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Valentine Balls

4 Comments 23 February 2015

Valentine Balls

Good grief: another mad story has emerged from “behind the scenes” at my old club, Bristol Rovers. The former Chairman, Geoff Dunford, the story goes, was not welcome at the annual Valentine Ball for what were, we understand, ‘political reasons’. I have no idea what these ‘political reasons’ were. My guess is that Geoff’s politics are not adjacent to the Conservative Party and that his favourite left winger was Mike Barrett rather than Michael Foot, but that doesn’t strike me as a particularly good reason to exclude Geoff from a night out.

As I understand it, Mr D has attended the previous 29 Valentine balls (I use the word ‘balls’ advisedly) and indeed paid for the privilege on each occasion. Either the club is now awash with cash and they no longer require Geoff to pay for a table (unlikely) or someone is being a little vindictive.

Geoff can now join the club of those barred from similar balls (sorry, here I go again) because some years ago I attended an Alternative Rovers Valentine ‘Do’ at Mangotsfield United’s Cossham Street facility by friends who suffered the same thing. Geoff may have committed the unpardonable sin of resigning from the board of directors but is that a reason for excluding him from the main (only?) Rovers social event of the year? The answer to that appears to be yes, obviously.

But wait a minute, Rick: haven’t you had the odd fracas with Mr Dunford over the years, the odd disagreement? Well, yes I have actually and I haven’t always agreed with everything that has happened at the club (which is the main reason I no longer attend games; more later about this), but – and whisper this quietly – I still like Geoff and I certainly respect the Dunford family who brought Bristol Rovers back from the dead back in the 1980s. In fact, Geoff’s late and great father Denis, who became a life president of the club (nominated for the post by the then director Kevin Spencer, I’ll have you know, the same Kevin Spencer who has now been banned from the club for life by Mr Higgs on the basis of a unique and refreshing interpretation of what telling the truth means. That’s why I don’t go anymore).

Oh, it must be a one-off. Someone has thrown a hissy fit and this will all be forgotten in due course. But no, there’s history here. Not only was Geoff not wanted at the Valentine’s Ball, he’s seemingly not wanted as a club Vice President either, which is strange since a director who serves for over five years is normally automatically chosen for the role. For example, aren’t Vernon Stokes and Bob Andrews vice presidents, as is Ann Craig, widow of Ron who served the club so well, including as chairman, for many years. Love him or hate him, Geoff Dunford has not exactly been some fly-be-night at Bristol Rovers and compared to the mess the club has been in under the dead hand of Nick Higgs, you might look back to his time at the helm as the good old days.

I am probably being hard on Nick Higgs here. I’m sure he’s not so vindictive, nor bearing of grudges, he might wish to see off any perceived, or more accurately imagined, opposition by simply barring and banning people. No one could be that mean-spirited could they?

Yes, I am sure it’s all an innocent mistake and Mr Higgs will soon move to get the board to ensure Geoff is made a Vice President. It would certainly remove doubts people might be having as to whether there were motives behind Geoff’s exclusion, wouldn’t it?

Your Comments

4 Comments so far

  1. John Malyckyj says:

    As usual Rick….spot on in your analysis.

  2. Jools Pirog says:

    sorry Rick but I see this as karmic in nature. Regardless of the good or bad Geoff has done, he is still petty, small minded and churlish. I think he has intentionally goaded Nick Higgs via Twitter, with his perpetual tweets about his book that will blow the lid off of what went on at Rovers, warts & all (sic)
    Geoff often used threat of litigation and is a bully in many ways.
    I could not think of anyone I would want to have at a party than him. No, you will not go to the ball Geoff.

  3. WG Grace says:

    But Rick, this is only half the story. Also not welcome at the Valentine’s Ball were:
    Prince Charles
    Simon Cowell
    Ant & Dec
    The Pope
    oh and Nick Higgs

    Not one of them were allowed to enter the ball

    ….well if the truth be known, none of them wanted tickets. Neither did Geoff Dunford.

    Suit the action to the word, the word to the action, with this
    special observance, that you o’erstep not the modesty of nature.

  4. Jools Pirog says:

    Geoff Dunford has confirmed, via Teitter, that he was not going to be allowed tickets because it was too polical (sic)
    Those that don’t want to believe it and still trying to rationalise it are beyond be.
    The article is factually correct. I never understand those who still deny the truth even when confirmed by the person in question but I realise there are many at the club who live in denial.
    A dictatorship is never healthy. Those that appease this are not helping to run a club that is apparently trying to be more open with its fanbase.
    Sad times indeed

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