A note from the Chairman

Ken Anderson addresses the club's supporters as taken from his notes in Tuesday's Bristol Rovers programme

Firstly, I would also like to extend a warm welcome to the family of Gary Speed who will be attending our game against Bristol Rovers tomorrow night as our special guests.

They are raising awareness of the Gary Speed Trust which was established following his passing in November 2011 and continues the promotion of Gary’s work in regards to supporting numerous sports teams, schools and hospitals. 

Focusing back on matters on the field, I had a strange feeling about the Sheffield United game all last week, particularly when they asked us to return half of our allocated tickets. 

We made our disappointment known to them in no uncertain way, but they had no intention of changing their minds. 

As you can imagine, I was even angrier when I saw the area that we should have had behind the goal half empty on Saturday. It is fairly obvious now that they didn't want too many of our supporters there cheering us on.

As the week went on, it was becoming more likely that we were going to be without several key players, either through suspension, injury or illness and then, at the very last minute, we were deprived of Gary Madine by illness as well which meant a late change to our game plan.

Obviously, it wasn't one of our better performances and whilst I don't like making excuses, I think that up until the penalty – which was a quite clearly a dive – we were still in the game.

Likewise, I am not sure how John Fleck did not receive his marching orders when he poleaxed Tom Thorpe which effectively ended his game a short time after.

In regards their first goal, it ultimately came from us giving the ball away and a consequent rare slip by Mark Beevers and whilst I think it was a well taken chance by Billy Sharp, how many times have we seen balls bounce out when they hit the post?

Although we lost out to Sheffield United, despite fielding an under strength team due to illness, suspensions and injuries, it’s worth reminding ourselves that we had beaten them twice already this season, so in terms of the league points gained against one another honours are even. 

As to who will be promoted, we shall wait until the end of the season, but I seem to recall that several seasons ago they were in a similar situation at the top of the league with a seemingly comfortable gap but ultimately lost out to bitter rivals Sheffield Wednesday. 

As I keep saying, there will be lots of twists and turns before the end of the season.

That said, we have to put the defeat behind us and move on to this week when we have two games at home where if we manage to take maximum points, it will put us right back amongst those pushing for the automatic promotion spots. 

Hopefully, we will have a fully fit squad available for both of these matches and can look to make our mark in front of our home crowd once again.

With that in mind, there is now a special Final Five ticket offer available to buy which will start from our game against AFC Wimbledon onwards and I encourage all of you to get involved as we look to turn our home into a cauldron of vociferous noise during the final months of the season.

It would also be fantastic to see a wall of white across the terraces at Macron Stadium, with both home and away shirts currently available for just £19.99 in Bolton Central.

I am also pleased to confirm that we are now holding regular meetings with the Supporters’ Trust and I look forward to meeting with them again this week.

Hopefully, we will find a way where they can help fund the club’s academy which will be a great benefit to everyone who is involved up at Lostock.

Elsewhere across the club, the hotel are set to hold a number of notable events such as an 80s Party Night and various offers on dinners for Easter and Mother’s Day, details of which can be found on the club's social channels.

Finally, it has been great to see a number of our players out and about across the local community in recent weeks supporting our Community Trust’s various projects.

We are proud of our family-orientated mentality at this football club and the importance of strengthening our relationships with the town as a whole cannot be underestimated. 

As usual, let’s be loud, let’s be proud and let’s get behind the team.

Kind regards

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