Steve Waggott is optimistic about Rovers’ Championship credentials this season believing the stability at the club could prove key.

While the chief executive admits further signings are needed to strengthen squad before the October 16 transfer deadline, he believes the progress of the club’s young players is one reason to be exciting about the upcoming campaign. Rovers start their third consecutive Championship season at Bournemouth this afternoon, a fourth full season for boss Tony Mowbray since taking charge in February 2017.

And Waggott believes a settled look to the squad, and behind the scenes, sets Rovers apart from most teams.

“I think we will bear the fruit of stability,” Waggott said. “Tony has been here for over three seasons and I think the stability will hold us in good stead if you look at the churn of other clubs.

“Our young players are starting to progress, get better, and I think with a couple of good additions I think we’ll be in a good place to have a challenge this year.

“I’m full of optimism and think we’ve got a good chance of having a successful season.”


Fewer than seven weeks have passed between the end of one season and the start of the next, with chief executive Steve Waggott gearing up for another 'relentless' period.

Rovers start their 46 game Championship season at Bournemouth today, having already kicked off their 2020/21 campaign with a Carabao Cup tie last month. There has been little relief or chance to take stock of an unprecedented situation, and Waggott feels the one major obstacle left to climb will the return of fans in to stadiums.

The new season will start behind closed doors, with Waggott admitting the losses of supporters diminished the game as a product to 'unbelievable' and 'unimaginable' depths.

The club's chief executive hopes normality in terms of the schedule will return next season, and six months on from last season being suspended, he admits it's been a hard slog to get to this position.

“It’s been unique, in all my working life, inside and outside football, I don’t think I’ve had such an intense period, it’s been relentless with the amount of change, from returning to training in small groups, to contact training, playing behind closed doors, and now we’re at the last major step to get supporters back in to stadiums," he said.

“On top of that we’ve tried to arrange commercial agreements in a difficult economic climate, player transactions, looking to restructure the squad, so there’s been a lot going on right across the board.

“One season has blurred in to another and I keep using the word intense and this season is going to be so concentrated in terms of kicking off the league campaign on September 12 and complete it by early May.

“Within that we’ve got 13 midweek games, three rounds of the Carabao Cup in September, it’s like relentless.

“We needed to play the games last season for so many reasons, but this season is hopefully going to be twilight zone, get through it, and subject to a lot of things, we can balance off so that by 2021/22 we’re back to some sort of normal programme, because this is abnormal. It’s completely out of sync.”

Rovers' quest will be to push on from last season's 11th-placed finish and mount a top six challenge in their third year back in the Championship.

While the season is ready to start, they do so with just one summer signing through the door, and plenty of hard work remains on that front before the window closes on October 16.

But optimistic about the club's chances, given the stability on the playing, and management staff, Waggott added: “If you look at a club and there’s a revolving door, I’ve always said you’re normally heading one way and that’s south.

“Hopefully the fans can recognise that we’re going forwards, and when they’re allowed to come back they will get behind Tony and the team and let’s see, I’m full of optimism, I think we’ve got a good chance of having a successful season.

“We have some exciting players coming through.”

The annual close season trip to meet the owners in India was shelved this summer because of the pandemic, but Waggott insists the communication lines have been strong, and fundamental in how we’ve coped'.

“The last commercial revenue we had from a football match was on February 29, it feels like a lifetime ago because so much water has passed under the bridge,” he explained.

“Six months without single penny of commercial revenue when you’ve still got all your costs.

“The behind closed doors matches, the hard losses as I call them, escalated because we had to have staff come in and cover the games without revenue.

“It’s been tough, and the owners quite rightly wanted explanations on why I wanted certain costs covered, but they have been great all the way through, understanding in a pressurised situation.

“As a chief executive I couldn’t want for more."