EDITORIAL Friends, Rovers, Yorkshiremen, No time for pleasantries this issue; you’ve paid your pound, it’s cold out, let’s just crack on with it shall we. Following the defeat to Stevenage there was no shortage of discontent online across messageboards and social media; criticism was of course wholly understandable given the result and performance. But what intrigues and troubles me in equal measure is the how for much of our support all context can be thrown aside in order to help swell the anger of the here and now. Someone, anyone must be to blame. Heads must roll. Working on the Rovers commentary team for the defeat at Loftus Road days earlier I saw first hand how within seconds of Charlie Austin’s header hitting the net, the club Twitter feed received a score of tweets tagged #BramallOut or #DickovOut. How well the side had played lost in a split second of desperation to single out a culprit, a target for the hate.
I mention the Stevenage game in particular because inevitably that drew the biggest response on forums and social media (Perhaps the growth of online media has been fuelled by the Cats Protection League in order to protect moggies from postmatch kicks – just a thought). I can empathise with the disappointment; I love the FA Cup, and I desperately want Rovers to progress to the fifth round at least once in my lifetime. But that doesn’t mean I expect or demand it to happen. Given the raft of #DickovOut messages on twitter and facebook that followed the result that night I invited anyone who held that view to set it down in 400-450 words to sit against the counter argument in this very issue. We have thousands of online followers, we tagged the tweets to reach more. Yet for the multitude of folk voicing the opinion that the manager should leave in curt status updates and tweets and message posts, only one took up our offer. We’re grateful to James for doing so,
CONTENTS: ISSUE 68 05. The Bernard Glover Diaries 10. Jack The Miner’s Coalface 13. Easy for Dennis 14. Voice of the Pop Side 18. Band of Brothers 20. Dickov Out vs Dickov In 22. Bramall Out vs Bramall In
24. To Lindum & Back 26. Unlovable Rogues 28. Reg Ipsa: Legal Beagle 30. Windmills Of Your Mind 33. Memorable Memorabilia 34. Blowing My Own Trumpet 36. Seasons In Retrospect
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and you can read his argument on page 20, but it reflects the reactionary nature of so much online comment, particularly twitter, where anyone can bash out a hashtag without context or thought. When we asked for volunteers to expand upon their view of ‘Dickov Out’ for the fanzine, one supporter replied via twitter to suggest that “more people want Bramall out!”. As this supporter is one to regularly air that view, both on twitter and on supporters’ messageboards I duly invited him to take a page of this issue of the fanzine and explain why he felt Bramall should go. He duly declined replying “Give it a couple of months when we know the impact and I will do so rather have more time to consider.” He went on to add that he wished to “right a well rounded piece together once with hear communication from current board”. In summary, he is adamant he wants Bramall Out but is not ready to clarify why at this stage and would like further information from Terry Bramall before expanding upon his point that he should leave. In the end we had two alternate volunteers to pen a piece explaining why they felt Bramall should go. One was sadly too incomprehensible to edit, let alone print, but the other, courtesy of Paul Stenson, can be seen on page 22, again on an adjacent page to the counter argument. This little experiment come invitation, and the observations on the responses that permeate social media that preceded it, serve to reiterate a point I highlighted further up this editorial. That there exists increasingly among supporters a lack of patience and a sense of entitlement that just doesn’t
fit with the reality of the rewards on offer. Of the twenty-four teams in this division only one can win it, only two others can be promoted. The chances of a club of Rovers means affecting to be any of those sides are so slim even Peter Crouch couldn’t hide behind them. And yet expectation even for a side like ours remains remarkably high. Irvine Welsh recently reflected very saliently, and much better than I can, on this notion, led by the sports media, of the fans always deserving of better. “I hate the way sports media infantilize football fans with all this “the fans deserve...” bollocks. Most sane supporters know they are following their teams, for better or worse, not fighting in a war zone to free starving children. If sports writers were sincere in looking at what fans deserve, they would be advocating different forms of club ownership and financing. But it’s easier to encourage a pathetic mentality of victimhood and martyrdom amongst supporters.” This is where the real anger should be directed. Not against managers because his injury-ravaged team were beaten at the death by a club paying their reserve goalkeeper £95,000 a week. And not against a director who chooses to look at long term parity over a quick buck. But at those who use football to squeeze out every last penny at the expense of us the fans. Time to dig in, and for the next four months at the very least, accept our lot as it currently is – flawed yet interesting, disadvantaged yet passionate, dig in and get back to being Rovers supporters again. Viva Rovers!
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THE BERNARD GLOVER DIARIES THE LAST 3 MONTHS REVISITED; IN CASE YOU’D NUMBED THE PAIN WEDNESDAY 27TH NOVEMBER Continuing a fine tradition this season of announcing significant news the day after we send the fanzine off to the printers, a statement is released by Rovers on the Sequentia Capital investment stating that the club had chosen not to pursue the deal. In a statement on the club website Gavin Baldwin said; “Negotiations regarding the ownership of Doncaster Rovers FC have been ongoing for a number of months, however the current owners feel it is in the best interests of all stakeholders if the club remains in their control. The decision was based on what they believe is best for the club and they are looking forward to working with all involved in Doncaster Rovers to ensure that the club continues to progress and that the business continues to thrive.”
SATURDAY 30TH NOVEMBER ROVERS 2-1 Q.P.R. Gutsy win? Check. Solid team performance? Check. Coming back to win after going behind? Check. Beating the league leaders? Check. Getting one over on an overpaid bunch of cash-chasing prima donnas managed by Harry Redknapp? Check, check check and check. Just what was needed after the doom and gloom that had started to seep in following the midweek horror show at Charlton and the off-field rumours and counter rumours of recent weeks. Trailing at the break after an uncharacteristic
error from Ross Turnbull, Rovers stubbed out the cigarettes, rolled up their sleeves and went to work in the second half, equalising through Theo Robinson before a Paul Quinn header close to full time secured a deserved three points for Paul Dickov’s men. And we sold out of fanzines too. In short; a bloody good win.
TUESDAY 3RD DECEMBER BIRMINGHAM CITY 1-1 ROVERS Like a toddler that’s just learned a new skill, now that Rovers have worked out how to come from behind to salvage something they just keep on doing it. Things don’t look promising at St Andrews after Lee Novak had put the home side in front and then Richie Wellens was forced off at half-time with a hamstring strain. However, Martin Woods stepped into the side like he had never been away (or injured, or lacking in form), to help steer Rovers back into the game. The equaliser eventually coming in spectacular fashion as David Cotterill struck what can only really be described as a ‘thundertwack’ of a shot from thirty yards to beat Darren Randolph all ends up. It’s ok this football game sometimes you know.
SATURDAY 7TH DECEMBER BOLTON WANDERERS 3-0 ROVERS After this game I found myself stuck at Manchester Piccadilly station, sat on a non-moving train for an hour and a half, waiting for Virgin Trains to find a
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driver. The worst aspect of this was that unfortunately it represented only the second most excruciating ninety minutes I’d experienced that day. Rovers just never got going at the Reebok Stadium. A Bolton defender hit his own post with a header from a corner at 0-0, but Rovers failed to create anything else of note and Bolton with strength and style far in advance of their league position swept to an ultimately comfortable 3-0 win. Bright spots for Rovers were few and far between though the return of Chris Brown from injury probably qualified as one.
SATURDAY 14TH DECEMBER ROVERS 0-3 LEEDS UNITED Joy abounded on the streets of Doncaster this evening as supporters of the town’s most well-supported club celebrated putting Doncaster’s second favourite team to the sword. It’s the crowing of the folk you know that annoys most whenever Rovers lose to Leeds; people who abandoned their home town team in the tough times mocking you for empty seats which are largely down to their own desertion. Anyway, the visitors led at the break from a goal from Matt Smith, the big lad getting his sonic screwdriver on the end of Alex Mowatt’s free-kick. In the second-half Rovers were much improved and looked to have equalised through Theo Robinson only for the goal to be disallowed by an offside call so late the linesman had to excuse himself from his Sunday lunch to raise his flag. And from that blow came further kicks to the groin as with Rovers on top Ross McCormack broke to put Leeds 2-0 up, and the odious sods made it 3-0 before full-time. Come on, you all know the words; Carping on Together...
SATURDAY 21ST DECEMBER DERBY COUNTY 3-1 ROVERS When you’re up against a team in prolific form the last thing you want to do is gift them an opening goal straight out of Sunday football. Sadly that’s exactly what Rovers did as Luke McCullough and Enda Stevens let pleasantries get in the way of dealing with a big hoof down the middle; and the resulting shambles was pounced on by Jamie Ward. Another Ross Turnbull penalty save prevented Derby from doubling their lead before the break and at half-time Rovers were still very much in the game. In the second half though came sixty seconds which arguably encapsulated Rovers key problem this season; a failure to take chances. Theo Robinson in oneon-one was denied by a great save by Lee Grant and from there Derby broke straight down to the other end where Simon Dawkins rolled a near identical opportunity beyond Ross Turnbull for 2-0. An own goal by Jake Buxton gave Rovers some hope, before Craig Bryson wept in a third for the hosts in the final ten minutes. Another decent performance that didn’t bring rewards; something which we find ourselves saying all too often this season.
THURSDAY 26TH DECEMBER ROVERS 0-3 IPSWICH TOWN Let us never speak of this again.
SUNDAY 29TH DECEMBER ROVERS 0-0 MILLWALL My girlfriend joined me for this game, her first taste of Rovers away from a pub TV, and she claimed to have enjoyed it too. Her finest moment came when she admonished the referee for not awarding a free-kick for a foul on Ross Turnbull with a shout of “Just
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because he’s big! He has feelings too!” That was only the second best shout of the day from our patch of the West Stand mind, she was pipped to the title by the old fella next to me who, in a last ditch effort to avoid swearing in front of his grandkids called out “It’s that full-back, he’s a reet ba… er… bad egg!” Novelty crowd shouts aside at last Rovers stemmed the tide of goals conceded that December had brought thus far, and but for the width of a post could have won the game through Federico Macheda late on. Encouraging, but a game we would have hoped to have won.
WEDNESDAY 1ST JANUARY Q.P.R. 2-1 ROVERS 93rd bloody minute. Rovers to a man put in a hell of a shift, defending capably and moving the ball around expertly in attack to really test the most expensively assembled squad in the division, only to get nothing for their endeavours. This was probably Rovers’ best performance of the season thus far, they led through Theo Robinson and should have had a chance to go 2-0 up from the penalty spot after Richie Wellens was poleaxed in the area in the second half. Alas no spotkick wasn awarded and Rovers took a sucker punch square in the bollocks at the death as ‘Arry’s Millionaires nabbed an undeserved winner. The performance; enough to suggest Rovers are certainly capable of staying up, but the chronic lack of luck reiterated that it’s a still a bloody tough ask to do so.
