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Club News


13 June 2014

By Nathan Bees

I ended my last blog a fortnight ago saying 'all we can do is watch how things play out over the coming days', confident that all would be a lot clearer by the time I next wrote.

Obviously that has not been the case and as supporters we remain completely unaware of the positive changes that we were promised would be forthcoming. 
I do get the impression that big news is imminent but the whispers vary from person to person and forum to forum so making any sense of it is a difficult job.

All I know is that 'radical' change requires a whole new mindset and fresh ideas, preferably from someone not currently connected with the club. We need new life and I think we would benefit from having a real football man on board.
We have had to cut costs as a result of dropping out the Football League - I appreciate that - but if we are serious about 'bouncing back' then we need to be honest about where we have gone wrong and this may be one area to address.
Appointing a CEO is something that has been called for by some Gasheads and I think it would be a very shrewd move - as long as they are given the freedom and backing to work alongside Darrell Clarke and implement changes.

It has been 6 weeks since we were relegated and all we have wanted to see is a plan for the future, something to convince us we are turning the corner.

Unfortunately the lack of communication has meant that, if anything, we feel ignored. As a fan base we haven't been the reason we have suffered relegation twice in the space of four seasons; we are the poor souls that paid our hard-earned money to watch that nightmare become a reality. 
As yet we have nothing to go on that Bristol Rovers is really serious about rectifying its problems. I don't want to overreact because there could easily be some big statements of intent announced over the next few days but the silence so far doesn't inspire much confidence.
There was one piece of good news last Friday, however, when Clarke got his first signing on board in the shape of striker Jamie White.
On paper it looks to be a very good piece of business, reuniting Clarke with a player he has managed before. White is a renowned non-league goalscorer and at his former club Salisbury City, where he first played for DC, he averaged better than a goal every two games.

That's impressive statistics for any striker and given that he has proven himself in the level we are competing in next season I think it is a good acquisition.
At 24 he is of a perfect age and clearly fits into Clarke's 'young and hungry' player mould. After plying his trade in non-league since his release from boyhood side Southampton, I am sure he is desperate to prove he has what it takes to play at a higher level again.

During his first Gas interview he seemed a confident lad and if he is able to deliver on his promise of goals then I will be very pleased.
In my eyes it is a positive start to our summer recruitment. If our future incomings are as good as White's signing appears to be then we certainly give ourselves a good chance.

They may not be household names (yet), which will prompt criticism from some short-sighted supporters, but we have gone the way of experienced journeymen before and look where it got us. We need to give them a chance and get behind them.
Let's be honest, if they have the right attitude and desire to win we are likely to be better off than we were last season, regardless of their ability. Clarke has a certain criteria for new players and I for one support

We could have gone the way of Eastleigh, signing Football League experienced players like James Constable and Jack Midson on large contracts, but why do that just to appease some fans? 
Both of those players had average-at-best seasons last year in a division that is not an awful lot better than the Conference, so I see no logic in paying over-the-odds to land them.

White appears as good a bet to get goals as either of them and is on a fraction of the money. 
Spending big doesn't guarantee success and when you are a club the size of Eastleigh it seems a ridiculous tactic to adopt. Will clubs ever learn? 

You only have to look at the situations at Hereford United and Salisbury City to see how easy it is to fall into trouble with finances and get expelled from the Conference.
From that point of view it could be worse, I suppose. 
Having said that Gasheads have endured more than enough turmoil over the years and deserve something to be positive about. If the right changes are made and we can see a coherent strategy in place to move forward long-term then perhaps we can be hopeful of a brighter future. 
The proof will be in the pudding, however, as only those at the very top can decide what way we go from here.
Sit tight everyone.

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