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Club News

CHAIRMAN'S REPORT

21 February 2015

The latest from Rovers Chairman Nick Higgs

The Vanarama Conference season is entering the final stretch, with most sides having only a dozen or so league games left to play and the way things are shaping up it promises to be an exciting finale with a number of clubs vying for a play off spot at the very least.

We did our own cause no harm at all last Saturday when we returned home from our away game with Grimsby having secured all three points in what I regard as one of our best team performances this season.

No one is getting carried away with one victory, though, as we all know there is a lot of work still to do between now and the end of the season.

All we can do is to focus on our own fixtures and not worry about the teams around us. If we continue to win games, then we will give ourselves every chance of being where we want to be at the end of the season.

Off the pitch, we are a step closer to a prompt outcome in our dispute with Sainsbury’s over the sale of the Memorial Stadium but I'm afraid I am unable to add to the statement published on the club's website last week, which read as follows;

The sale will fund the development of a new stadium at land next to the University of the West of England.

The Club issued a claim against Sainsbury’s in December seeking court orders clearing the way for the sale of the stadium. This followed the Club’s successful planning application removing the final planning hurdles to the development of the stadium site by Sainsbury’s.

Sainsbury’s is nevertheless refusing to complete the purchase, instead claiming that it is not bound by the planning permission and that this was not obtained in time under the terms of its contract with the Club.

The Club sought an order from the court that the claims should be heard as soon as possible, given the importance of the new stadium scheme to the Club, UWE and to North Bristol. At a recent hearing in the High Court Mr Justice Roth agreed with the club’s argument and found that the case was sufficiently urgent that it should be the subject of an accelerated trial. The Judge therefore ordered that the claims should be heard no later than 14 May 2015.

The Club remains confident that its claim against Sainsbury’s will succeed and therefore anticipates that its stadium development and relocation plan should be back on track by July 2015.

Bristol Rovers have today taken an important step towards improving its PR and communications by appointing Doug Shields to advise the Board. The club acknowledged in the summer we were lacking someone with expertise in this particular field, and the issue formed part of the internal review carried out by the directors.

We have also taken on board the comments and opinions of supporters on this subject, and we hope Doug’s arrival will show our intent to improve the way we communicate. Doug is someone the board has known for some time and who has close to 20 years’ experience in the worlds of media and PR.

He is a co-founder and director of London-based GingerComms and is a Rovers supporter, so has the best interests of the club and its fans at heart.

Doug will be working very closely with the board, and staff across the club, acting an as advisor and a sounding board to help us improve the way we deliver information to ensure you all feel included and involved in club matters.

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