SATURDAY 4TH JANUARY ROVERS 2-3 STEVENAGE Dickov Out! Bramall Out! Everybody Out! Messageboards and social media went into meltdown after this terrible defeat to League One’s bottom side
took Rovers out of the Cup. A comical Paul Quinn slip gifted the visitors their opener, and it didn’t get any better from that point really. Harry Forrester’s first goal for the club a highlight, though it felt like it to no-one.
WEDNESDAY 8TH JANUARY Great news for all, except maybe QPR, as Richie Wellens, signs a new 18-month deal with Rovers, the club reportedly breaking the wage ceiling to retain the midfielder. Going the other way, Rovers confirm that James Harper is to be released by mutual consent; Harper’s departure comes as a shock to Rovers fans… primarily because they hadn’t realised he was still at the club. His is not the only departure this week as Martin Woods is also released, whilst Dave Syers joins Scunthorpe United for an undisclosed fee after a successful loan spell with the iron. With Rovers unwilling to rush Rob Jones back from his neck injury Abdoulaye Meite signs with the club until the end of the season. The big Ivorian centrehalf has been training for the club for over a month prior to joining. As for forwards Federico Macheda returns to Manchester United for January as they look to source a fee for the forward, whilst Billy Paynter goes on loan to Sheffield United for the remainder of the season; his exit supposedly freeing up funds for a forward to join the club, though they are unable to secure any further signatures ahead of the game at Blackburn Rovers.
THURSDAY 9TH JANUARY ‘Doncaster Rovers Fans Fear 10 Point Loss’ screamed the front of the Doncaster Star as they added flesh to the bones of a ‘story’ which had appeared in The Sun earlier that day. The story had surfaced after an email
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from Sequentia Capital ‘representative Kevin Phelan to director David Blunt was brazenly chucked the way of supporters ‘leaked’ to supporters and the local media. The email claimed that John Ryan had received a call stating from one of the club’s senior directors stating that the club intended putting Patienceform Ltd (Rovers) into administration. Rovers moved swiftly to deny the rumour with Gavin Baldwin stating “The owners have shown a clear intent for the future by making funds available for new signings during the transfer window. In addition to this we have also gone above and beyond our normal parameters to ensure Richie Wellens remains at the club long term. These are not the actions of a club who are considering administration as an option.” All signs suggest that this was a further move by the interested parties of Sequentia Capital to destabilise the club and the supporter base as they bid to get their proposed takeover back on the table.
SATURDAY 11TH JANUARY BLACKBURN ROVERS 1-0 ROVERS Another disappointing loss as a goal from Rudy Gestede just before halftime is enough to win it for the other Rovers, with Paul Dickov telling the press; “There was nothing really in the game until we gave the ball away sloppily and a lapse of concentration before half time. When you make a mistake like that and Blackburn have got players like Rhodes and Gestede, you know you’re going to get punished.” Sadly Rovers did and despite a much better showing after the break, two world-class saves from Paul Robinson at the death prevented Alex Peterson and Richie Wellens from helping Rovers to secure a much needed point.
Seen in Costa Coffee at Lakeside Village by my wife Jackie.
spotter: Phil Talbot
With his family, partying (sober) at a wedding on New Year’s Eve. Happy to hark back to fond memories of the good old days, details of which I do not recall due to mild inebriation spotter: Jonathan Foster
With his Missus in Wickes, both looked thoroughly bored. Odd because I thought he was the safe kind of fella who would appreciate a Sunday afternoon tour of a DIY store.
spotter: Matt Smith
At Sheffield train station. Said happy new year after a wink
spotter: Rob Newsome
In his Bradford coat happily smiling his way around the West Stand before the Stevenage match
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LIFE ON THE RUN JAMES HARPER HAS BEEN RELEASED. NO, WE DIDN’T KNOW HE WAS STILL HERE EITHER. THESE WERE HIS FINAL HOURS... The switch is flicked. The Keepmaot Stadium’s lights go out. FA Cup dreams over for another year. As the groundman turns his back on the field a mysterious figure in a red and black tracksuit darts across the turf from the East Stand to the West. Sensing movement behind him the groundsman turns to look into the gloom. He sees nothing. Probably just an empty Bovril cup in the wind he shrugs. On Row C of the West Stand James Harper heart pounding, breath heavy – lies beneath the seats. Undetected for another day, but can he stay hidden for the duration of the transfer window? Ground empty, Harper edges upward the West Stand row by row. He reaches the Press Box. A metallic thud sounds from in the bowels of the stadium, birds scatter from the roof, Harper freezes. Sweat runs from his forehead. Quick as a flash he rolls beneath a desk of the Press Box. As James crouches he spots a faded sign on the seat behind him. He wipes away the dust. ‘Reserved for national media’. A haven. He will be safe here. Morning breaks across Lakeside. The breath of early morning joggers fades into the cold of the half-light. A few ducks, sticking out the winter, take an early bath on the water of the lake. A man in a luminous tabard whistles out of tune as he moves through the car-
park of the Outlet. Kitchen lights go on in the back windows of Chequer Lane. In the Stadium a lone figure sits in the warmth of the media suite feasting on a breakfast of unwanted pie-crusts and complimentary tea. Knowing the next home game is some way away James Harper stuffs a handful of sugar cubes and free biscuits into his tracksuit pocket. In a disused East Stand office James Harper kicks a ball of paper from one wall to the other. As he does so he points at the chair that was unmarked to his right and points again at the bin for not marking the cupboard by the window. As he does so he hears the creak of a fire door and footsteps in the corridor. Quickly Harper ducks into the cupboard and pulls the door shut. The steps grow louder and then quieter. As James moves to push open the door the steps sound again. This time they grow louder and come to a stop. A key rattles in the office door. In the darkness of the cupboard Harper closes his eyes. The foot-steps sound again. They approach the cupboard. Harper tries to hold his breath. This can’t be happening he tells himself. He’d survived for so long. Surely not now. The cupboard door opens....
8TH JANUARY 2014 ‘JAMES HARPER HAS LEFT DONCASTER ROVERS BY MUTUAL CONSENT’
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JACK THE MINER’S COALFACE SEAN O’DRISCOLL INVITED DEAN SAUNDERS AND BRIAN FLYNN ROUND FOR CHRISTMAS DINNER. JACK THE MINER WATCHED THROUGH A WINDOW Sean O’Driscoll could never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when he was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when he was six. He had time on his hands these days and found himself looking back at Christmases long gone.
‘Good afternoon Dean.’
He put his hand into the freezer and pulled out whatever he could find and started reading the cooking instructions on a packet of Lidl turkey legs. The sprouts had already been bubbling for an hour.
‘Oh’ said Sean, unimpressed. ‘You mean the Bob Davie and Marvin Moore song that was originally a hit for Jim Lowe and later a hit in the UK for Frankie Vaughan? The lyrics describe the allure of a mysterious private club with a green door, although there are several fascinating theories...’
The recently unemployed Sean was bored and had invited his good friends Dean Saunders and little Brian Flynn for Christmas Dinner. Dean said he’d be there once he’d had his hair done and Brian’s mam said he could go if he’d been a good boy. The snow lay thickly and undisturbed in the street as Sean busied himself. After two cups of tea and two Rich Tea biscuits, Sean was giddy with excitement, but as he said to himself ‘if you can’t go a bit mad at Christmas, when can you go mad?’ A sports car crunched slowly up Acacia Avenue. A man in a smart suit got out, ran his fingers through his hair and waved to the young blondes packed into the car before striding up the path of ‘Dunroamin’ and knocked on its green door. The door opened.
‘Hi Sean. Shakin’ Stevens fan are you?’ ‘Sorry?’ queried Sean. ‘Shakin’ Stevens, the Welsh Elvis... Green Door. It was number one.’
‘That’s really interesting Sean. Any chance of a drink?’ ‘Of course. Breakfast tea? Darjeeling? Earl Grey? Mind you, it’s Christmas so let’s go mad and have some Flowery Orange Pekoe’. ‘Anything stronger Sean?’ ‘I’ve got some of Lidl’s Syrian lowalcohol fizzy Chardonnay that I was saving for a special occasion...’ Dean nodded his approval. ‘New socks Sean?’ ‘Yes. A Christmas present. I got twelve grey pairs of Yak’s wool socks, some hankies and a voucher for some teeth whitening treatment from John Ryan.
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And you?’ ‘I got a Maserati and a speed boat.’ Sean stirred the sprouts. There was a knock at the door. Outside, up to his knees in snow was little Brian Flynn. His mum folded her hankie to a point, licked the tip and wiped the ring of blackcurrant pop from Brian’s reddened, cold cheeks. She wagged her finger at him, narrowly avoiding the dew drop forming on his frost-nipped nose. ‘Remember to say please and thank you, don’t let that Dean Saunders lead you astray; tell Mr O’Driscoll you’ve had a lovely time when you leave and above all DON’T eat too much pudding and DON’T mention the sackings to Mr O’Driscoll or Mr Saunders.’ Brian nodded to confirm his understanding and trotted in as the door opened. The door closed, shutting out the snow and the chill. ‘So’ chirped Brian ‘you both got sacked then?’ ‘Wolves, compensated me nicely thank you.’ said Dean through gritted teeth. ‘Mucked up your c.v. though...did bog all at Wrexham, took DRFC down, bogged off half way through the season and then took Wolves down. My mam says you don’t look employable.’ ‘Like I said, Jimmy Clitheroe, it didn’t hurt the bank balance and with my chirpy persona, great hair and ability to rehearse my off-the-cuff one liners I’m a natural for media work.’ ‘My mum says you landed DRFC in the dirt and that I saved your sorry
arse and that it’s not fair you got the big jobs and all the money and I just got shunted upstairs...What about you Sean? Any media work coming your way?’ Dean and Brian could barely conceal their sniggering. ‘Erm, no, I, erm, I’ve things to be getting on with. My collection of Bonnie Tyler CD’s needs sorting into date order and I’m going to pull up the slabs and Tarmac the path so I don’t have to worry about treading on the cracks.’ ‘Oh, and you can probably afford it with all that Bristol City compensation money’ said Brian, bitterly. I just got shunted upstairs. Did you know that? I don’t think people realise.’ Dean sensed he had to change the subject so while Sean handed out the paper hats and an Iceland sausage starters assortment – 24 pieces of sausage done in a variety of ways for just 99p – he tried to make small talk. ‘So, what about this hedge fund then?’ ‘It’s interesting’ offered Sean, ‘because whilst a hedge fund is usually an unregulated investment vehicle, they tend to delegate the management of the fund to a regulated investment manager...and another fascinating fact is that when it comes to derivatives, futures and options...’ Dean jumped in, ‘Well I enjoyed JR’s stunt at Barnsley. I’m gonna do that today Sean. If I don’t get all the stuffing I want I’m going to leave my chair and go and sit with Brian.’ ‘My mam reckons’ chipped in Brian, that John Ryan should have waited for Christmas Eve and that he’d have
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been visited by three ghosts. The spirit of Rovers past, Dave Penny showing JR all the good times at the Britannia and at Orient and the League Two title. And then there’d be the ghost of Rovers present with Paul Dickov reminding JR how great it is to be in the Championship, which I’d like to add is down to me, because that’s what I did before I was bundled unceremoniously upstairs. And finally he would be visited by the ghost of Rovers future and my mam says it would show what would happen if JR managed to sell the club to a hedge fund...’ ‘And?’ asked Sean nervously. ‘Yeah, what happens next?’ asked Dean. ‘I don’t know’ said Brian, ‘I was playing with my new Xbox. I wasn’t really listening.’ The three feasted on a turkey leg each, a puree of sprouts, some blackened potatoes and some stuffing from the Poundshop’s ‘De Luxe’ range. Dean talked about his Maserati and how
he thought he’d get the Match of the Day job when Hansen goes; Sean talked about how windmills always turn counter-clockwise, except for the windmills in Ireland and explained that if you counted 24 hours a day, it would take 31,688 years to reach one trillion. Brian ate too much pudding and was sick and had to go home early. Later, looking through his bedroom window, out into the moonlight and the unending smoke-coloured snow, Sean could see the lights in the windows of all the other houses on the hill and hear the music rising from them up the long, steady falling night. He turned the light down, got into bed, and wondered whether he had undercooked the sprouts. Across town, Dean danced at a James Bond themed party and hoped the mistletoe wouldn’t run out. Down the hill, near the green, Brian Flynn huddled under the bedclothes with a torch and a box of marzipan sweets and prayed that people would remember that it was him that took the team over the finishing line at Brentford. And then, despite bellyache, he slept.
