On Saturday, we piloted a new project to grow our fan base. We wanted to see if it was possible to take people with little or no experience of the club, and fast-track them into becoming fans.

Although we are always keen to encourage lapsed fans to return to Stark’s Park, we’re also looking to encourage new fans along – people who have never been involved with the club, but may be open to it. They may have just moved to the area recently, or lived here all their life but never had a good enough reason to head down to Pratt Street.

We put out the call for anyone that lived locally that had thought about coming to a game in the past (but had never got round to it) to come along to our Welcome Session. The aim of the session was simple – over the course of a Saturday afternoon, bring them up to speed with our past, explain how the club now works and make them immediately feel part of the Rovers family.

21 people attended. The group were first introduced to the manager, chairman and some players. Then there was a tour of the stadium, and talks on the club’s history and current setup. They got to watch the match against Queen’s Park, with people on hand to answer questions. At the end of the game, the group were given the task of choosing Man of the Match – with Scott Robertson being awarded the honour. For one of our guests, the afternoon proved even more enjoyable when she won the 50/50 draw (we warned Charlotte not to expect this to happen at every game).

Feedback has been excellent, with most comments praising how friendly and welcoming everyone in the club was to them. The only major negatives were about the cold weather. Several of those attending have already been back in touch asking about season tickets. We are grateful to those that came along, and hope to see many of them back on Saturday.

One thing we hadn’t anticipated was the interest the Welcome Session concept would get from outwith the club – it featured in the Mail on Sunday, and BBC Radio Scotland’s Off the Ball.

The challenge we now face is turning this into something we can deliver regularly, which would provide a new way to steadily increase the fan base over time.

To gauge longer-term demand, we are looking to build a list of people that may be interested in attending a session in future. If you know someone who might be interested, please contact our commercial department.

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