First few steps, but confident ones
It’s early days for the #InRoversWeTrust supporter engagement programme but, with fans’ help and guidance, the first few confident steps are being taken.
Saturday’s introduction of new bus services for fans was one of the first improvements delivered by the programme, in which the VSC, the Club and the wider community work together to make fans feel more valued and, ultimately, to grow support for Rovers.
There have also been other improvements: some small, but according to fans, meaningful. They include the replacement of plastic pint glasses with glass ones in the recently renamed Belle Vue Bar, where fans have also provided memorabilia to create a focal point for supporters, old and new.
Last season Rovers fans helped decide on the new away kit, while fan feedback has helped shape the ticketing and pricing policy for the new season. Categorised games have now been replaced by a simpler system, with standard advanced prices and small match day increases. The club is trialling a cash gate at the Chesterfield game in response to fans’ calls to be able to turn up and pay at the turnstiles.
There have also been changes to way the match day programme is produced, whereby friends from the VSC help proof the final version and there have been improvements to the quality of the refreshments in the concourse, with a new range of pies introduced at the start of this season. Many more changes are planned in this important area, and we’ll keep you posted on progress.
A key component of the programme is the new Fan Panel. The aim of this group, which comprises of a variety of Rovers’ supporters, Club representatives and the VSC, is to review the feedback provided by the wider Rovers fan base and work with the Club to bring about the necessary improvements. So each time Rovers fans see another improvement, they can be assured that’s it been introduced with the direct involvement of their fellow supporters.
The group met for the second time on Saturday, a few hours before the Stevenage game, and among the topics of discussion were promotion of the Club in the community, the official DRFC website and match day atmosphere at the Keepmoat. A number of ideas were discussed with some changes scheduled for immediate action and many more itemised for further discussion and fan research.
Rovers CEO Gavin Baldwin commented: ‘It’s early days, but we’re already seeing the first fruits of our partnership with supporters. I can well understand that some fans are waiting to see how things develop but at the same time I would encourage the Rovers community to come down and not only support Dean’s lads, but also look around and tell us what else we can do to give you the experience you deserve.’
To this end, Rovers are launching a new regular survey to continue the dialogue, to collect more fan feedback and to measure progress.
‘This programme’s success depends on the voice of supporters’ added Gavin. ‘So please look out for the survey and give us your honest feedback. I promise we’ll act on it.’
If you’d like to add your voice to our Fan Panel meetings, we’re keen to hear from you. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org