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WILLTHIS THIS DKVDGJKG LSDJ SDNF VSJNFSVNSK ISSUE: STRING THEORY SDKLFSDKFS FASJNSDFJDS SFNSDKJSF SDFJNSKFJ
Na then, I hope you all had a good Christmas and have got the New Year off to the belter. I had a blinding night New Year’s Eve, went back to me old haunt in Lincoln and sunk a fair few Theakstons in the City Vaults. I tell you, I’ve not supped like that since I found out Forest were in for me in ’72. Shame I didn’t wake up like a 19 year old in the morning mind. That hangover weren’t easy for Dennis, I tell you that for nowt. Anyroad, enough about me, apparently we’ve been taking requests for this issue’s Easy for Dennis wi’ Jack Peat using that twitter to ask if I could explain string theory to him. Well, Peaty let me tell you the answer, is that it’s twice as long as it is from one end t’middle. Only joking fella. Not the length of string theory, the actually string theory. Right, so string theory, or as it’s often called the “theory of everything,” is a pretty young science that includes a number of unusual concepts. Stuff like superstrings, branes, and extra dimensions and what have you. Through it, scientists are hopeful that string theory will unlock one of the biggest mysteries of the universe; how did an ugly bugger like Steve Uzelac manage to find himself a wife? I’m only winding yer up, they actually want to work out how gravity and quantum physics fit together.
String theory mind is still summat of a work in progress, so trying to pin down exactly what the science is, or even what its fundamental elements are, can be kind of tricky. As such I’ll just give yers a bit of an overview. So we all know that things are made up from protons, neutrons and electrons right? Well, the idea behind string theory is that all of the different ‘fundamental ‘ particles of the Standard Model of particle physics are really just different manifestations of one basic object: a string. So we might ordinarily picture an electron, for instance, as a point with no internal structure. A point cannot do anything but move – a bit like James Harper say. But, if string theory is correct, then under an extremely powerful ‘microscope’ we’d see that the electron is not really a point, but a tiny loop of string. You see a string can do more than just move, it can oscillate in different ways and if it oscillates a certain way, then from a distance, unable to tell it is really a string, we see an electron. But if it oscillates some other way, well, then we call it a photon, or a quark, or owt really. So, basically everything is made out of strings; you, me, that dugout. Everything. Crazy eh? But still, easy for Dennis. Stay safe, and I’ll see yers again next issue. Ta ra.
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VOICE OF THE POP SIDE GOING BACK IN TIME JOHN COYLE RECOUNTS THE STORY OF CHARLIE RICHARDS, ROVERS’ FORGOTTEN INTERNATIONAL Imagine how excited we would be nowadays if Rovers signed a player from Manchester United who had represented England as a full international a mere five years earlier? That was the situation in March 1903 when Charlie Richards travelled across the Pennines to join the Intakebased Rovers. Yet less than a couple of months later, Richards’ professional career was over and Rovers were on their way out of the Football League and back into non-League. He had also suffered the humiliating experience of playing in a club-record defeat. Let us review the career of the man who became the first to wear a Rovers shirt after sporting an England one. Charles Henry Richards was born in Burton-on-Trent on 9th August 1875, the son of John, a brewer’s labourer, and Charlotte. The 1881 census shows him as a scholar, the sixth of eight children and living at 8 Victoria Street, Burton. Ten years on and the teenage Charles had followed his father into the brewery industry, although the family had moved to 335 Uxbridge Street and his mother had passed away. It was probably around this time that the young Charles began to play football seriously, and he turned out for Gresley Rovers, the romantically-named Newstead Byron and then for Notts County. However, it was County’s rivals from across the Trent, Forest, who first saw his potential and signed him in
1895. The twenty-year-old Charles Richards, known to the fans as Charlie, made his Football League debut in January 1896, playing at inside-right in a 0-0 draw at the City Ground against Bolton Wanderers. A week later, he scored his first goal in a 3-1 home victory over Sunderland and he ended the 1895-96 season with a promising return of five goals from 11 League games as Forest finished 13th in Division One. Charlie stood 5 feet 6 inches tall and at the height of his career he weighed in at just under 12 stones. Contemporary reports described him as stocky, rather unspectacular yet a good forager who linked the play well and had an eye for goal as well as the ability to bring out the best in a winger. 1896-97 saw Charlie become a regular member of the Forest forward line, scoring in each of the first three games of the season and going on to net eight in a total of 26 League games as Forest moved up two places to 11th. He played at inside-right or centreforward alongside the likes of the Capes brothers, Arthur and Adrian, the two Freds, Forman and Spencer, and the winger Tom McInnes. It was a good time for Charlie, and in the spring of 1897 he married Mary Ann Elliott, aged 19, in Nottingham. Even better was to come the following season. Season 1897-98 was a memorable one for Nottingham Forest and Charlie
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Richards. He started the season slowly, but eventually made the inside-right position his own, partnered regularly on the right wing by the Scotsman McInnes. New Year’s Day 1898 gave a hint of things to come, as Charlie scored twice in a 6-3 win over The Wednesday at Olive Grove, and a few weeks later he bagged another brace as Forest beat Grimsby Town 4-0 in the FA Cup. In the next round he repeated the dose as Gainsborough Trinity were dispatched and he scored again in a thrilling 3-2 victory over West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns to take Forest into the semi-finals. There they met Southampton, still members of the Southern League, and after a 1-1 draw at Bramall Lane the replay was held at the Crystal Palace. This game was played in a blizzard and during the 2nd half, with the scores level; the referee took the teams off the field. However, after ten minutes they returned, in no better conditions, and Forest, who had been distinctly second best, took charge. McInnes gave Forest the lead and then Charlie notched the second, even though Southampton’s goalkeeper complained that he could not see due to the snow. The Hampshire club lodged an official protest, but the FA allowed the 2-0 win for Forest to stand and they were in the FA Cup Final for the first time ever. The 1898 Final was played at Crystal Palace and pitched Forest against their East Midland rivals Derby County. Derby were firm favourites, having beaten Forest 5-0 in the League a few days earlier. Two goals from Arthur Capes gave Forest a 2-1 interval lead
and just before full-time McPherson scored a third to send the cup to Nottingham. Charlie hadn’t hit the headlines in the final, but he had his winners’ medal and his six goals had done much to earn Forest their first major trophy. They may have also caught the eye of the England selectors, because just before the Final Charlie, along with team-mate Frank Forman, had been selected to play against Ireland in Belfast. The game was played at the Solitude Ground, home of Cliftonville FC, on 5th March 1898 and England earned a narrow 3-2 win. So Charlie ended the season with a FA Cup Winners’ medal and an England cap. Life must have been sweet for the 22-year-old from Burton. From here, Charlie’s career began a slow but perceptible decline. He scored only once in 18 games in the 1898-99 season for a disappointing Forest side and in January 1899 he was transferred to second division Grimsby Town. He made his debut for Town on 7th January 1899 in a 2-4 defeat at Glossop North End, but a few weeks later he notched his first goals for his new club, scoring the first hat-trick of his professional career in a 5-0 home win over Loughborough Town. He clearly enjoyed the sea air, ending the season with 13 goals from 20 appearances. The following season he was even more prolific, ending up as Grimsby’s top scorer with 20 goals as they finished 6th in Division Two. He also scored in a 3-1 victory over Rovers in a FA Cup qualifying match. Town reached the First Round proper where Charlie’s new team were paired against
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VOICE OF THE POP SIDE CONTINUED FROM PAGES 14 AND 15 his old one, but there was to be no fairytale return to the City Ground as Forest won the tie 3-0. In 1900-01, Charlie added to his collection of medals as he helped Grimsby to the Division Two championship. He wasn’t as prolific, scoring only nine goals, though he finished joint top-scorer, but it was Town’s vastly improved defence and an unbeaten home record that saw them to the title. The 1901 Census found Charlie lodging at 64 Tiverton Street, Cleethorpes, along with his wife, recorded as “Annie.” He was described as a “Football Player- Prof(essional).” Charlie had lost his place in the Town side towards the end of the season and maybe this persuaded him to seek pastures new, because in the summer of 1901 he moved to another Second Division side, Leicester Fosse. He made his debut for Fosse on 7th September 1901 as they lost 0-2 to Woolwich Arsenal at Plumstead. Meanwhile, on the same day, Doncaster Rovers were beginning their Football League career with a 3-3 home draw against Burslem Port Vale. The move to Leicester didn’t really work out for Charlie. He scored only five goals in 25 games and by March 1902 he had lost his place in a team that finished 14th in Division Two (debutants Rovers were 7th). So he was on his way again, this time to Manchester to join a team in the process of changing their name. Newton Heath FC had almost gone out of business in 1902, and after being rescued by some local businessmen
they changed their name to Manchester United. Their first game under their new name was on 6th September 1902 when they faced Gainsborough Trinity at the Northolme in their opening Division Two fixture of the season. United returned to Manchester 1-0 winners, the only goal scored by Charlie Richards, who was making his debut. Despite his goal, contemporary reports suggest that he played poorly, and he made only seven more League appearances for United, dropping out of the side altogether after January 1903. In March 1903, Charlie made the final move of his professional career, crossing the Pennines to join Doncaster Rovers. Rovers were suffering what might be called “second season syndrome” and were struggling near the foot of Division Two. A lack of goals and disappointing away form had contributed to their plight. Charlie made his debut on 21st March 1903 in a 0-3 defeat at Woolwich Arsenal. The next three games were better, producing a draw at Chesterfield and home wins over Lincoln and fellow-strugglers Burnley. On Easter Saturday, though, Rovers travelled to Birmingham and were destroyed by a rampant Small Heath side who won 12-0, although Charlie had what would have been his first Rovers “goal” chalked off due to offside. Then two days later Charlie’s former club, Manchester United, rubbed salt in the wounds by beating Rovers 4-0 at Clayton. A goalless draw at home to Leicester meant Rovers ended the season third from bottom, and at the Football League AGM they were
