Kevin Spencer: "Don't protest against my Bristol Rovers stadium ban"
FORMER director Kevin Spencer has urged Bristol Rovers supporters not to protest against the Memorial Stadium ban he was served with on Saturday.
Spencer, who resigned his position following a bitter boardroom split six years ago, was handed the lifetime ban from attending the venue and asked to leave during the half-time interval as Rovers secured their first home victory of the season with a 3-1 League Two success over Northampton Town.
Details of the action taken by the club's board started to emerge via a number of supporters' forums on Saturday night, after which some fans floated the idea of boycotting or protesting in support of Spencer at future games at the Memorial Stadium.
The club broke their silence on the matter by issuing a brief statement on their official website on Sunday evening to confirm the action had been taken due to Spencer's "persistent and unfounded criticism of the club and its board".
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Spencer, meanwhile, issued a statement in response via his legal representatives yesterday, part of which read: "Further to the banning order handed to me on Saturday by Dave Harper, the safety officer at Bristol Rovers Football Club, following an unanimous vote by the board on October 1, 2012, I would like to respond collectively to what I have since read on forums and social media and discussed with the many fellow supporters that have made personal contact with me.
"It has been suggested that protests and boycotts should take place. Although flattered by the level of support I have received, I cannot support any such action taking place in my name.
"My 42 years as a supporter of Bristol Rovers at Eastville, Twerton Park, the Memorial Stadium and (I had hoped) at the new UWE Stadium are over. Any gatherings on a matchday should be to support the manager and the team and not a fellow supporter."
The club have declined to make any further comment to their initial statement, although The Post understands that those involved in the decision to ban Spencer believe that it was a "regrettable" but "necessary" move after issuing warnings both verbally and in writing prior to the action taken on Saturday. Spencer has yet to deny or confirm that any such warnings had been received.
Spencer's statement continued: "My criticism of the owners of Bristol Rovers has always been intended to be of a constructive nature as I – like all other Rovers supporters – have only ever wanted a successful club both on and off the pitch.
"The events of 2006 have been well documented and should be left where they are. The club's statement that my criticism has been consistent is a compliment and, hopefully, they will take one or two of my suggestions on board to help make Bristol Rovers a more successful club both now and in the future."
Supporters' club representatives on the board, Brian Seymour-Smith and Ken Masters, meanwhile, were unable to make any further comment on the matter when contacted by The Post last night.
"The board has issued a statement on the matter," said Seymour-Smith. "It would be inappropriate for me to make any further comment."
Spencer left the board along with fellow directors Colin Williams and Kim Stuckey after an investment plan proposed by former managing director Mike Turl, who also resigned, was vetoed in 2006. The four ex-directors later formed a campaign group called Rovers Agenda For Change to seek changes in the way the club was run.
What Rovers fans have been saying on ThisisBristol:
THE vote that took place to ban Kevin Spencer was anonymous and unanimous. Not all directors were present, but (I believe) Brian Seymour Smith most definitely was present and so, obviously, voted to ban Kevin. So, asking for Brian's opinion on a fan being banned is probably a bit pointless as he gave us fans his answer already in the banning of Kevin Spencer.
WILL the fans directors be taking issue with this on behalf of a fellow supporter? No, thought not! Our club is run by a bunch of no-hopers, they are devoid of ideas on how to improve things, but unwilling to listen to anyone else. Even if the stadium does materialise, the future looks very bleak with this lot at the helm. Still, I expect they are very pleased with themselves that they managed to get Mr Spencer’s entrance money before getting one of their minions to hand him the letter.
WELL done The Post in bringing this mess to the fore. The decision is reminiscent of Putin's Russia and as daft as Dallas! Keep up the pressure by writing to the club to make it clear that support for Kevin Spencer is alive and kicking – and think about stopping your monthly contributions to the infamous share scheme.
Angry Ancient Pirate
THIS board has made a number of stupid decisions, but this must surely be top of their 'dope' list. Little wonder that we are at the foot of League Two with these people in charge. I don't mind being banned for this as I will now stay away from The Mem until such time as Kevin Spencer returns.
SO, if any fans sing out against the board at home games, will they be ejected?