EDITORIAL Friends, Rovers, Doncastrians... As wary as I am of these Editorials becoming somewhat formulaic let me begin once again by thanking you for purchasing this latest issue of popular STAND. Without your keen purchase we’d just be mad blokes clutching paper and yelling at strangers. Like back-bench MPs at Prime Minister’s Questions. No-one wants that. So again, thank you. Issue 57 offers something of a milestone for me personally as it marks a year since I took over the reigns of Editor from Nathan and Lucy. At lot has happened since March 2011, indeed when I wrestled control of the ‘zine from the Batchelors in that bloody three-day stand-off known in the popular STAND office as ‘The Great Adjustment’ I certainly didn’t envisage writing editorials at 4am having just returned home from a night shift in Scarborough. But then
I would probably have perceived that more likely than the content of my editorial referring to Doncaster players El-Hadji Diouf and Pascal Chimbonda. It has been a decidedly odd twelve months. In that past year I have tried to establish a solid fanzine team and it’s been with genuine delight that we’ve been able to tempt the trio of John Coyle, Matt Clift and Jack the Miner out from their fanzine writing wilderness and back onto these pages. I have also attempted to nudge the fanzine forwards whilst also embracing its heritage, which is why we have begun to establish an online archive of popular STAND fanzine. So far the archive includes issues 52-55, but we hope to add all previous issues over the coming months, so please if you have the time, do go online and view what we have done so far and let us know your thoughts. Details of the fanzine website and our presence on Facebook and Twitter can be found on page 14 of this issue. One of the joys of editing the fanzine is I get to be the first to read everyone’s copy, and I was delighted to find in John Coyle’s article (page 24) a quotation from Eamon Dunphy’s
ISSUE 57 // CONTENTS 03. Editorial 06. Previously at the Rovers 10. Do They Mean Us? 12. There’s Only Two Donny Rovers 15. Where Were You When We Were Shit? 16. Seasons in Retrospect 19. In Off The Postbag popularSTAND // ISSUE 57 // MARCH 2012
20. To Lindum and Back 22. Jack The Miner’s Coalface 23. Who is Rovers’ Mystery Investor? 24. Voice of the Pop Side 26. Windmills of Your Mind 29. Sounding Out The Belles 30. Blowing My Own Trumpet 34. Trumpet Man’s Song Book
Only a Game?, partly because it’s years since I read the book, but also because it was an aptly selected passage. I won’t spoil John’s work by repeating it here, but the crux of it is that the general mood of a club or player, as well as their perception from outside, is framed by their last result. If you want to see this theory in action the you only have to look at the contributing articles to this edition of the fanzine and note the difference in mood and tone between those submitted after the draw with Peterborough (pages 15 and 20) and those sent in after last week’s results against Forest and West Ham (pages 10 and 24). All represent reasoned and considered contributions to the ‘zine from grounded individuals, but the boost a couple of good results can give is noticeable even here. The victory at the City Ground and point well earned at Upton Park have revived hope amongst Rovers supporters you would have been hard-pressed to find after the matches against Blackpool, Leeds and Peterborough. But then that is the nature of football support, and certainly apparent in sections of Rovers support these last few years. Emotions list wildly from one extreme end of the spectrum to another; we’re awful, we’re doomed, we destined for the drop one week, we’re brilliant, we’re heroic, we’re staying up and we’ll be kicking on for the play-offs the next. It can be hard to keep up. In the wake of the West Ham game I saw a post on one of the Rovers messageboards which said “Credit to the board and McKay as clearly the ‘experiment’ is working”. Yes Rovers had achieved a good result, a second one in five days, but can a couple of good results really be taken as a sound reflection of the club’s operating
policy? Especially as that infers that just a fortnight previously the ‘experiment’ wasn’t working at all as Rovers capitulated to Leeds and then handed a point to Peterborough. My view on the McKay ‘experiment’ is that it cannot be judged upon results achieved on the pitch as this is too subjective. How do we know the team is better placed to remain in the Championship now than it’d be had Sean O’Driscoll not been asked to clear his desk? The simple answer, without returning to that unsavoury debate again is that we don’t. So the only way to judge the McKay ‘experiment’ as it has been dubbed, is to do so against the terms on which it was first sold to us; its aims and objectives, and the manner in which it intended to deliver them. The method, we were told was being embraced in an effort to lower the wage bill, as McKay himself put it to press at the time; They have a wage bill of £8m a year and want it reduced to £4m.” He aimed to achieve this aim by bringing in loan players, showcasing their ‘talents’ in a short-term spell in the Rovers team, and then making money from any subsequent move; “In every squad there are two or three good players who aren’t getting a game for whatever reason. We’ll take them, put them in the shop window and sell them on with sell-on fees.” If the plan hinged on making money from sell-on fees then it certainly is not working, as the only club to have shown an interest in the players Doncaster Rovers have taken on loan is Doncaster Rovers. We’re our own best customers. Both Habib Beye and Herita Ilunga came to Rovers from other sides, were released by their parent clubs, and promptly signed by Rovers. El-Hadji Diouf too fits this popularSTAND // ISSUE 57 // MARCH 2012