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from myocarditis harshly ejected (acute) and from the League to syncope. The make way for former is newly-formed inflammation of Bradford City. It the heart muscles, was a sad way for usually the result Charlie Richards, of infection and England the latter is international and sudden fainting, FA Cup winner The 1898 Cup-winning team often a symptom of only five years earlier, underlying heart disease. His to end his professional career. death was reported by Mary Ann, who became a widow with two young So what became of Charlie Richards? children at the age of 33. Well, we know only a little, but we encounter him again in 1911. He There is little in the reference books was living at 83 Kennington Road in about Charlie Richards, and even Radford, Nottingham, along with his the histories of the club where he wife and his two surviving children, gained his greatest fame, Nottingham Mabel, aged 12 and Leslie, only two Forest, mention him only in passing. months old. Four other children Until now, his date of death has not had died at young ages. Charlie is been recorded. Charlie had only described as a â€œCoal miner- hewerâ€? a brief career for Rovers, but it is but also as an invalid, suggesting that worth remembering that he was the he was too ill to follow his occupation. first former England international He had probably worked at one of to pull on a Rovers shirt. His story the neighbouring collieries, Radford also reminds us how different life or Wollaton. The census was taken was for professional footballers at the in early April, and by the end of the month, Charlie was no more. He passed beginning of the 20th century to what it is now. away at home on 27th April 1911, aged only 35, his death certified as being JC
THIS ISSUE STEVE IS... ...celebratory, and yet also somewhat sarcastic and withdrawn a football fanzine for the likes of Doncaster | Jan-Feb 2014 | PS68 | 17
BAND OF BROTHERS IN HIS FIRST PIECE FOR POPULAR STAND FANZINE, CHRIS BLACK COME BACK HONOURS JOHN RYAN From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remember’d; We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile, William Shakespeare, Henry V There are many things that can be said about the boardroom shenanigans of the last six months – and not a single one of them is remotely positive. For me though, like a fair few others I would imagine, the really damaging outcome of this tawdry affair has been the impact on the reputation of a man that many quite rightly consider the single most important figure in the entire history of our club. Cards on the table. For what he has done for the club, I am unashamedly pro-Ryan. No ifs, buts, or caveats. The achievements of the post-1998 period are so massive, so totally and utterly out of proportion to the previous 120 years of our history, that it almost defies belief. Perhaps some have come to take them for granted and believe they are part of a chain of success that was only briefly broken by the Richardson years. Well they were not. The victories since dropping
out of the league in 1998 have only happened because they were made to happen. Many contributed to these achievements, but none of these would have happened without John Ryan. A one-man dynamo, catalyst, nuclear explosion, he was all of these things and more. I’m not talking about his money. This was important, especially in the conference years, but it is what else he brought to the table: energy, drive, determination, optimism, enthusiasm, vision, leadership, front, showmanship – and most importantly, a genuine, deep and abiding love for his home town club that made him one of us, one of a band of brothers. So what has happened at the top of our club in recent months has left me feeling hugely disappointed at how such a colossus as John Ryan has been so diminished in the eyes of many supporters, commentators and observers. He embodied for many the pride in their club and town. John Ryan was a shining beacon of
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everything we could have dreamed of from our club. This is why the events in the boardroom have left me feeling so disappointed. Disappointed because folk among our support are openly criticising and questioning his commitment to the club and even his role in our achievements. A man who carried the weight of the club on his back for a decade and a half, is being belittled by people who should know far, far better. Disappointed because I fear we are going to lose something that made those victories at Stoke, Wembley, Cardiff, Brentford and countless others, those massive, massive victories, so much bigger. We knew that with John Ryan at the helm, he was feeling exactly as you were feeling and thinking as you were thinking. These faceless Russian, Arab and American billionaires buying up Premier League clubs as weekend hobbies are not fit to wipe the boots of John Ryan. Disappointed because what we had as a club is now at threat: a united and focused club with our support being few, but a happy few. Rovers vs The World has now become Rovers vs Rovers. And the rest does not come easy to say. Disappointed that John Ryan, a colossus in my eyes, is allowing himself to be painted as a useful idiot by folk we do not know and have not provided anything like the answers we need. A giant such as
John Ryan should not be surrounding himself with such pygmies. Disappointed because if the last we see of John Ryan is a hurried goodbye in the bowels of Oakwell then I will feel robbed of what should have been the goodbye he deserved, walking round the Keepmoat pitch on a gloriously sunny afternoon with the thunderous applause of thousands ringing in his ears long after he had disappeared down the tunnel. Because this ultimately comes down to what you want out of your football club. You see, for me the successes of the last decade have been so enjoyable not because of success for the sake of success, but because of the way we have succeeded. Watch the final minutes of the 2008 Play Off Final again and see the coverage cut to Ryan jumping in his seat in abject agony as the final seconds slowly ticked down. He was no different to the rest of us in the stadium that day. Plastic Premier League football ‘fans’ and their support of football clubs at the other ends of the country from them can never, ever have what we had under John Ryan when he was leading the club. They’ll never have a local lad and lifelong supporter carrying the hopes and dreams of thousands of his kin on his shoulders. They’ll never know what it is like to be in a band of brothers. Don’t leave us yet John Ryan. Your brothers need you.
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AS MORE FANS BASH OUT THE HASHTAG #DICKOVOUT, WE THOUGHT W JAMES BAXTER SAYS WHY IT’S TIME FOR THE MANAGER TO GO, AND O I know this isn’t a popular opinion amongst Doncaster Rovers fans however I do not believe that Paul Dickov is the right man for us. First of all I think that he is tactically naive. Too many times this season he has tried a variation of 4-3-3 with no width and it just hasn’t worked; most notably against Leeds United. Anyone who has seen Leeds play this season would know the way to beat them is attacking them with width and yet Dickov decided to play no wingers. This to me just didn’t make sense and we were beaten 3-0 at home by local rivals. A good manager learns from the mistakes they make and I don’t believe Dickov is doing this due to the fact we have played this formation too many times. Also far too many times this season we just haven’t competed in games. OK the side has had a few injuries, but I don’t think this is an excuse for looking like we are going to be hammered every week. In a lot of games this season we have never looked like scoring and yet look like conceding at least two. Obviously you are never going to win games if this is the case or compete in games. Ten times this season we have conceded at least three goals and not once have we scored more than twice in a game. We have conceded the second most in the league and sit second bottom of the goals scored table. These stats just point to relegation.
Dickov also needs to start taking responsibility for the dreadful performances we have been served at times this season. Instead he just blames the players, who of course must share some of this responsibility, but his interviews after the Middlesbrough and Stevenage games especially show how he is unwilling to take responsibility himself. After the Middlesbrough game he said “The players are going to see a different side to me” and in the next game we were defeated 3-1 at home by Brighton who hadn’t won in four matches on their travels. If I was Paul Dickov I would currently be worried for my job because he was clearly John Ryan’s man. Otherwise why would it have taken so long in the summer to appoint an unemployed manager?
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WE’D HAVE A RATIONAL DEBATE ABOUT IT. SO ON THE LEFT HAND PAGE ON THE RIGHT, EDITOR GLEN WILSON GIVES THE COUNTER ARGUMENT Like most of you I greeted the appointment of Paul Dickov in the summer with a subtle head tilt of indifference and that was about it. For all of Oldham’s cup heroics the Latics had hardly set League One alight. But as time has passed the little man with the perfectly gelled hair has steadily and surely won me over to the point where I find talk of dismissing him from post as fathomable as an empty reservoir. He started by recruiting well, establishing a decent backbone where it was needed. Ross Turnbull has been phenomenal this season, whilst Bongani Khumalo seemed to go the whole of August without losing an aerial dual and Luke McCullough has shown composure and class far beyond his years. Richie Wellens return has been crucial whilst the arrival of Theo Robinson and Federico Macheda brought notable boosts at key times. Come the season, come a willingness to try new tactics, and a bravery to make early substitutions when it isn’t working, as he did after twenty minutes at Reading. He is not afraid to put faith in youth and thinks longterm too, developing partnerships ahead of tougher fixtures as he did with the back four in the run up to the QPR away game. And what’s more, he cares. He rants and raves on the touchline and tells it like it is post-match and is always first to send the players to the supporters at full-time. It is interesting to see
that whilst Dickov exudes and delivers all the qualities that many Rovers’ supporters criticised previous managers for not showing, he still fails to please all. Perhaps perceptions of how well Paul Dickov is doing are determined by unreasonable expectations on what Rovers could hope to achieve in a tough money-laden division. At the start of the season I would have snapped your hand off for 21st place, and we are well within contention to achieve this despite a high number of injuries to key players and some desperate luck in other games – had Charlton not been abandoned, Watford been awarded a free-kick instead of a penalty, and Richie Wellens’ pole-axing at Loftus Road been given the penalty it deserved – then Rovers could well be six points clear of the relegation zone right now. The margins of what makes a manager successful or terrible in the eyes of supporters are sometimes minute. Take the QPR away game, brilliant performance, tactics bang on. If Rovers get the penalty for the foul on Wellens and go on to win Dickov will be rightly praised, instead the referee sees it differently, the match is lost and it’s a month without a win and pressure mounting on the manager. In a league where so much can hang on so little we need the stability of a steady hand and a manager who knows his squad and how to make the team raise their game. Dickov is that man right now.
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ATTEMPT AT REASONED DEBATE NUMBER TWO. ON THIS PAGE PAUL STENSON ARGUES WHY HE FEELS BRAMALL’S TIME IS UP, AND OPPOSITE EDITOR GLEN WILSON SAYS WHY HE SHOULD STAY I have been asked to share my views on why I think Bramall should go, and why I don’t agree with the current board. Before I start however let me make it clear that I am not saying that I am pro Sequentia Capital. But having read Terry Bramall’s statement when John Ryan left I am afraid can’t understand some of the points he made. Firstly he aims to make our club a sustainable, family club and develop the fan-base. How can a guy that cannot be bothered to even attend games pass comment on how he intends to develop a fan-base? How can he make this point if he hasn’t been and seen who does go to games and asked the people who pay to get in how they think more fans can be encouraged to attend? In my opinion the pricing is still set too high for adult tickets. Even if the club were to practically give tickets away to get a full stadium, surely they would see increased revenue on food, drink and merchandise, and the experience maybe even tempt supporters into coming again. I have raised this point with some fellow Rovers fans, with mixed responses. Some that are season ticket holders, life myself, don’t agree in lowering prices given that we have paid up front. However those that instead go when they can afford it liked the idea and would consider a season ticket if they were more reasonably priced. Doncaster is not exactly the richest area after all, and a full house would help the lads on the pitch.
