Gas Girls Diaries: 2020/21 season preview

As we shuffle gingerly back into the outside world and towards another season, I caught up with club co-founder Matt “Mavis” Davies to pick his magnificent Merthyr mind on what developments we can expect to see from the Gas Girls in their second season.

Hi Matt. First of the bat for those of us who haven’t been following closely, have there been any signings for the new season? Have we lost any players?

We’re delighted that the vast majority of our squad are staying with us next season. Jasmine Bull decided to move to Cheltenham Town who currently play three leagues above us. Farran Stewart is due to have surgery on her ACL and Ruby Warden is spending the year back home in Brighton. All have been of huge value and we wish them all the best.

We are due to host our ‘Open Sessions’ which nearly 60 girls have registered to attend, which is incredible. Spaces are limited but we’re really excited to add some depth to what is already a strong squad. We’re excited about two young players who have been training with us and we’re looking forward to seeing them in blue and white next season.

I know that the Community Trust is looking to set up some off-field initiatives around the Women’s side. Can you tell me anything about those?

The club is all about community, education, participation and performance. With the links that we’ve established through the Community Trust, we’re starting to expand on each quarter of our values. Whether it’s free football for young girls, educating 16-18 year old girls through our college programme, establishing links with community groups and organisations, we’re trying to make sure that we’re making an impact through the power of football.

Is there anything in the pipeline for improving the match-day experience for spectators at Lockleaze Sports Centre? Might the WFC be integrated into the set up at The Colony?

Like anything, building projects can take a while to process but the signs are very positive regarding an extension to Lockleaze Sports Centre which will house the Community Trust and The Club. It will make an enormous difference for us and we’ll some amazing facilities for our girls in the future. We haven’t had any formal discussions regarding the use of The Colony and now isn’t necessarily the time to look into that just yet. Bristol Rovers have always been fully supportive of the women’s team and we have a fantastic relationship with the hierarchy.

Obviously the whole club was devastated to lose out on promotion after the league was abandoned due to the pandemic. Obviously repeating that performance is the ambition for 20/21 but what else are we targeting?

I think that winning the League is the priority. The league abandonment gives us another year to develop as a squad and test ourselves against higher opposition in the Cups. Challenges that are welcome and will help us to prepare for the future. We’re still keen on developing young talent and this can be achieved through our Development Team and our education programme.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the fans?

We are planning to launch two youth squads for the 2021/22 season which will extend the player pathway and lay more foundations for us going forward.

Off the pitch we will continue to establish our links within the community and the fan base. We already have a great relationship with the Bristol Women’s Casual League and we’re on the verge of announcing another exciting partnership with a well known organisation in the City. We want to be the “Cool” club to support in Bristol and offer more than just the football that’s on show. It’s about building for the future. It’s about building a community.