category to an extent, having supposedly turned down moves to Russia and LA to remain in Doncaster, something we’ve all done from time to time. Marc-Antoine Fortune put in impressive performances whilst here on loan, but his subsequent progress into the West Brom first team highlights something that the ‘experiment’ seemingly failed to account for. If players really did excel in the ‘shop window’, then their existing employers may want to take them off display. And as for Herold Goulon if he was putting himself in the shop window, then he was playing the role of the ‘Closed’ sign. Since the arrival of McKay and Saunders Rovers have brought in 15 new players, and as much as the club likes to trumpet the fact that they’re not earning more than £2,000 per week; its worth remembering that each £2,000 is an additional £2,000. The only reason the figures are close to balancing or even subsiding a little in terms of the wage bill, is the departure of the £12,000 per week striker Billy Sharp. It is worth remembering that the club attempted to retain Sharp by offering him and even bigger deal prior to his departure. Had he accepted then the club certainly would not be cutting the wage-bill. Quite the opposite. Indeed, for a club looking to save money, Rovers seem to be increasingly generous in their recruitment of players. Lamine Diatta was brought in as temporary cover in the Autumn, which though he did not feature, was completely understandable. The additional deal he signed in January however was completely unnecessary. Also in January Dean Saunders proclaimed the arrival of Damien popularSTAND // ISSUE 57 // MARCH 2012
Plessis and Fabien Robert as signings “for the future”, something of an unnecessary luxury to be paying out for when the division in which that future resides was yet unclear. And then just last week Saunders encouraged John Ryan to make funds available to re-sign Herita Ilunga, despite having five other full-backs at his disposal. There is of course no doubting the talent of some of the players that have joined Rovers since Dean Saunders took control of the team; Diouf in particular is a class above the rest of this division, whilst Beye’s composure also stands out. But the players’ ability has never really been in question, and so cannot really serve as an endorsement, or, for folk like Goulon, as a defamation, of the McKay experiment, in the same way that isolated results cannot. The experiment can though be judged against its own mandate, and on its own terms and ideals it appears to be failing. And if you don’t want to take my word for it, you could always take that of McKay himself, from his January interview with the official club website; The way I intended it was for Doncaster to have a financial end product through me bringing players to the club and eventually selling them on but it hasn’t exactly happened like that. Before I leave you to roam free through this fanzine as nature intended,I must mention the fella leaning unimpressed from our masthead. In Issue 56 I delightedly told of how we’d been informed of the guy’s actual name; “Brian Glover from Wheatley”. He isn’t Brian Glover at all, he’s Bernard Glover. To the Glover family, to the people of Wheatley, and to you, I apologise unreservedly. Viva Rovers. GW
PREVIOUSLY AT THE ROVERS popular STAND's regular diary feature gets you up to speed on events concerning Doncaster Rovers since Issue 56 was forced upon you by one of our uncompromising fanzine sellers.
Saturday 14th January
Doncaster Rovers 0-0 Cardiff City
Rovers acquit themselves well against a strong Cardiff City, and have arguably the better of what few chances the game produces. El HadjiDiouf coming the closest to finding a breakthrough early in the second half.
Tuesday 17th January
The Rovers official website produces an interview with that lovely man Willie McKay. “It was a very fair interview,” commented one fan on the VSC web forum afterwards. Pravda was similarly fair in regards to its coverage of the Soviet Union.
Saturday 21st January
Bristol City 2-1 Doncaster Rovers
A disappointing defeat to fellow relegation candidates Bristol City is compounded by the sending-off of Habib Beye. The centre-back is dismissed for an ill-thought out twofooted lunge near the corner flag and will miss the next three games. Chris Wood and Kalifa Cisse give City a 2-0 half-time lead, but despite being down to ten men for the final hour of the game Rovers do pull a goal back with a Diouf header.