The second point I take issue with is how the board sees that spending money buying a rugby club is going to help achieve any of these goals? Given that Bramall isn’t interested in football, which he has never denied, what is his interest in rugby? And more to the point, how does it benefit Doncaster Rovers? The quote within the press release on the rugby club takeover ‘’The Sporting Club model has been a long term vision of [Gavin] Baldwin’s, whose job is to maximise revenue at the Keepmoat Stadium’’, for me says it all. The main aim of these guys, inclusive of Bramall and Baldwin, is to maximise revenue at the Keepmoat. My argument to that is; if we didn’t own the stadium, would they still be here? After all, not one of them is a football fan, and I don’t know if they like rugby or not either. Lastly, the board keep changing their minds on whether they are staying or going. One minute they are considering a takeover bid, the next it’s off, next time he is all but ready to accept, then it’s off again, and then comes along the administration rumour just to fuel the debate. One way or another just decide and be clear to us EXACTLY what is going to happen. In my opinion the board and Gavin Baldwin are here to make as much as they can from the stadium by including all Doncaster sports clubs at one venue, without any interest in the fans of any of them.
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You have to feel sorry for Terry Bramall. Effectively an equal partner with Dick Watson on the Rovers board and yet it is he that the most vocal of protesting fans want to go. What has Bramall got so badly wrong that Watson has got right enough to slip under the radar? Why has it been ‘Bramall Out’ and not Watson & Bramall Out’?
directors have jointly given extra funds to the club. They have collectively put their own money in for no return for seven years. Yes John Ryan has invested more, but that’s because he had an eight year head start on the others. And even with a focus on sustainability he has been prepared to bend his guidelines in proven cases; as shown with Richie Wellens’ new deal.
Both John Ryan, upon his departure at Barnsley, and the Exiles Supporters’ group led the calls to ‘other’ Bramall in a ‘him or me’ popularity contest. But on what grounds? Ultimately it seems that Bramall’s only crime to date is that he is not John Ryan, but his proported crimes and misdemeanours have subsequently been exaggerated as such that he has now, for many, become the evil face of not-John.
“He doesn’t even like football”. You know the more the takeover talk rumbles on, the less I like it. He may not have wistful tales of standing on the Belle Vue terrace, but that doesn’t mean he can’t see the value of a successful team to the community. Perhaps not being a life-long fan is a good thing, allowing head to rule over heart and not go chasing a dream at the expense of long term sustainability.
The criticisms of Bramall appear to be four-fold. First up is that he blocked the Sequentia Capital deal. Sidestepping the fact that he alone would not be able to make that decision, I can’t say I’ve seen anything to enamour me to Sequentia’s involvement in Rovers. Suggesting legal action against fans who discussed their members on a forum, side-stepping legitimate questions from a Supporters’ Trust and their ever changing levels of proposed investment are hardly indicators of sound investors. And the more Sequentia hang around the Keepmoat gates spoiling for a fight like a school bully the more pleased I am that Bramall and the rest of the club’s board chose not to do business with them.
“He’d rather spend money on rugby”. The purchase of the Dons was a leftfield move I’ll grant you, but one that has already paid for itself and has reportedly moved into profit thanks to the attraction of an additional sponsor and high-profile friendlies. All money into the stadium, and there for money into the club.
“He needs to invest more”. Here’s the thing, since Ryan introduced Bramall and Watson to the board the three
The problem Bramall has is that everyone wants everything now. It’s easy to shout figures to the press and get the mouths watering with talk of ‘big names’ and ‘Premier League’, it’s harder to sell a ten year stay in the second tier of slow growth. But when you look at the madness the top flight has brought to Cardiff and Hull you have to wonder how our fans can protest against a man for striving to run the club prudently and sustainably.
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TO LINDUM AND BACK THE LAST FIFTEEN YEARS AT ROVERS WOULD MAKE FOR SOME FILM. CHRIS KIDD REFLECTS ON TIME GONE BY It’s been said before on a number of occasions; if there was ever a film maker who wanted to make a movie about a football club that hit rock bottom and rose from the ashes to secure a place in the second tier of English football, he would have to pick Doncaster Rovers. If the coverage of 1998 -2008 didn’t look juicy enough perhaps the sequel in the following years would provide more drama and more modern day culture than anyone could ever imagine. The recent media-led takeover saga is beginning to make Doncaster seem like the football capitol when it comes to providing intense theatre on the future of a club.
first production pales in significance when it comes to considering how to cover the following five years. The first couple of seasons in tier two were ok, Rovers managed to survive and hold their own gaining recognition along the way for the brand of football they played. The last two seasons at that level unfortunately weren’t as successful and the final season was furthermore compromised when ‘The Experiment’ was introduced. The brainchild of Doncaster based Football Agent Willie McKay; the idea was to bring in top quality Premier League standard players to advertise their wares at a reduced rate whilst playing for Doncaster.
Any budding production team need only start with the following comparisons; Rovers went from Dover to Wembley, from Prince Moncrieffe to Billy Sharp, from Ken Richardson to John Ryan and finally from Doncaster Rovers to The Likes of Doncaster Rovers. The club’s unprecedented rise from fifth tier to second tier, achieving three promotions in the space of five years, will in my opinion never be done again; including of course winning the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at Cardiff before visiting Wembley the following year.
Rovers’ most successful modern day manager Sean O’Driscoll didn’t want any part in such a move and he was duly dispatched with Dean Saunders replacing him. Footballers, especially vastly overpaid Premier League footballers would-be sought after characters for a production such as this. Diouf, Chimbonda and Illunga all played starring roles in the episode entitled ‘The Experiment’. Unfortunately for all concerned and perhaps more fortunately for the principles of football in general, the experiment failed and Rovers were relegated after five seasons in the Championship.
Unfortunately the material for the
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Saunders managed to assemble a strong, physical side which was direct and certainly came with no frills attached. It reminded me of the Sheffield Wednesday side that had eventually got out of the third tier a few seasons before us; not just because Rovers new spearhead was former Owl, Rob Jones. Rovers were winning games and were up there as we approached Christmas only for the charismatic Saunders to abandon ship for the challenge of keeping Wolves in the Championship. From there both parties had differing ends to the season; Saunders duly added a second Championship relegation to his curriculum vitae before being given the sack whereas Rovers went on to be promoted as Champions led there by a dwarf*. It wasnâ€™t that simple at all in the end. Rovers went into the final day of the season top of the league and needing a point to guarantee promotion, Brentford were in the play-off mix and needed a win to have a chance of automatic promotion. The game was played out at 0-0 until the final minute when Brentford were awarded a penalty, it looked to be game over for Rovers. Marcello Trotta had other ideas and after wrestling the ball from a number of team-mates, took the penalty and hit the bar. A melee ensued. The ball was cleared. The ball fell to Billy Paynter on the half way line who ran clear and with only the keeper to beat, squared the ball to James Coppinger who duly put the ball in the net, sending Rovers up as Champions. Will a game ever be won in this manner with so much riding on it ever again? Probably not.
Brian Flynn was thanked for his services and moved upstairs into a Director of Football role whilst Rovers brought in former Manchester City player Paul Dickov to lead the club into their second stint in the Championship. After assembling a modest squad with the money available Rovers made a satisfactory start to life in the Championship. On field activity soon started to play second fiddle to off field activity as takeover rumours began to surface in the Doncaster media. This eventually created a boardroom split which culminated in Doncasterâ€™s favourite son resigning his Chairmanship of fifteen years, five minutes before a local derby against Barnsley. JR is firmly pro Sequentia Capital, the Belize based Hedge Fund interested in taking over Rovers whereas Terry Bramall and Dick Watson want to keep the club in their hands with a more sustainable outlook. Who would have thought The Likes of Doncaster could provide so much theatre? Over to you Spielberg.
CJK *We are legally, and morally obliged to point out that Brian Flynn is technically five inches too tall to be an actual dwarf.
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UNLOVABLE ROGUES PUTTING THE RECENT ‘BRAMALL OUT’ PROTESTS IN SOME PERSPECTIVE, MIKE FOLLOWS RECALLS SOME NOTORIOUS FOOTBALL CHAIRMEN, DIRECTORS AND OWNERS
VINCENT TAN A personification of the endemic desire amongst those who’ve grown up with the “glamour” of the Premier league piped into their living rooms throughout their lives, Tan split opinion amongst Cardiff supporters when he took over the club in 2010. Long-standing supporters were outraged by his decision to change the club’s home shirts and badge from blue to red. He has since helped to unite supporters in his own way though, as those who were initially ambivalent are fast turning against him in the wake of Malky MacKay’s sacking.
MALCOLM GLAZER Took over the controlling interest in Manchester United in 2005 at a cost of £800m, most of which was mortgaged against the club and its parent company. Payment in kind loans were also levied against the club at 14.25% per annum interest rates then sold off to hedge funds, left for five years to accrue interest then paid off. A nice earner at United’s expense for whoever was behind the hedge funds. Glazer rejected a £1bn takeover bid from the Supporters’ Trust-backed Red Knights in 2010 as they didn’t meet his valuation of the club.
JOY SEPPALA Figurehead of SISU Capital, Joy Seppala has overseen the ludicrous proceedings at Coventry City in which the club has moved from the Council-owned Ricoh Arena in Coventry where they had an offer to stay and play rent free to a ground share with Northampton Town where they are playing in front of sparse crowds as the fans stay away in protest. The club’s supporters were so desperate to show that they are still around in numbers they sold out the away end at Milton Keynes. Seppala and her associate, Dermot Coleman still helped themselves to £360k in the last financial year though.
BILL ARCHER Having built a retail empire with his Focus DIY stores, Bill Archer came up with another money-spinning idea when he sold Brighton’s Goldstone Ground to property developers in 1997. With no investment in the playing squad and nowhere to call home, The Seagulls and our own Rovers met at the Goldstone for their final game there and subsequently battled it out for the title of Football League laughing stock, the accolade going to Rovers the very next season thanks to the antics of:
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We hope that nobody ever supersedes Richardson as the number one man in Rovers’ Rogues gallery. To go any further than he did would signal the death of our club. Over the last few months there has been a great deal of division amongst fans with lines seemingly drawn between those who were there in 1997-98 and those who were not interested in the club at the time or are too young to remember. When all you’ve known is success, a home defeat to Leeds in the second tier of the League must be hard to take, but in comparison to the club’s owner arranging for the ground to be burnt down and advertising the land on which they play for sale in the national press regardless of it being council property it becomes just another result. At least we haven’t got the Stockport Lottery Manager in charge with his next door neighbour in goal!
