The incredible story of how Rovers fans have come together to support the Ladies team...
When Lindsey Lewis set up a JustGiving fundraiser page, she asked for 25 fans to donate £10 each to sponsor one Rovers Ladies player.
Just 10 days later, enough money was raised to sponsor the whole squad. We spoke to the woman who started the campaign.
“The idea came from back in March, we did an International Women’s Day podcast and had the pleasure of meeting Gemma Donnelly,” Lewis said.
“Her parting line was make sure you bring your friends and get behind the Ladies.
“The Sponsorship opportunities came out and it was £250 to sponsor a player. It seemed like something we maybe could do and it just exploded.
“I was confident we’d get one player because of friends and family who knew how much the Ladies meant to me but it has just gone above and beyond anything we could have imagined. It’s been fantastic.”
Within 24 hours £1,000 had been donated. The current total stands at over £4,680, with 329 people pledging money.
Each player will be sponsored by a charity, while Lewis plans to use the extra money to buy individual mascot packages for underprivileged children from local schools.
“Fans have donated from all over the world so it’s gone global and people are really behind it.
“We’ve been able to support financially; we’re looking at getting more bums on seats and at how the sponsorship can benefit the community and local and national charities.
“I just felt the club had been so good to us allowing us access to the Ladies that it was our way of saying thank you.”
Lewis has praised the spirit of the Rovers community, who have come together to support the cause.
“I drove up to Ewood for the Oldham game and met Kevin Gallacher who knew about it and Colin Hendry had retweeted it.
“It just feels like a real Rovers family effort. That word is thrown around but this has been a proper community.
“We’re the best set of fans in the world and when we want to get behind something we will. It’s because of these amazing athletes. It’s not about gender, it’s that they are good at what they do and deserve our support.
“I’m buzzing but we need to be clear there’s 300 people involved and it’s all because of the girls. They’ve been so successful. They win and they’ve been promoted and they deserve our support and our love.”
She has engaged with those who have pledged, to make key decisions, such as the name of the fan group - One Love, One Rovers.
“It’s been crazy. It was just a random idea that’s now got its own hashtag: #SponsorThe Champions. I was finding I didn’t have time to do my actual job because I was responding to all the messages!
“It’s been such a positive of social media with all the negatives that are going on, this has created something really special for our Ladies team and I’m incredibly proud of it.
“It’s nice to feel like we can share in that with them. The girls have been fantastic on social media, they’ve got involved and been really accessible.
“I knew that love was out there but I’d just not realised how it would capture people’s imaginations. I’m really proud that as a fan base we’ve come together to do something lovely.”