Tuesday 24th January
In the wake of Saturday’s defeat at Bristol City Rovers make a poorly judged PR decision with an ‘article’ on the official club website titled “Which deserved a red card?” showing video
footage of the challenge which saw Habib Beye dismissed and a foul on Jamie Coppinger from Saturday’s game. Meanwhile on the VSC forum director Gareth Thomas is posting on behalf of John Ryan who “would like Rovers fans support tonight - as he is on the warpath re the poor ref decision against Copps, the lack of quality refs we have had to endure for a long time and the need to voice our discontent yet again.” It’s all cringingly paranoid and parochial. In terms of the challenges that have so ired Ryan and the club? Well for our money it’s a caution at the most for the challenge on Coppinger and a red card for Habib Beye, and one of the fanzine team is a qualified referee… but then what do we know?
Thursday 26th January
Four members of the club’s board step down from their respective positions, including financial backers Dick Watson and Terry Bramall. Watson is reportedly advised to resign for medical reasons, and as he leaves the board so too do his son and daughter; Andrew Watson and Sarah Kell. The departure of the board members sees Ryan become, in his own words, “the last man standing”.
Monday 30th January
The inevitable becomes a reality as Billy Sharp moves to Southampton. The forward joins the Saints on a three and a half year deal, though popularSTAND // ISSUE 57 // MARCH 2012
the figure is undisclosed, it is thought to match the release clause on his contract, a figure most commonly reported as £1.85million.
Tuesday 31st January
Hull City 0-0 Doncaster Rovers
Rovers grind out a goalless draw at the KC Stadium with an impressive rear-guard action that causes the home side to be booed off by some sections of the Tigers support. You’d think they’d just be glad of a couple of hours escaping the streets of Hull.
Thursday 2nd February
Six weeks after the club heralded Diouf ’s new 18 month contract that he hadn’t actually committed to, the forward does actually put pen to paper. Diouf extends his stay at Rovers until the summer at least.
Friday 3rd February
“Game on” proclaims the Rovers’ official website boldly laughing in the face of sub-zero temperatures and their know effects on football pitches. They back-peddle a little beneath the title to announce that tomorrow’s match with Reading will be on, unless we have poor overnight weather. Which is helpful. Still. Game on.
Saturday 4th February
Doncaster Rovers P-P Reading
Game off. Turns out football pitches do freeze when it’s really cold. Who knew? Rovers match is postponed at 11am, leaving Reading fans at various distances along the motorway and rail network between Berkshire and South Yorkshire.
Wednesday 8th February
Your Club Needs You! Proclaims the official website as Rovers announce “the opportunity to become an honorary director for the day… popularSTAND // ISSUE 57 // MARCH 2012
The price for this once in a lifetime opportunity is £5,000+vat and will be sold on a first come first served basis”. For your money you get driven to the game by John Ryan in his Bentley (local pick-up only) and a Car-Park Bay at the Stadium, presumably JR fixes a tow-rope to his Bentley to take your vehicle for the journey home. At the ground you get welcomed by John Ryan (because he won’t talk when he’s driving) and if you think £5,000 is a lot of money, you’ve obviously not factored in the free team-sheet. In short, a decent enough idea but poorly pitched at the wrong demographic.
Saturday 11th February
Crystal Palace P-P Rovers
This is how you do it Rovers. Freezing temperatures in South London cause Palace to declare this game off on the Friday leaving us a whole day to plan in advance just how we’ll potter about forlornly for another weekend.
Monday 13th February
Habib Beye agrees to join the club on an eighteen-month deal, a surprisingly long contract given second tier safety is certainly far from guaranteed. If as reported Beye is on the magic figure of £2,000 per week then the move represents a 96% drop from the wages he was receiving at Aston Villa. The signing also brings the revelation from Doncaster Free Press reporter Paul Goodwin via Twitter that Beye spends much of the week at home in Marseilles rather than training with his team-mates in Doncaster and jets in for fixtures… which of course sounds perfectly normal practice.
Tuesday 14th February
Doncaster Rovers 1-3 Blackpool “I reckon Gary Taylor-Fletcher has played against Rovers in four
PREVIOUSLY AT THE ROVERS // CONTINUED different divisions you know,” I said to Matt. And within a minute the thickset veteran who looks more like the proprietor of an out-of-season fish and chip shop than a footballer promptly picked the ball up and meandered in slow-motion between what looked like half a dozen barbers poles planted in the ground, but sadly turned out to be Rovers defence, before slotting the ball into the net. It looked all too easy, and that’s because it was. Taylor-Fletcher faced meaner Rovers defences when he pitched up at Belle Vue with Northwich than he encountered here. Blackpool were 2-0 up and coasting, before Rovers were handed a life-line with a penalty before the break. El Hadji-Diouf scored it and duly celebrated as only he could, with a minor confrontation with the ‘Pool ‘keeper and a lengthy debate with the referee. Rumours after the game suggested there had been a further altercation between Diouf and Blackpool’s Matt Gilks in the tunnel at half-time. Rovers had a ray of hope dashed in the second half as Gilks pulled off a brilliant save from Martin Woods, but other than that Doncaster looked toothless in the final third, and Blackpool duly wrapped up the points with a third goal. To sum up in one word? Concerning.