The Donny Comet
FELLOW SUPPORTERS AND MEDIA LEFT STUNNED AS FAN CHOOSES NOT TO BLAME ANYONE FOR DEFEAT A Doncaster Rovers fan stunned the world of football this week by refusing to pin the blame for a lost football match on any one individual. Whilst his fellow supporters took to internet messageboards and to social media to tell all and sundry just who was culpable for the latest set-back the fan in question is believed to have simply uttered a curse word and shrugged, with a source close to the fan telling the Comet that he had suggested to those nearby that the loss was “one of those things”, and down to the opposition being “much the better side on the day”. Other Rovers fans have been quick to question the supporter’s integrity with one of 500 monkeys hammering at a keyboard managing to post on Facebook to say “Can’t he see that
their last minute 25 yard screamer was the fault of the linesman for not giving that offside decision just after half-time, or even Ross Turnbull’s failure to be covering the very top left corner of his goal?” Though the fan in question remains disappointed but not quick to lay blame for the defeat other supporters have been quick to voice their criticism. “It’s quite clearly Terry Bramall’s fault, if he went to more games, their striker wouldn’t have been to control that and volley it home .” said one. While another supporter felt fault lied with the manager. “That’s Dickov’s last straw for me; why aren’t we setting ourselves up to stop players of international talent from scoring incredible goals? You have to ask is he up to the task?”
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REG IPSA: LEGAL BEAGLE WE HOSED DOWN OUR LEGAL EXPERT REG IN THE DOORWAY OF RHYTHM & BOOZE ON BECKETT ROAD SO HE COULD RESPOND TO MORE OF OUR READERS’ LETTERS. STAR LETTER TWERK ETHIC
Dear Reg Having supped far too many drinks in the “Old George” before the QPR home game match, I found myself barely able to stand, yet alone walk. During my excellent rendition of Zigga Zagga my mate filmed me shaking and stumbling forwards. The next week I see Miley Cyrus mimicking it up against some fella in mock-tudor trousers, and she’s making a fortune. Can I copyright my new dance before the name twerking pinches it forever? Colin Bickerslike, Balby
Copyrighting is difficult, but not without precedent; Tommy Wright once asked me to try and copywright his trademark fallingon-his-arse-at-will act, he now makes a fortune in royalties during every game in the Premier League. That you have datable video evidence should help the case and Cyrus has form too, just ask John Ryan about when he swung naked from that wrecking ball when they took down the old Main Stand at Belle Vue. Pop in The Black Bull on a lunchtime, any lunchtime, and I’ll see what we can do.
BREAST OF FRIENDS Hello Reg I used to work behind the counter on the food stand at Belle Vue. I got sacked for licking the Pukka pies before selling them. My new girlfriend has asked if I would pay for breast implant surgery as, after seven kids, her fifty year old chest has seen better days. A bloke in the Corporation Tap says he knows a bloke who can do them both for £350. I won the half time draw the other week and am tempted. But what if we fall out? Clarence Winnets, Hexthorpe
You are right to be careful .I remember being in front of the Lord Chief Justice in my breakthrough case of Bremner v Fray Bentos Pies. He quoted a very important and relevant latin legal theorem that has stayed with me to this day “Swinum Nul Cosmeticain Erroneous” – or in Yorkshire “You can put lipstick on a pig but it’s still a pig”. You cannot put a legal charge on a pair of implants. I’d spend the money on a week or two in Spain. You can stare at as many as you like there – they don’t mind.
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TAKING THE SICK
I am a West stand mumbler. We met earlier in the season in the Staff of Life at that mushy pea charity night. I met a youngster in there and decided to employ him as my apprentice septic tank drainer. The problem is that he keeps knocking in sick. I don’t think he likes the smell. I reckon he is faking as his first three sick notes said he had PMT and the last note said he needed time off after his hysterectomy. He’s only 19. What should I do? Eddie Clunge, Armthorpe
Reg, I sit in the South West stand. I run my own tailors shop. I was in the Horse and Jockey and for Midget Steve I agreed to make and sell four suits for him and his triplet brothers as they were going to a wedding. He has tried on the first suit and now tells me he has fallen out with his brothers and won’t pay for the others. I am sat here with three suits to fit someone who is four foot three. Can I make him pay? Norbert Moist, Bessacarr
There’s a bloke in The Leopard that does a lovely sick note. You really cannot tell the difference. He managed to get a mate of mine off work with gout for six months during our relegation season. I can knock up a letter saying that if Lazybones doesn’t get his nose back to the grindstone within a week then his days of sucking up sewage will be a distant dream. I did the same for Rovers with Martin Woods.
I tend not to drink in the Horse. It’s a bit loud. If Stan didn’t sign a contract then you might be lumbered my old love. It might be worth asking if Brian Flynn needs any new clobber. You can always take the trousers up a bit.
GOOD WILL HUNTING
Dear Reg, I am an 86 year-old season ticket holder in the East Stand. My wife used to sit in the West Stand but died of asthma last year. I have four children, the eldest, Clint is Deputy Chief Muck Shoveller at the Sewage Works. Dane is second taster at the Squitalot Dog Food Factory. My daughter Nubella works as an assistant washing Vanessa Feltz and my youngest child Tarquin is a Blades fan. I suppose I should leave them an equal share of my estate. What do you reckon? Fred Cobblers, Intake
I’d leave everything to your youngest. The others each still have a faint hope of promotion.
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WINDMILLS OF YOUR MIND THIS ISSUE DUTCH UNCLE TURNS HIS ATTENTION TO THE RIVALRIES OF SOUTH YORKSHIRE. ALTOGETHER... HE’S THE STAT MAN! BADA BWI BA BA BADA BO! Rivalry between Rovers and our four near South Yorkshire neighbours Barnsley, Rotherham and the two Sheffield clubs has been around since Rovers were founded in 1879. Some years ago John Coyle wrote a fascinating article in an early copy of the Fanzine about local Cup Competitions - the Sheffield County Cup in its various names, formats and guises. (We’ll stick it on the website this week - Ed.) This article is complementary in that it looks at the relative league positions of these five clubs since they joined the Football League. Although the Football League began in 1888-89, the first South Yorkshire teams to join were Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday who both first played league football in the1892-93 season. Interestingly Wednesday, then known simply as ‘The Wednesday’, were elected directly into Division 1 while United were elected to become members of the inaugural Division 2. History does not record whether the Blades appealed – but it did take more than a century before Carlos Tevez and West Ham managed to stop Blades fans regarding this as their greatest ever injustice. Unfortunately we are not likely to be around in another hundred years when form suggests they can eventually be expected to let the Tevez affair finally lie.
Rotherham Town joined the following season in 1893-4 but were not reelected after finishing 15th in Division 2 in 1895-96. Barnsley were elected to Division 2 in 1898-99, and as we know Rovers played in Division 2 in 1901-02, 1902-03 and 1904-05 before a second non re-election saw us banished to Midland League football until the 192324 season. Rotherham County were re-elected to Division 2 in 1919-20, and in 1925 amalgamated with Rotherham Town to form Rotherham United. So Rovers election to Division 3 North in 1923-24 saw the first occasion when all 5 clubs were playing in the Football League. The table on the facing page, small as it is - for which we apologise - shows the national ranking in each season for each club based on league position (with a simple algorithm allowing for parallel leagues to work out national positions when clubs were in the regionalised Division 3 North). The cells are greyed out when clubs were outside of the Football League with exception of Rovers’ 5 seasons in the Conference which is to all intents and purposes Tier 5 of league football. Finally Rotherham Town and County positions are shown in red and also italised for the print version. For the first 107 years from 1892-93 to 2009-10 the Sheffield dominance was
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Relative Positions of South Yorkshire Clubs Season 1892-93 1893-94 1894-95 1895-96 1896-97 1897-98 1898-99 1899-00 1900-01 1901-02 1902-03 1903-04 1904-05 1905-06 1906-07 1907-08 1908-09 1909-10 1910-11 1911-12 1912-13 1913-14 1914-15 1919-20 1920-21 1921-22 1922-23 1923-24 1924-25 1925-26 1926-27 1927-28 1928-29 1929-30 1930-31 1931-32 1932-33 1933-34 1934-35 1935-36 1936-37 1937-38 1938-39 1946-47 1947-48 1948-49 1949-50 1950-51 1951-52 1952-53 1953-54 1954-55 1955-56 1956-57 1957-58
Barnsley Tier Pos Nat Rank NL NL NL NL NL NL 2 11 29 2 16 34 2 15 33 2 11 29 2 8 26 2 8 26 2 7 25 2 12 32 2 8 28 2 16 36 2 17 37 2 9 29 2 19 39 2 6 26 2 4 24 2 5 25 2 3 23 2 12 34 2 16 38 2 3 25 2 9 31 2 11 33 2 15 37 2 18 40 2 11 33 2 13 35 2 16 38 2 17 39 2 19 41 2 21 43 3N 8 59 3N 1 45 2 16 38 2 20 42 2 14 36 2 21 43 3N 1 45 2 10 32 2 12 34 2 9 31 2 13 35 2 15 37 2 20 42 2 22 44 3N 2 47 3N 1 45 2 18 40 2 19 41 2 14 36
Doncaster Rovers Tier Pos Nat Rank NL NL NL NL NL NL NL NL NL 2 7 25 2 16 34 NL 2 18 36 NL NL NL NL NL NL NL NL NL NL NL NL NL NL 3N 9 61 3N 18 79 3N 10 63 3N 8 59 3N 4 51 3N 5 53 3N 14 71 3N 15 73 3N 15 73 3N 6 55 3N 5 53 3N 1 45 2 18 40 2 22 44 3N 2 47 3N 2 47 3N 1 45 2 21 43 3N 3 49 3N 1 45 2 11 33 2 16 38 2 13 35 2 12 34 2 18 40 2 17 39 2 14 36 2 22 44
Rotherham Sheffield United Sheffield Wed Tier Pos Nat Rank Tier Pos Nat Rank Tier Pos Nat Rank 2 2 18 1 12 12 2 15 31 1 10 10 1 12 12 2 12 28 1 6 6 1 8 8 2 15 31 1 12 12 1 7 7 1 2 2 1 6 6 1 1 1 1 5 5 1 16 16 1 18 18 1 2 2 2 1 19 1 14 14 1 8 8 1 10 10 1 9 9 1 4 4 1 1 1 1 7 7 1 1 1 1 6 6 1 9 9 1 13 13 1 3 3 1 4 4 1 13 13 1 17 17 1 5 5 1 12 12 1 5 5 1 6 6 1 11 11 1 9 9 1 6 6 1 14 14 1 5 5 1 15 15 1 3 3 1 10 10 1 18 18 1 6 6 1 7 7 2 17 39 1 14 14 1 22 22 2 19 41 1 20 20 2 10 32 2 16 38 1 11 11 2 10 32 2 21 43 1 10 10 2 8 30 3N 4 51 1 5 5 2 8 30 3N 22 87 1 14 14 2 14 36 3N 14 71 1 5 5 2 1 23 3N 19 81 1 8 8 1 16 16 3N 14 71 1 13 13 1 14 14 3N 16 75 1 11 11 1 1 1 3N 20 83 1 20 20 1 1 1 3N 14 71 1 15 15 1 3 3 3N 19 81 1 7 7 1 3 3 3N 17 77 1 10 10 1 3 3 3N 21 85 1 22 22 1 11 11 3N 9 61 2 11 33 1 3 3 3N 11 65 2 3 25 1 20 20 3N 17 77 2 7 29 1 22 22 6 55 2 3 25 2 17 39 3N 3N 11 65 2 2 24 2 3 25 3N 2 47 1 6 6 2 20 42 3N 2 47 1 12 12 2 4 26 3N 2 47 1 22 22 2 8 30 3N 6 55 2 3 25 2 2 24 3N 1 45 2 8 30 1 21 21 2 9 31 2 11 33 2 1 23 2 12 34 2 1 23 1 18 18 2 5 27 1 20 20 1 19 19 2 3 25 1 13 13 1 22 22 2 19 41 1 22 22 2 1 23 2 17 39 2 7 29 1 14 14 2 18 40 2 6 28 1 22 22
total in that Wednesday were top South Yorkshire league team 57 times and United 50 times. However Barnsley became the top team in 2010-11 and 2011-12 before Wednesday re-emerged top last season. The longest run of local success was by Wednesday in the 11 seasons from 1979-80 to 1989-90. The average league position for each team is as follows: Sheffield Weds: 21st over 110 seasons Sheffield United: 22nd over 110 seasons Barnsley: 43rd over 104 seasons Rotherham: 55th over 90 seasons Rovers: 64th over 86 seasons The lowest league position for the top team was in 1979-80 - the only season when all 5 teams were outside of the top 2 Divisions. Wednesday finished 3rd in Division 3 for a national ranking of 47th.
