At Rovers, most of the focus from our fans is of course on what happens on the pitch and how we can keep improving the playing side. However for me, excluding Graham of course, the three most important men at our club (who don’t always get as much credit as they deserve) are Wael Al-Qadi, Martyn Starnes and Tom Gorringe. These men work wonders off the pitch and without these three I feel we’d be nowhere near where we are.
Nothing can beat a matchday at the Mem. Leaving the house in the freezing cold (or pouring rain, but never it seems, bright sunshine!) and knowing straight away that you haven’t put anywhere near enough layers on to last you through the match. Walking towards the pub to get your weekly football pint (or three). The buzz inside the place gets your blood racing straight away. Whispers about the latest player joining, what is the line up going to look like? Or even where we going to get our kicks now the Chicken Balti pie has gone? (well maybe the last one not quite so much!).
So, what’s June normally like for Rovers fans? A month of continuously scrolling through the Facebook groups and Twitter pages getting excited about which new ‘big name’ signing we are looking to bring in this time. In previous years June has only been as exciting as bringing in Liam Sercombe or the even more exciting arrival of Ed Upson! So this year we were all expecting more of the same from Graham Coughlan, especially considering that it’s his first summer transfer window as a manager. Then, on the morning of June 4th, some good news came out that we’d signed ex-Bolton right-back Mark Little on a free transfer. A player who most fans have viewed as a good, competent signing for our level of football this coming season. A ‘Little’ step in the right direction you might even say, especially considering the number of trophies that he has won at this level with his previous clubs.
One big thing which has always been needed at Rovers is the use of loan players, both in and out the door. In the summer it was all about who we were able to bring in on loan, which turned out to be two notable additions to the squad in both Jack Bonham and Alex Jakubiak. Alongside this was Joe Martin, however the less said about him the better. Yet when it got to the January transfer window, it was all about who we could get out on loan to allow us to bring players in on permanent transfers. The players then sent out on loan were Kyle Bennett, Sam Matthews, Stefan Payne, Bernard Mensah and Rollin Menayase.