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[Archived] Special Podcast - Fans Forum Trip To Pune

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just finished listening to the podcast. another great one. I thought John “Only2Garners” Wareing and Ste B were very good and very honest in answering Kamy questions. Also like that JW and Ste B were very realistic in what they expect from the trip to Pune. I think the some rovers fans going over is a good step for the owners and the club going forward.

I would agree that the owners did not realise how passionate rovers fans are about the club. I think they now realise this.

I'm pleased that the owners want to meet fans and start communicating better with the fans and build a relationship between them and us.

I also pleased that the owners suggest that some rovers fans go to India for the trip. It is very logically that these came from the Fans Forum for this trip, because these people are known to the club. We don't want some idiots going out there and wrecking this chance for the fans to build a relationship with the owners.

The one thing I think the owners could learn is be honest to the fans if they were problems behind the scenes with the bank or with Kentaro or other things just be honest with us. Like if they is a problem with the bank just make a statement on the rovers website or with Andy Cryer in LT saying we had a problem with the bank and we will sort the problem out as quickly as poosible and get back on track to make signings as soon as possible.

I also realise that they are new to football and owning a business outside India is complete new to them and will take time to learn how to run the football club in the correct manner. I think to the credit the last couple of months they are slowly learning how to run a football club now and how to communication to the fans now.

They now need to realise that kean is not the right manager for rovers. They try him and back him with the transfer pot in the summer but things just have not work out as they hope it would. Just admit to this and allow Paul Hunt, Simon Hunt and Venny Rao to conduct a new managerial search for his replacement and to give the owners a shortlist with 5 names on it after seeing who would be interest in the job and give them a recommendation who we should appoint and the owners to see whether they agree with the recommendation of PH, SH and VR. If they do then go and have talks with him and agree talk contract terms and then Appoint the new manager. (I really hope they do this very soon)

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Glad to hear you don't want to say anything controversial, or you may be on an earlier flight home, reassuring!

To be fair. It the "slow boat" comment was a little tongue-in-cheek (the club haven't mandated what we can say, or even how) only that we're fully aware the way to get a point across with our intended audience isn't to go in shouting and screaming. All that's likely to achieve is to see them spending the duration staying the hell away from us, effectively ending any dialogue.

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A number of people have raised questions, on this and other threads, about the origins of the Fans Forum at Rovers. This short summary isn't intended to be comprehensive, but should answer a number of the points that have been raised.

The Forum was very much the brainchild of John Williams. He invited a number of people to be members of the Forum back in early 1999 (I think)- these included representatives of the Supporters Association (BRSA) and the Disabled Supporters Association (BRDSA). As for the other members of the original Forum, the common denominator seemed to be that they had written in to JW (then the Chief Executive) to raise specific points, proposals or concerns about the football club, and usually had been invited in for a meeting with John to discuss things face to face - this was JW's normal approach to anyone who seemed genuinely to have the club's interests at heart.

I believe the intention of the Forum was to establish a dialogue with a range of supporters with different views (note, not necessarily a representative cross-section of supporters). Membership of the Forum was never fixed and people left if they wished (or failed to attend a run of meetings), and were co-opted on, typically at the invitation of JW. For example, the early Forums felt it important to have an Asian fan at the meetings, and this was done: similarly the newly-established Lancaster branch of the Supporters Association was represented in those early days, and brought a different perspective on the club.

To quote from a letter I have seen, sent by John Williams to the then Chairman of the Forum (Phil Lloyd) in late 1999: "I am very happy that the Forum acts as a sounding board for the Club's ideas, this was, after all, one of the main reasons for setting it up." Later in the letter he says: "I will from time to time submit new names for inclusion on the Forum...this will ensure a freshness of views and exchanges, although clearly we don't want the numbers such that the Forum becomes unmanageable."

Representation from BRFC has always varied, according to availability and also in relation to the issues being discussed (as has been stated elsewhere, playing issues have always been off the agenda of the Forum), such as safety matters, marketing, pricing, catering, ticketing, stadium "atmosphere", new playing strips, media, etc. John Williams himself attended several of the early meetings, as did Ken Beamish and ALan McColgan and later Nick Hall (then the Club's Marketing Manager) - when Tom Finn joined the club, he too was sometimes present as the senior club official.

From the fans' side, I don't have a definitive list of those who were involved right in the Forum's very early days (so apologies for any errors or omissions here), but I am fairly sure that they included Jimmy Leaf, Duncan Gardiner, Guy Wignall, Pauline Perkins and Tony Shaw (BRSA/BRDSA), Jim Catlow and Vicky Watkin (Lancaster branch), Phil Lloyd (who at that time wrote the "Down by the Riverside" column in the Lancashire Telegraph), Neil Duckworth, Bill Toland, Ian Ferris, Paul McKenna, Susan Samme, David Slater and Martin Haworth.

Clearly the Forum and its remit have developed and grown over the past 12 years, but it has become an established channel of communication between the club and its supporters and it is interesting that, despite it being something that JW conceived, brought into being and personally supported along the way, the new owners chose to include some of its current membership in the visit to Pune, which will hopefully being them a little closer to the fans and their feelings and opinions.

I hope this is all of some help by way of the background to the Fans Forum.

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