Season 1958-59 1959-60 1960-61 1961-62 1962-63 1963-64 1964-65 1965-66 1966-67 1967-68 1968-69 1969-70 1970-71 1971-72 1972-73 1973-74 1974-75 1975-76 1976-77 1977-78 1978-79 1979-80 1980-81 1981-82 1982-83 1983-84 1984-85 1985-86 1986-87 1987-88 1988-89 1989-90 1990-91 1991-92 1992-93 1993-94 1994-95 1995-96 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13
Barnsley Doncaster Rovers Rotherham Sheffield United Sheffield Wed Tier Pos Nat Rank Tier Pos Nat Rank Tier Pos Nat Rank Tier Pos Nat Rank Tier Pos Nat Rank 2 22 44 3 22 66 2 20 42 2 3 25 2 1 23 3 17 61 4 17 85 2 8 30 2 4 26 1 5 5 3 8 52 4 11 79 2 15 37 2 2 24 1 2 2 3 20 64 4 21 89 2 9 31 1 5 5 1 6 6 3 18 62 4 16 84 2 14 36 1 10 10 1 6 6 3 20 64 4 14 82 2 7 29 1 12 12 1 6 6 3 24 68 4 9 77 2 14 36 1 19 19 1 8 8 4 16 84 4 1 69 2 7 29 1 9 9 1 17 17 4 16 84 3 23 67 2 18 40 1 10 10 1 11 11 4 2 70 4 10 78 2 21 43 1 21 21 1 19 19 3 10 54 4 1 69 3 11 55 2 9 31 1 15 15 3 7 51 3 11 55 3 14 58 2 6 28 1 22 22 3 12 56 3 23 67 3 8 52 2 2 24 2 15 37 3 22 66 4 12 80 3 5 49 1 10 10 2 14 36 21 65 1 14 14 2 10 32 4 14 82 4 17 85 3 4 13 81 4 22 90 4 15 83 1 13 13 2 19 41 4 15 83 4 17 85 4 3 71 1 6 6 2 22 44 4 12 80 4 10 78 3 16 60 1 22 22 3 20 64 4 6 74 4 8 76 3 4 48 2 11 33 3 8 52 4 7 75 4 12 80 3 20 64 2 12 34 3 14 58 4 4 72 4 22 90 3 17 61 2 20 42 3 14 58 3 11 55 4 12 80 3 13 57 3 12 56 3 3 47 3 2 46 4 3 71 3 1 45 3 21 65 2 10 32 2 6 28 3 19 63 2 7 29 4 1 69 2 4 26 2 10 32 3 23 67 2 20 42 3 11 55 2 6 28 2 14 36 4 2 70 3 18 62 3 3 47 2 2 24 2 11 33 3 14 58 3 12 56 2 18 40 1 8 8 2 12 34 3 11 55 3 14 58 2 7 29 1 5 5 14 58 2 9 31 1 13 13 2 11 33 3 13 57 3 2 13 34 3 24 68 3 21 65 2 21 41 1 11 11 2 7 27 4 23 91 4 1 69 3 2 46 1 15 15 2 19 39 4 20 88 3 9 53 2 2 22 1 18 18 2 8 28 4 11 79 3 23 67 1 13 13 2 3 23 2 16 38 4 21 89 4 2 70 1 9 9 1 3 3 2 13 35 4 16 84 3 11 55 1 14 14 1 7 7 2 18 40 4 15 83 3 15 59 1 20 20 1 7 7 2 6 28 4 9 77 3 17 61 2 8 30 1 13 13 2 10 30 4 13 81 3 16 60 2 9 29 1 15 15 2 2 22 4 19 87 3 23 67 2 5 25 1 7 7 1 19 19 4 24 92 4 9 77 2 6 26 1 16 16 2 13 33 5 16 108 4 5 73 2 8 28 1 12 12 2 4 24 5 12 104 4 2 70 2 16 36 1 19 19 2 16 36 5 9 101 3 2 46 2 10 30 2 17 37 2 23 43 5 4 96 2 21 41 2 13 33 2 20 40 3 19 63 5 3 95 2 15 35 2 3 23 2 22 42 3 12 56 4 1 69 2 17 37 2 8 28 3 16 60 3 13 57 3 10 54 2 24 44 2 8 28 3 5 49 3 5 49 3 8 52 3 20 64 2 2 22 2 19 39 2 20 40 3 11 55 3 23 67 1 18 18 2 9 29 2 18 38 3 3 47 4 9 77 2 9 29 2 16 36 2 20 40 2 14 34 4 14 82 2 3 23 2 12 32 2 18 38 2 12 32 4 5 73 2 8 28 2 22 42 2 17 37 2 21 41 4 9 77 2 23 43 3 15 59 10 78 3 3 47 3 2 46 2 21 41 2 24 44 4 2 21 41 3 1 45 4 2 70 3 5 49 2 18 38
On the other hand, in the 83 seasons since all 5 were in the League pyramid Rovers have been the lowest placed team on 43 occasions with Rotherham next with 30 wooden spoon seasons, Barnsley 9 and Sheffield United once in 1981-82 - a position which may well be repeated this season. Rovers have the longest run finishing as the lowest team during all of the 17 seasons from 1987-88 to 2003-04. Interestingly there have been 7 occasions when the lowest ranking club has enjoyed a better league position than Wednesdayâ€™s local top of 47th in 1979-80, including 5 seasons where all 5 teams have been in the 2 top Divisions. The wooden spoonists in these 5 seasons were Rotherham (41st in1955-56), Barnsley (41st in 1956-57, 42nd in 1951-52 and 44th in 1952-53) and Rovers (44th in 1957-58).
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WINDMILLS OF YOUR MIND CONTINUED FROM PAGES 30 AND 31 The changes in fortunes of the last few years seem to give good grounds for John Ryan’s recent suggestion that the balance of power in South Yorkshire is shifting away from the Sheffield clubs. Not only were Barnsley the top team 2 and 3 years ago, but also Rovers were 2nd in 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12. This is significant because this is the first time Rovers have been higher than third – not even in any of our old second Division days of the 1950’s did we manage this. On the other side of the coin, after 107 years of having the top club, neither Sheffield club were in the first two in 2010-11 and 2011-12. It is interesting to compare the above picture of relative league positions of the five South Yorkshire clubs with performances in the Sheffield & Hallamshire FA County Cup, a competition played between the 5 clubs from its inaugural season 1920-21 to the last final played in May 1993. By the way, this competition is not the same as the Sheffield Senior Challenge Cup in which Rovers competed during our Conference years playing teams like Brodsworth Colliery, Yorkshire Main. The Sheffield & Hallamshire FA County Cup was played a total of 58 times between 1921 and 1993, with the honours roll for outright winners thus: Sheffield United: 21 times Sheffield Wednesday: 11 times Barnsley: 10 times Rotherham: 8 times Rovers: 7 times
The eagle-eyed amongst you will see that is a total 57 winners. In the other season, 1938-39, the final between Sheffield United and Wednesday was drawn, and some minor military skirmishes in Poland meant the replay was never organized – the trophy was shared. In fact the tournament was actually played throughout the years of the Second World War, with Rovers winning the trophy in 1940-41. So the even more eagle-eyed will see that only 58 winners in 72 years means in a significant number of seasons where there was no competition, or in some cases an unfinished one. In particular there were only three competitions completed after the 198182 season. Clubs were obliged to pay the S&H Football Association a fee for not participating, and this was done with increasing frequency. It is interesting to note that although the Sheffield clubs won 33 of the 58 completed competitions, the dominance of the pair in terms of League positions during those seasons was far less than 100% – probably a sign of the lower priority they afforded to it. In the 6 times Rovers won outside of the wartime success (seasons 1935-36, 1937-38, 1955-56, 1967-68, 1975-76 and 1985-86, we finished 3rd, 4th, 3rd, 5th, 4th and 4th respectively in relative league positions between the five clubs. So Rovers have consistently been the Cinderella of South Yorkshire clubs, and maybe this is just one more reason to enjoy the Ball we have been having over the last few years.
Caveat - no figures quoted in this article are official. Dutch Uncle uses many sources including club handbooks, Rothmans/Sky annuals, and Official Rovers History by Bluff & Watson. For definitive data the reader is referred to Tony Bluff and/or Barry Watson. 32 | PS68 | Jan-Feb 2014 | a football fanzine for the likes of Doncaster
MEMORABLE MEMORABILIA CONTINUING OUR NEW SERIES ON CHOICE CLUB MEMORABILIA, JACK PEAT WAXES LYRICAL ABOUT HIS FAVOURITE ROVERS SHIRT At the start of the 1999/2000 season there was the usual air of subdued optimism surrounding Belle Vue. The Westferry Consortium had invested in the club bringing in Ryan and his communist-esque 10 year plan. With aspirations of second tier football we were still a non-league club, but one with aspirations. Football shirts are a reflection of a clubâ€™s ambitions and the Beazer Homes sponsored shirt on the backs of Simon Marples and Jamie Price was a poignant symbol of our status. The shirt was bold red and dynamic blue which oozed ambition, but it was a sowed patchwork symbolic of non-league conditions. No one knew how the team would fare that season, but one thing was for sure; some old dear had spent the summer ironing Beazer Homes sponsorship and sewing Viking badges on the front of Doncaster Rovers kits.
Little would she know, sat surrounded by sponsorship squares and an ironing board, that one day Rovers squads would be wearing sock sponsorship. She was blissfully unaware that Beazer would be replaced by lucrative sponsorship deals such as Ledger Mobility, who fought off a multi (county) insurance firm who can sort your insurance in a single call in a sponsored round robin. As a youngster, the Beazer Homes era reflected the start of Doncaster Rovers the brand. The club, slowly but surely, built on solid ground and became a proud part of the civic landscape. Red and white hoops soon followed with big (ish) signings and league success in tow. The early Rovers millennials had become the Beazer gnomes, as we drifted from a pub team to a professional outfit.
