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A Letter from Neill to the Fans

By Neill Collins , 11/06/20, 10:15AM EST


Dear Rowdies Fans,

I had expected to sign off the 2020 season celebrating with you all at Al Lang Stadium, drinking Irn-Bru from the Championship trophy and singing long into the night. Unfortunately, due to circumstances out with our control, that was not possible, and a fantastic season was brought to an abrupt and premature end. It has been a very strange and emotional few days for everyone involved with the Tampa Bay Rowdies. We are all disappointed that we didn’t get the opportunity to showcase our great club on the national stage and add another star to our historic crest. If there was ever a set of supporters and group of players that deserved that chance, it was us.

Despite the disappointment of the past few days, I can’t help but be filled with a sense of pride at what our club has accomplished in a year where it would have been easy to succumb to all the challenges we faced. During the lockdown back in March and April, we said that this year would be defined by those of us that could rise above, and I am pleased to sit here and write that we have achieved that. Our staff behind the scenes always finds a way to work together and get the job done, no matter the circumstances. Our fans, whether in the stands or in their homes, have always made their presence and unwavering support felt, but the group that deserves the most credit for the club’s success this year are the players.

Two years ago, I penned an open letter to you and promised I would do everything in my power to put a team on the field worthy of our fantastic club. I can confidently say that this set of players are befitting of the jersey. Without their professionalism and discipline off the field, this season would not have been possible. This group of guys have made unbelievable personal sacrifices in order to give themselves the best chance to succeed on the field. They do not just represent our club for the 90 minutes they are on the field, but 24/7, and they have taken that responsibility very seriously.

I am sure, like me, you have taken great pleasure in watching this group play together. Together being the most relevant word. They have shown a fantastic commitment and desire to each other every time they have worn the Rowdies jersey. Many teams talk about having a great togetherness, but this team has continually shown it. This was especially true when the team went on the road to Louisville and brought home the Eastern Conference Championship in style.

While we come to the end of this season, as far as I am concerned, it is only the start of more success in the years to come. If anything, the disappointment of the past weekend has made us even more determined to make sure we find ourselves challenging for trophies every year.

Thanks again for playing your part in a successful season, and I look forward to a day in the near future when our stadium is full, and we can enjoy watching our great team in action together once again.