Date: 4th October 2007 at 3:33pm
Written by:

Wash Your Mouths Out?

I won`t get bitter & twisted over the fact that I & my good friend Rick Johansen were summarily removed from writing the “Fans View” column for the Green’Un by the editor and associate of a current board member-plenty has been said & I know plenty more will be said in other places.

Instead, I thought I`d share my thoughts on our replacement.

I`m not repeating this to blow my own trumpet and I`m not after any thanks but I should give you some background. For about 5 or 6 years I had the privilege of writing for the award winning Pirate. At one stage between us Rick and I were writing three articles per edition. In that time, with the exception of may be one or two sets of pre-season friendlies, I`d contributed to every home league, cup, friendly and even testimonial program.

On top of that, the club pointed a couple of other publications in my direction when copy was need. I wrote a couple of pieces for the BEP and a piece for 4-4-2).

Also, under the guise of the ‘BRSC Social Committee, between us Rick, Tim Blake (now another Mem absentee) and I also arranged numerous social events including the monthly “Vintage Gas” nights; the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Watney Cup Final; “Gas Idol”, the “Bullseye” night, the “Big Summer Music Quizzes” – to raise some cash initially for the club and latterly for the BRSC Share Scheme.

I was also involved on the original Share Scheme Committee – prompting and “selling” the admirable idea of fan ownership of a 28% shareholding in BRSC.

Then, as Rick mentioned in his earlier article, we made what now appears to have been a fatal error by not blindly accepting everything that the Chairman said and publicly backing Messrs Turl, Spencer, Williams and Stuckey. Shortly after that, we were removed from the Pirate and then (undoubtedly by pure coincidence) from the Green ‘Un.

Since the events of last summer, I don`t recall there being any BRSC social event except the usual Player of the Year “do” (despite the Social Committee now being part of the BRSC EC and Rule 2.2 of the Constitution stipulating that BRSC will “cater for the social interests of BRSC members throughout the year” – but hey, may be I`m just being picky and the Player of the Year takes all year to arrange?)

History also now appears to have been airbrushed. Any reference to us on the club website has been removed; the chance of a 28% share ownership has effectively been killed-off by the BRSC EC unilaterally deciding to vote in favour of a further share issue and everything that entailed; I get ignored by people I helped to elect. (Actually, in Ken Masters` defence, I originally wrote to him only 6 months ago so perhaps a reply so soon is expecting too much).

Fortunately, I also made some very good friends during those few years and we all have something in common – we`ve lifted the skirts of Bristol Rover Football Club, seen behind the fa├žade and been worried enough about what we saw to try and do something about it. Unfortunately, owning to the actions of those currently on the Board, it looks like the business plan going forward contains just two words: “Luck” and “chemistry”. Sooner or later, the luck will run out and the chemistry will produce nothing but a very big, very loud implosion.

So it was with a little interest that I read the first edition of the all-new “Fans View”. I have to say that I have no argument with Dennis Payter, author of the article – I sat on the BRSC SS Committee with him, he`s a good, genuine Gashead and a “proper” journalist but what was he thinking when he wrote that article?

With it`s Share Scheme, Board representation, program articles, website, newsletter and now “Fans View” column, BRSC is in a privileged position to campaign on behalf of it`s members. I was intrigued to see what they would choose – maybe the hike in matchday prices; the subject of people (illegally) smoking in the Mem toilets; “fans” who think hooliganism is big and clever; the issue of the new stadium -the list is endless.

What did BRSC choose to run up the flagpole? A bit of swearing on the terraces and one song about Steve Elliott in particular and the fact that a couple of pensioners on the terrace don`t like it too much.

I won`t repeat the words here for fear of offending said Doris and Mabel but it contains a word which may have been offensive quarter of a century ago but is now used from the school playground to film and T.V. Apparently, it`s the Board`s fault for not stamping down on the foul-mouthed youths who repeat the chant.

The Board must be quaking in their collective boots. Being berated by BRSC in such a way make the Board feel as though they are being savaged by a dead sheep.

Rick and I intended the “Fans View” to be just that – the view of the fans. We were going to use the column to raise issues and concerns and give the Board the opportunity to interact with the fans as opposed to simply handing down edicts from Box 1.

However, if the first edition makes a marker in the sand for the future of the “Fans View” column, then I fear that it has turned into just another place for putting the party line. Sycophantic drum-beating is not what an independent column in an independent publication is all about. It may even lead some people to question the independence of the column and newspaper from BRFC but rest assured, the editor has insisted that no pressure was brought on it by BRFC, so it has to be true.

What will “Fans View” next take the Board to task on next – tall people entering the ground and blocking people`s view? People with bad breath or BO being allowed entry? Time will only tell.


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