As promised last week, Jim Chappell makes a brief return to give us an extra helping before our second trip to Bristol in a fortnight.
How do you feel about that trip? Jim has other priorities, as do we, but I somehow think we’ll be showing a little more enthusiasm than Jim can muster, which isn’t surprising given our respective positions.
Your impressions of Sunderland in the two league games
I described Sunderland in my programme column as being very efficient and well-drilled – more so than being a particularly brilliant or exciting team.
That is not meant to be in any way derogatory, I just could not see us breaking them down and they did what they had to do to win the match without really much fuss. We simply did not have the fire-power on Saturday and were better at the Stadium of Light where at least we caused some problems, scored a goal and hit the bar. Only two defeats all season really says it all – very efficient!
Your assessment of the progress Rovers are making towards getting out of trouble
Rovers ‘progress’ under Coughlan is 50/50 – excellent away from home where Rovers are unbeaten since his opening day at Sunderland and poor at the ‘Mem’ where we have yet to win in the League since he took over. Only three home wins and nine defeats now – inexplicable!
Did any SAFC player catch the eye and, similarly, who in the Rovers side gave you encouragement?
McGeady was my pick with his brilliant free-kick the ‘highlight’ but we didn’t do enough to test Sunderland and it was difficult to judge, especially as I only saw the second half!
How important to you is it now to get revenge next week and set up another Wembley outing?
Frankly I am struggling to get myself ‘up’ for the Chekatrade semi-final because I am desperate for League points. To get to Wembley and be relegated a few weeks later would be horrible. Rovers will have to improve greatly to win through, unless of course you are as hungry for points as we should be!
And what will be the score?
A similar scoreline seems likely unless we are boosted by a win over Blackpool on Saturday but you only have to look at the stats. Where are our goals coming from at home?
Finally, if you got a chance to read Pete’s article, whose side are you on – his or the Brightside Ground jobsworth?
The County Ground is always left open because of the gym and squash clubs I presume. No harm in just standing on the grass. I once walked my family into Murrayfield when on holiday north of the border. We went all along the pitch and out the other end and didn’t see a soul!
All the best for the rest of the season – your fans were a credit to the club.
Jim on Jim: I’m Jim Chappell. started watching Rovers from the last match of the 1958/9 season when we achieved our highest-ever League finish – 6th in then Division 2, now the Championship.
With a fully fit Geoff Bradford we could have made the top flight but it’s been mostly downhill all the way since! I was a ball-boy for four seasons at dear old Eastville, a proper big ground then, before I got involved in volunteering for the ‘Pirates’ – a teenage supporters’ group who later seconded me onto the main Supporters’ Club Committee on which I have served for about 50 years now.
I was vice chairman before becoming chairman in 1990 and nobody else has wanted the job since!
That means I am working every matchday including presenting the 50/50 Draw winners on the pitch at half time. I last missed a home game in 1972 but got control of my shipping company’s duty rota thereafter to preserve my attendance record! I therefore love travelling away with the team since retiring eleven years ago because I miss the first half of every home game working on the draw. So look out for me!
Interview: Colin Randall