New manager on coming back to the Gas
John Ward has emphasised the importance of everyone pulling together to help keep Bristol Rovers in the Football League.
Ward became manager of the club for the second time yesterday, following the departure of Mark McGhee, who was relieved of his duties following Saturday’s 4-1 defeat to York City.
And the new gaffer knows he is going to have to hit the ground running.
He said: “I have got to get it right, as I only have a short period of time. We have to hit the ground running, and if we can get a point or three on Saturday that is really important to us.
“The club is in a difficult position, the team is in an awkward position, but it is not insurmountable.
“We have got to rally round and make sure there is a spirit in this football club.
“The club has a terrific fanbase, they have had their grievances, but I am asking them and the players and everybody, to put all those to one side.
“We have 24 matches and just over four months to make sure Bristol Rovers is still a Football League club at the end of the season.
“Everyone has to pull in the same direction to do that. We have got to pull together whatever the situation.”
John was manager of Rovers for three years between 1993 and 1996 and he is hoping for a return to the Bristol Rovers spirit of old.
“We were the beggars, stealers and borrowers in those days, we didn’t own anything and we fought together.
“But we have got to re-establish that, I think it is very important. It was great to be part of that, and it will be very, very good to be part of that again, and we need to establish that quickly.
“The next three or four days will be getting to know people and working with the staff and saying come Saturday afternoon at 3pm we all have to rally round for the same thing.
“Whatever the score, whatever the opposition, whoever is in the team, you are Bristol Rovers and we have to show that.”
Although his contract is only until the end of the season, he wants this to be a long term project.
He said: “There is an obvious reason my contract is initially just until the end of the season, as we have to see how the season completes itself, but there are a lot of other plans for this football club’s future, and I very much want to be part of that.
“But for now the future is the next 24 football matches, and we have to make sure that they are successful enough to make sure that those further plans and developments are fulfilled.”
And John knows how important it is to keep Rovers in the Football League.
He said: “It is absolutely vital we keep our Football League status. We have a number of players out of contract and I am here short term initially, but long term thinking wise, and the next 24 games are vital.
“The supporters have got a major part to play as they have got a football club to help save.
“We will do it together; there will be some motley times and some ups and downs, but we have got to stick together and give it our best shot.”
And finally John hopes his affinity with Rovers can help him complete the job.
“I have always been made very welcome here, and the feeling of the club pulls me to it.
“It is a football club that has been more than just a job to me, and hopefully I can help it in it’s current predicament.”