Out in force again - how do supporters afford it?

Screamer: Simon Gillett celebrates his equaliser at Fratton Park and we thought at half-time that we might get something out of the game, but it wasn't to be.   Picture: Steve uttley
Screamer: Simon Gillett celebrates his equaliser at Fratton Park and we thought at half-time that we might get something out of the game, but it wasn't to be. Picture: Steve uttley

IT was another long trip to Portsmouth for the players and fans alike last Saturday and and it’s a long journey back coming home empty-handed from a place like Fratton Park.

Rovers got off to the worst possible start, when a mix-up between Sully (keeper Neil Sullivan) and centre-back George Friend handed Luke Varney a simple tap-in.

But the longer the half went on, the better Rovers became.

The Rovers’ fans often laugh amongst themselves that we never score from corners or free-kicks. But on Saturday, a well-worked corner by John Oster saw the ball come out to Simon Gillett on the edge of the box to hit a screamer into the back of the net.

We certainly thought that we might get something out of the game at half-time, but it was to prove a false dawn as the players left their confidence, and their footballing brains, in the changing rooms and we conceded two second-half goals.

Personally speaking, I thought Dave Kitson, who made it 2-1, was in an offside position when the ball was played as he was behind Sullivan and virtually on the goal line. But we never seem to get the rub-of-the-green decisions.

There was still plenty of time for Rovers to get back into the game, but we rarely threatened the Pompey keeper after the goal.

It was Family Fun day down at Fratton park and I somehow got talked into playing sumo football, and having to dress up as Santa.

It was 2-0 with two minutes to go but I let three quick goals in during that time and also picked up a and picked up a booking. No excuses, but the suit was becoming very hot.

Despite it being Rovers second game of the week - we visited Blackpool in midweek - the supporters were out in force again.

But it makes you wonder how some people are able to afford modern day football. With coach fares, tickets, food etc you are not looking at much change out of £70 each trip per person.

The prices have just been announced for our next two away games and it doesn’t get any easier for hard-pressed fans.

Ipswich are charging £31 for an adult ticket and Barnsley are charging £30.

Clubs, hit by players’ wage demands, are in danger of pricing Joe Public out of attending games - or at least as many.

I managed to get a ticket for last season Carling Cup final at Wembley but it cost me £86. And when you see that Manchester City fined Carlos Tevez a month’s wages, reportedly £1.25 million, there is something seriously wrong with the game.

The (top) players are wrapped up in cotton wool and oblivious to what the man in the street has to sacrifice to follow their beloved team.

Gripe over.

Tomorrow sees Coventry visit the Keepmoat Stadium. I have a sneaky feeling that we could get all three points out of this fixture as they lost to a last-minute winner against Burnley on Saturday and are not having the best of seasons so far.

Goals in this fixture are normally at a premium, but I’m predicting Rovers to win 2-1.

That game is closely followed by the visit of Middlesbrough on Tuesday night. We won the corresponding fixture last season with a late winner by Brian Stock. Let’s hope for a repeat result, though it won’t be easy as they are having a decent season.

Boro should bring down a good following to make a bit of atmosphere.

Rovers had a big spread in the Daily Mail last week last Friday, with reaction from Rovers’ deputy chairman Dick Watson in Saturday’s Star, discussing the new “transfer policy” at the club.

If it gets the wage bill down, and puts us on a sound financial footing and keeps us in the Championship, all well and good. But what happens if we don’t make it?

Although I think we will, the jury is still out as far as I’m concerned.

The fans won’t have time to appreciate, or form a bond with, the players before they move on.

Finally, don’t forget to book up early for the away coaches for the Bonfire Night spectacular at Ipswich Town.

Enjoy the two games and let’s get behind the lads and help them get out of the bottom three.