The Club was saddened to hear news of the passing of devoted Rovers supporter Pete Broom, known as Baz by his friends, when support was offered from an unlikely source...
Having purchased tickets from the Club years ago for Millwall's promotion securing fixture at the Mem - Phil Simmonds remained on the email list for the Gas and has kept a keen eye on the results of Rovers since his visit 3 years ago.
It was from one of these emails where he took the chance to get in touch, offering to purchase a season ticket for a young Rovers fan who's family couldn't afford it at the moment.
This outreach from Phil came at a sad time for the daughter of a long time season-ticket holder, Baz (Pete Broom), after he tragically passed due to the COVID-19 pandemic - with his funeral taking place this week. Baz was a well-known and much-loved supporter who was valued by his friends in the stands in the Mem each week. He was an embodiment of the Rovers fanbase and the sense of the community it provides.
Phil's generous pledge to support a local cause seemed fitting for this situation - and he was more than pleased to step forward and pay for the season ticket for both Baz's daughter and a guardian to attend matches with her. In response to this incredible act of generosity, the Club have invited both Phil and his son as guests to a game down at the Mem once football resumes.
Phil Simmonds said; "My family and my beloved Millwall are the 2 big loves in my life, and I love both unconditionally, and passionately. Football is a huge part of my life, probably like every other (non-Premier-League-football) fan. At Millwall we have huge respect for the football family, because without rival teams there would be no football. I have visited Rovers’ stadium with Millwall on 4 occasions many years ago, and I attended ‘that match’ on 30th April 2017 when Millwall beat Rovers 3-4 with an 85th minute winner from Hutch which put us in the play-offs, through which then ultimately beat Bradford 1-0 at Wembley to secure promotion to the Championship. Apologies, but I bought a ticket in your home end because our allocation was sold out, but I came, and went in peace and with total respect.
Since that match, I have received ongoing emails from the Gas keeping me informed and updated with Rovers news. Recently I received another email checking everything is OK with me in these tough times of the lockdown. That touched me, - Bristol Rovers are a very caring, very special and unique Football Club. I replied to the email confessing that I am actually a Millwall fan, and as a gesture of my thanks, guilt and apology for buying that ticket in your home end I offered to sponsor a young Rovers fans season ticket for 2020/2021. I was informed by Tom Gorringe, your commercial director of the devastating news that one of your fans had passed away but that his daughter, same age as my youngest son, still wanted to come along with her uncle to support her football team. I am not ashamed to say that I shed a few tears on hearing that news, and of course I was delighted to pay for her season ticket, and that of her Uncle for 2020 / 2021. I am frankly humbled and feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to help, and I will always be here for the family next season and the season after and the season after.
The Gas are now my second team, and I sincerely wish this family, and indeed all Rovers fans and the Football Club, all the very best for the future.
Phil Simmonds, a very humbled Lion"