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FAN BLOG

26 February 2016

By Nathan Bees

So my blog last week did not go live on the website. Something to do with a takeover apparently…

Needless to say I didn’t mind!

A takeover was exactly what 99% of supporters dreamed of happening to help the club progress in the future, so the fact it has now become a reality is just unbelievable.

I won’t be the only person struggling to come to terms with it all, I’m sure. I read the interview Henry Winter conducted with Wael Al-Qadi for The Times and had to pinch myself. After years of next to nothing good happening at our football club, we suddenly have a man in charge who has a vision and a desire to take us forward. I can’t get my head around it.

Wael was unknown to everybody just over a week ago, but he has quickly become the figurehead of what we all hope is a bright new future for Bristol Rovers. He came across as very knowledgeable and passionate in his press conference last Friday and every time I have seen him interviewed since I have become even more impressed by what he has to say.

I don’t have a crystal ball, obviously, but I am confident this is not simply a flash in the pan. Wael and his family have made a commitment to Rovers for the long term and I think we have definite reason to be excited about what lies ahead. It is going to be one hell of a ride.

The buzzword from what we have heard so far is ‘sustainability’. For me, developing your own players and ensuring you exploit every possible revenue stream available is the only way that a club can grow organically, so the fact Wael is focusing on that is really pleasing.

The ‘let’s throw loads of money at it and get to the Premier League in record time’ approach does not work (99 times out of 100), as other overseas owners have found out. With that in mind, building from the bottom up seems like our best chance of fulfilling the potential every Gashead believes the club has.

The wonderful thing is that everybody, without exception, is fully behind our new owners. That wasn’t the case previously for a number of reasons, but the reception Wael and his family received last weekend showed there is 100% support for them and their plans for Rovers.

There has been a strong relationship between supporters and the players and management for a long while now, but it is only now at the start of this new exciting era in our history that supporters are fully behind those at the very top. Why? Because there is a sense of direction and purpose, and we all want to be part of the journey ahead.

We began that journey with a hard fought 2-1 victory against Morecambe and now face a difficult trip to Wycombe Wanderers tomorrow looking to consolidate our place in the top 7. Darrell Clarke’s aim is to finish in the play-offs  — something Wael and new Chairman Steve Hamer have since publicly agreed with — and to achieve that we need to pick up points against our top half rivals.

Gareth Ainsworth’s men are one of those teams in and around us so a positive result is crucial. I think they have a couple of injuries to contend with but it will still be a really difficult game as they are a very organised group with some talented individuals.

Over 1500 Gasheads have already got their tickets and I would like to think we can sell out the few remaining tickets today to ensure we have a sold out away end supporting the players. It is a tasty fixture given our recent history with the Chairboys and victory would definitely taste that bit sweeter than normal if we can pull it off.

We have done it twice already this season, let’s make it a hat-trick shall we?

Come on Rovers, come on you blues!

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