
When Mark McGhee was appointed in January we were all full of optimism, and under his guidance results and performances began to pick up during the second half of the 20/11/12 season.
He began his spell in charge with a win over Cheltenham Town away, and picked up some impressive victories, most notably home wins against Burton Albion and Accrington Stanley; where we were scoring goals for fun.
Unfortunately this good spell was not to last. Pre season was somewhat disappointing, but we are always told not to read too much into the results of those friendly matches. However, the season also started with two defeats and only two wins in the first two months of the campaign.
We were of course blighted by severe injury problems, with many of our key players gracing Phil Kite’s physio couch early on. But slowly most of these players began to make their returns, but the results did not turn around.
Mark McGhee is a great professional, and I really enjoyed my time working with him, but I had to make a tough decision and I decided to release him from his duties. We found ourselves in the relegation zone, and I felt decisive action needed to be taken.
However, it has not all been doom and gloom, because off the field we were granted planning permission for the new UWE Stadium up at Frenchay. This is a hugely important step, and if I was to compare it to a football match, I would say that we were winning at half time.
The second half gets underway on January 16th, when we are optimistic Sainsbury’s will be given planning permission to develop the current Memorial Stadium site. If they get the green light, then we will be able to get things moving on the development as soon as the judicial review period is closed.
I cannot overemphasise just how important the new stadium is to the sustainable future of Bristol Rovers, and I would like to thank all the people who have worked on both planning applications to get us to this point, and all the Bristol Rovers fans who have signed petitions and shown public support for the plans.
Now lets get the final push together and get as many signatures as we can over the festive period.
So all in all, 2013 could be a very exciting season for Bristol Rovers, both on and off the pitch. With John Ward back at the helm we aim to get out of the position we find ourselves in and start climbing back up the table.
We believe he is the man to bring back that old Bristol Rovers spirit, and we ask you all to unite behind him and pull together to get things moving in the right direction.
Off the pitch work could get underway on the new stadium, and we will keep you up to date with the progress every step of the way.
So may I take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year and thank you for sticking with us through these testing last 12 months.