By Nathan Bees
When it comes to Rovers I am and always have been an optimist. There’s absolutely no point in being a football fan otherwise.
I don’t overreact and blow things out of proportion if we lose. I’m always give honest appraisals but prefer to look on the bright side in any situation and hope then that our boys can get a result in the next game.
No matter how bad our result is on a Saturday the following few days sees my belief restored and my excitement for Rovers reach its naturally high level. This cycle led me to Accrington Stanley on Tuesday night.
I can safely say, however, that I was feeling far from upbeat about the Gas when I walked out of the Crown Ground at full-time and neither did the other 171 loyal Gasheads who made the trip.
There is no way that even an eternal optimist could have travelled home with any sort of optimism having seen us lose 2-1 to Accrington. We were beaten by a side who looked deserving of 24th spot in the division.
Puzzlingly I’m not sure what has changed since the end of last season. We were top of the form-guide for 7 or 8 matches and looked very very good, which makes our disastrous start to this campaign much harder to take.
We have the same manager who worked wonders to keep us in the division, the same group of players and a selection of very talented youngsters who have been introduced to the first team squad over the last few months.
How this hasn’t seen us perform at least competitively in League Two this time around I really don’t know.
The frustrating thing for every Rovers fan is that it feels like déjà vu. We take confidence from our performances at the end of one season but then begin the next in relegation form.
There is no prolonged period of productivity. We have got some very good footballers here but for some reason it just isn’t happening on the pitch.
Admittedly we have been very unfortunate with injuries but that can’t be an excuse because we have welcomed the majority of our team back and still haven’t won matches.
I don’t know what the problem is and therefore I don’t know how it can be put right, but it’s not my responsibility to know.
I, along with all Gasheads who come to the Mem tomorrow, pay to be part of Bristol Rovers and we’re really hurting right now. Everyone at the club will be feeling the same pain and I have no doubt that everyone is trying their best in their respective roles but at the moment it just isn’t enough.
Personally I fail to fathom how clubs with smaller budgets and supposedly ‘weaker’ squads than the one we have can be beating us. I don’t mean any disrespect to our divisional rivals here because they thoroughly deserve to be defeating us at the moment, but that shouldn’t be what happens on a regular basis.
Okay, on their day anyone can beat anyone but we should be a lot more competitive than we have been, right?
It’s absolutely inevitable that people will become disillusioned with disappointment and as a result crowd numbers are dropping. Having said that the great thing about this football club is that when we are united we are formidable opponents for anyone.
The players have our support simply because they represent Rovers but if they are doing their best for the badge and have the intent to win every game then the atmosphere can become electric, regardless of our league position.
You just have to think back to the Barnet game in February to get a feel for what the mood can be like if we’re all in it together. I hope the next few performances can instigate a return to those sorts of atmospheres because that’s when being a Gashead feels good and accrues points.
Getting the better of Chesterfield will be very tough but I’ll be at the game tomorrow praying to see the green shoots of recovery in evidence. Getting behind the boys is all we can do now and I trust that whatever happens they will give it their best shot.
It does need to be considered that the vast majority of our team are under the age of 21 and desperately need our support. Vocal frustration won’t help them and while we have a right to our opinions it won’t help anybody in the long-term if they feel uncomfortable playing at the Mem.
The centre of excellence graduates are still just kids who are proud to be wearing the quarters, they need to look to us for energy and confidence and I hope that we can give them that tomorrow.
Everyone has the best interests of Rovers at heart and we need to trust that it will lead to solutions for our problems as soon as possible.
Please hang in there Gasheads, it has to turn for us soon.