We are keen to keep this feature ticking on, so if youâ€™d like to tell us about your favourite item of Rovers memorabilia then please get in touch via the details on page 2..
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BLOWING MY OWN TRUMPET EDITOR GLEN WILSON TAKES A LOOK AT THE NOTION OF ‘PASSION’ IN FOOTBALL PLAYERS & MANAGERS With the former German international Thomas Hitzlsperger, and then Gainsborough Trinity’s Liam Davies, bravely taking the decision to publically state their homosexuality last week there was much subsequent mumbling about how the macho, laddish world of football would handle the news. The fear was that most footballers and football fans wouldn’t be able to handle the concept of someone in their midst who wouldn’t flick through a copy of Nuts magazine pointing at the pages grunting “Bang that”. The thing is though, men’s football is already one of the most metro-sexual environments there is? Don’t believe me, let me explain why in one word; ‘passion’. We may be painted as cave-woman clubbing Neanderthals, but no-one else pursues passion – an intense emotion, a compelling desire - with the vigour of football fans.
If it were passion in the truest sense that we were calling up football phone-ins to deplore a lack of then that would be a truly beautiful thing to see delivered. “Dave from Moorends is on the line calling for more passion from the manager, what do you want to see from Paul Dickov Dave?” “Yes, I want to see passion. I want to see a look in the eye that shows he really cares. I want to see him lightly caressing the neck of the fourth official. I want to see him smashing up an art studio. I want to see him in black and white, backed by piano music, running across a rain soaked bridge towards a desperate embrace with Brian Horton against a backdrop of a monochrome New York night. So, I guess it’s a grumble really Rob.” Of course footballers don’t deliver passion in such a romantic manner. If the tabloids have taught us anything it is that when it comes to matters of the opposite (or same, Thomas, Liam) sex footballers don’t do passion. They do romps. Usually with a ‘busty beauty’ and occasionally with commentary from Chris Brown. Would you be able to deliver passion with a six foot Teesider chuntering away in the corner of the room whilst you’re in the act? No, and neither can they. So they stick to romps.
Nowhere else outside of a failing relationship is a lack of passion so openly lamented. We will tell all that we are in “desperate need for some bloody passion”. We will yell at the field for people to “just show some passion for Christ’s sake”, and ultimately choose to stick the knife in by decreeing that those we care for are “showing no passion, no fight, no desire”. Out of context we sound like a monologue from a suburban housewife in a Victoria Wood sketch. 34 | PS68 | Jan-Feb 2014 | a football fanzine for the likes of Doncaster
So what do we mean by passion, and how do we quantify it? In a managerial sense it is slightly easier to determine; you just need to run through the managers that supposedly do show passion on the sideline – Martin O’Neil, Alan Pardew, Paulo Di Canio – to realise that the answer is, they basically need to act like a bit of a cock. You can be as technically proficient and as tactically astute as you like, but at the end of the day (another phrase favoured by those who call up phone-ins) if you’re not displaying the signs of oncoming mental illness in front of your dugout then you’re just not passionate enough. At some point in our lives we’ve all crossed the street, or got off the bus few stops earlier than normal to avoid a person who, though we are not neurological experts, determined to be not of sound mind. All the traits that borderline psychopath will have displayed to force you turn and head in another direction, are what constitutes ‘passion’ in a football manager. Shouting and swearing. Pointing at nothing in particular with fierce insistence. A belief in an underhand conspiracy against them and everything connected with them. Hurling inanimate objects about. Berating any type of official in earshot. And then duly pleading ignorance and disbelief that they have actually done anything untoward. It’ll get you kicked out the first bar you set foot in on a Saturday night, but it’ll win you much support as a football manager. In players it is much harder to determine, mainly because they will insist on running about all the time,
That’s the stuff Paul; chase him and secondly because they are much further away from the stands. I’ve seen people say of players on messageboards “he showed more passion this week”. How can you tell? Is it in his stance? Did he have an erection? Is it in the facial expression, does he play each pass with a look on his face that suggests he’s at the vinegar strokes? It could be any of those things, it’s probably none. Passionate players it seems are those who point and yell a lot, and they get extra marks if they gurn to the South Stand imploring for noise by either beating their chest or waving their arms about. Interestingly passion doesn’t win titles, but it supposedly can prove the difference between staying up or being relegated, as if tactics and actual footballing ability lose significance once you get to say fourteenth position in the table. So forget your solid banks of four, your false 9s and your tika-taka. If we’re going to stay in this division what we need is Paul Dickov to be sectioned and eleven shaven headed ‘warriors’ clutching the crest on their shirt whilst screaming “Come on, let’s have it!” at the South Stand. We can’t fail.
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SEASONS IN RETROSPECT EPISODE 3 OF RAY JEST’S LOOK BACK AT ROVERS’ 1974-75 SEASON TAKES US FROM DECEMBER THROUGH TO FEBRUARY A poor start to the 1974-75 season has seen Rovers struggling at the wrong end of Division 4, and brought the end of Maurice Setters time as manager. John Quigley is in temporary charge and having squeezed past Oswestry Town in the FA Cup he looks to get Doncaster’s season back on track. DECEMBER John Quigley’s first taste of success in the League was a home game against Hartlepool United. In front of an attendance of 1,357 Rovers ran out 3-0 winners with two goals from O’Callaghan and one from Kitchen. Despite the win Doncaster were still 3rd bottom of the league but with the teams below them dropping points they now had a three point advantage over next-placed Scunthorpe. The FA Cup came next and a trip to face Third Division Chesterfield at Saltergate. Unfortunately, in a tense and tight game, The Spireites ran out 1-0 victors in front of a crowd of 5,267, with their scorer a certain Ernie Moss who would play a significant part in Rovers’ future several seasons later. An injury to Ray Ternent caused Quigley to move into the transfer market and Les Chappell was drafted in from Reading in time to play in the home game against Cambridge United. Rovers failed to get to grips with windy conditions
and throughout the game never really tested the Cambridge keeper. As such it was no surprise when Cambridge took the lead on 53 minutes through Tully. Rovers never stopped trying though and were rewarded in the dying minutes when the referee awarded them a penalty for handball. Irvine stepped up to take the kick but a brilliant diving save from Cambridge keeper Smith ensured they left with all two points. Spotland was to be Rovers next stop, and it would prove to be another bleak away day as two goals just before half time from Fielding and Hutchinson sealed victory for Rochdale. The defeat was made even worse with the sending of off Alan Murray who was booked for a foul and then dismissed for arguing with the referee. Even so Rovers 10 men still never gave up trying. Back at Belle Vue Rovers entertained Southport and with 1,356 in attendance fought out a 1-1 draw as Les Chappell scored his first goal in a Rovers shirt after 15 minutes. Leading for over an hour Donny
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failed to capitalise and were hit with a sucker punch after 82 minutes when Taylor equalised for the visitors.
JANUARY Scunthorpe’s Old Show Ground was the first to host Rovers in 1975 and though there were no goals there was plenty of incident in a hard fought battle. Scunthorpe’s Collier had a goal disallowed for offside in the first half which the home side controlled. In the second half it was Rovers who dominated play but the nearest they got to scoring was when a short range effort from Kitchen came back of the bar to Chappell whose follow up was cleared of the line. They wouldn’t have any more luck in their next away game at Hartlepool as a goal from Uzelac was not enough to save Rovers from a 2-1 defeat. Rovers were still 3rd from bottom but the chasing two had gained some ground with Workington only below Rovers on Goal average whist Scunthorpe were three points adrift at the bottom. The future didn’t look to hold much promise either with promotion chasing Reading Rovers’ next opponents ay Belle Vue. Doncaster played well against a strong Reading side and had deservedly gone ahead in the 53rd minute through O’Callaghan who after taking a neat return pass from Curran easily beaten the Reading keeper. Just as it looked as if Rovers would get both points a mistake by Carver allowed Reading striker Robin Friday to nip in and score his
thirteenth goal of the season. Rovers had been robbed again. Rovers next game was also at Belle Vue, a South Yorkshire derby against local rivals Barnsley. In a tense game the spoils were shared in a 1-1 draw. Barnsley were by far the better team in a one sided first half and took the lead through Peachey who hammered in a low shot which Rovers goalkeeper Brown allowed to slip under him. Barnsley miss several good chances after this and should have had the game in their pockets, but their poor finishing cost them dearly as in the 69th minute Kitchen, who had replaced Higgins, salvaged a point for the home side.
FEBRUARY Dropping points at home had not done Rovers any favours and they travelled to Shrewsbury Town’s Gay Meadow lying in 23rd spot in the table. Only Scunthorpe were below Rovers now and just one point behind at that. Scoring four goals away from home is ordinarily indicative of victory, but not so for Rovers, who conspired to lose 7-4. Shrewsbury were 2-0 up at half time, thanks to a Harwood brace, but no one in the ground expected the goal rush that would happen in the second half. Firstly after 49 minutes Kitchen pulled a goal back for Rovers, but Shrewsbury responded with two goals from Bates and one from McGregor to lead 5-1. Then it was Rovers turn, with goals from Reed, Curran and Kitchen bringing it
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back to 5-4. The game was by now wide open but Shrewsbury sealed the win with goals from Harwood and McGregor in the 87th and 90th minutes. On Monday the 3rd of February Rovers unveiled their new manager, none other than Stan Anderson. The Evening Post headline read “We Shunned 64 to Sign Up Stan”. It was hailed as a great coup to get Anderson on board, and George Rayner, Rovers’ Chairman, told the paper that even as Anderson was signing there were representatives from Newcastle United and York City knocking on the door wanting to speak to him.
In an interview with Joe Slater in the local press Anderson said he had come to Rovers as he felt there was great potential at the club, and to the fans he said “My only message is that we must do better than just improve things. We must look further ahead than simply to get out of the bottom four” In response chairman Mr Rayner told the press “We decided that we had to have a football team at Doncaster or pack it in. We believe we have the right man to lift the team.”
Find out how Stan Anderson gets on in the next issue of popular STAND
The Donny Comet Extra STEVE EVANS STUCK IN TRANSFER WINDOW Football’s annual flurry of January transfer activity has ground to a halt after Rotherham United manager and part-time eye make-up model Steve Evans became stuck in the Transfer Window. The over-sized opinionated loud mouth is believed to have become trapped in the window on Thursday as he tried to reach a half-eaten cocktail sausage someone had left on the ledge. All transfer activity has now ceased until the vast Scotsman can be dislodged from the frame, though early attempts to remove him utilising greased up brown envelopes are believed to have failed.
The Comet believes that rescue teams are now considering deflation as a serious option. With Evans stuck-fast, representatives of the Premier League have called on the Football Association to make a temporary Transfer Patio Door available to them in the interim. The FA have thus far rejected this approach and have placed an embargo on such a door, the embargo is made of long strips of different coloured material. An eye-witness told the Comet “It’s quite amazing, he really is wedged stuck in there; it’s like someone has tried pushing a beachball through a letterbox.”
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