Written by Nathan Bees
It was a big day for Rovers on Wednesday as a club delegation travelled to London to hand in the ‘Bristol’s Not Trash’ petition to Prime Minister David Cameron.
The petition, championed by Bristol MP Charlotte Leslie, has in excess of 13,000 signatures and highlights the number of people who support the planned UWE Stadium and Sainsbury’s developments. The hand-in concluded a long process to make known that Bristol will benefit from a new football stadium and counters the campaign of TRASHorfield to halt the build.
Dedicated volunteers obtained signatures after TRASH requested a Judicial Review with the intention of delaying and then halting the stadium build, costing Rovers an estimated £1.15 million.
The JR begins next Thursday and is scheduled to last for a day and a half, with a verdict possible on Friday or sometime in the following couple of weeks.
While the petition will not directly affect the outcome of the review it does show how passionate a large number of Bristolians are about the need for improved sporting facilities and, ultimately, the city’s growth.
I was in London on Tuesday for a University trip to Westminster and our group had a Q+A session with Charlotte Leslie and other local MPs. It was the perfect opportunity for me to ask her why she had been dedicating so much time to the ‘Bristol’s Not Trash’ cause and how important it is for a positive outcome.
Fortunately I was one of very few people who got to ask a question and I was pleasantly surprised by the positive way in which it was answered by those present.
Ms Leslie made it very clear that the plans were of huge interest to the city and that she felt the need to get involved to give those in favour of the plans a voice.
I expected an optimistic response given her work with the petition but it was obvious from her body language and the detail she gave just how strongly she felt about it all. I have no doubts that her influence has aided our cause immeasurably.
Jack Lopresti MP echoed her thoughts and praised everyone involved with the petition for their hard work, before declaring his hope for good news this time next week.
All in all I was pleased with what I heard. Not only had I picked up some good quotes for my assessed news story at Uni but I was able to ask a question about my beloved Rovers in parliament. That made for a successful trip, I’d say! Fingers crossed I can be talking about further success relating to the UWE Stadium in next week’s blog too.
Tomorrow, however, focus returns to on-field matters as we welcome in-form Plymouth Argyle to the Mem.
It’s a game that always attracts a good crowd and the 3 points up for grabs are as important to Argyle as they are to Rovers. They are usually tight affairs and that looks set to continue tomorrow given the results of both sides over the last few weeks.
It should be fascinating to watch. John Sheridan’s men can’t stop scoring and have averaged a couple of goals per game recently but they are coming up against a defence that is among the best in League Two. Steve Mildenhall has been outstanding and his presence undoubtedly helps to steady our young back four.
Bristolian Reuben Reid, however, has been finding the net regularly for the Pilgrims and sits just one goal behind our very own John-Joe O’Toole in the top scorers chart.
Given his local links he will be very keen to make his mark on the game and score in front of the 1,400 Devonians making the trip up. Tom Parkes and Mark McChrystal will have to be at their best to keep him quiet and nullify his attacking threats.
Given that it is an away sell-out I think the atmosphere will be one of the best we’ve experienced all season. It is these types of occasions that all football fans enjoy being part of because they don’t come around very often in this division.
While we should be wary of Plymouth we have been playing well ourselves recently and are undefeated in five games. We have kept 3 clean sheets in that time and look a much more solid, organised outfit than we did when we lost at Home Park back in September.
There is a fantastic opportunity for us to jump up the table in the next few days if we can overcome Plymouth and then Dagenham & Redbridge at the Mem on Tuesday night. The top half is not a million miles away and positive results before our mammoth trip to Hartlepool United next weekend would be ideal to set us on our way.
Bring it on. Come on you blues!