Saturday 18th February
Leeds Utd 3-2 Doncaster Rovers ‘Managerless Leeds United’ became ‘Neil Warnock’s Leeds United’ on the morning of this game, enabling those of us who had long tried to be ambiguous in our feelings towards
Leeds to finally join the rest of the world in filing them in the drawer marked ‘hate’. Warnock was only watching on from the stands, a great vantage point to see Rovers take a surprise 1-0 lead as Mamadou Bagayoko opened the scoring; five words I never thought I’d ever write after the Notts County match. Rovers had already struck the woodwork through Habib Bamogo and would do so again as James Hayter rattled the bar, before Bagayoko struck again to put Rovers 2-0 ahead. Sadly, quicker than you could say “we just need to hold them out for as long as possible now” Leeds had pulled a goal back, and a late onslaught duly followed to the game’s conclusion. Adam Clayton drew United level ten minutes from time and then deep in stoppage time the home side won it with crushing inevitability as Luciano Bechio struck. The drama didn’t end there either with another tunnel fracas brought to an end by police intervention that saw both sides locked in their respective changing rooms for 90 minutes after the game. In the wake of this incident the Rovers perplexingly adopted the media tactics of the Iraqi Information Ministry as reported in The Star; “Manager Dean Saunders left the ground around 6pm and didn’t speak to the media on the advice of the club’s media manager Steve Uttley. Uttley, who denied that there had been any incident, also instructed the players not to speak to the media…”
Sunday 19th February
Some good news from the weekend at least as Mustapha Dumbuya is called up to represent Sierra Leone in their upcoming match against Sao Tome & Principe. Unfortunately for Dumbuya the Sierra Leone FA mistakenly send his flight tickets to Crystal Palace where the full-back had recently been popularSTAND // ISSUE 57 // MARCH 2012
on loan and he is subsequently unable to join up with the squad.
Thursday 23rd February
A post on the VSC web-forum suggests that there have been reports of the ghost of former tannoy-operator Ken Avis haunting the residents of Belle Vue; “Local resident Hilda Brown claims that Avis’s ghost once decided to sit himself at her dinner table, instructing her and her terrified budgie “Can all patrons please refrain from smoking in the living room.”
Saturday 25th February Doncaster Rovers 1-1 Peterborough United
Another game, another set of points disappearing in the wake of an injurytime goal. Having led courtesy of a Giles Barnes header for much of the game Rovers see two points dropped with the clang of a ship’s anchor as Tyrone Barnett heads a late equaliser.
Wednesday 29th February
The official club website announces the return of dance-troupe the Vikettes. We like to think they were rounded up from menial day jobs they’d taken to pay the rent, like a sort of low-budget more glitter heavy remake of The Blues Brothers. Either that or the club just projected a Cheerleader symbol into the night sky above the Keepmoat Stadium.
Saturday 3rd March
Doncaster Rovers 1-1 Brighton
A second 1-1 home draw in eight days for Rovers as they are held by Brighton at the Keepmoat. As is becoming customary for opposition managers Gus Poyet decided to blame the pitch for his side’s failure to beat Rovers. Is it really that bad a surface? I failed to realise the Amex had been carpeted with luxurious Persian rugs on our visit in August. popularSTAND // ISSUE 57 // MARCH 2012
Gary Taylor-Fletcher celebrates another order of Haddock
Tuesday 6th March
Forest 1-2 Doncaster Rovers
Freddie Piquionne signs for Rovers and announces his arrival in spectacular style with a thirty yard thunderbolt into the back of the Forest net, which Lee Camp is still trying to see. Continuing the madness Rovers go 2-0 up straight after the break as Kyle Bennett volleys in from close range. Dexter Blackstock pulled a goal back for Forest on the hour mark leaving Rovers fans half an hour to brace themselves for the inevitable, but mercifully it never comes and Doncaster hold on for an encouraging 2-1 win.
Saturday 10th March West Ham 1-1 Doncaster Rovers
So to East London, and West Ham start emphatically, Kevin Nolan scoring after nine minutes as the Hammers look set to dominate Rovers. However, Doncaster eventually find their feet and a second half goal from Jamie Coppinger secures a point which would have been wholly unexpected just seven days before.
DO THEY MEAN US? Jack the Miner peers through the fanzine’s net curtains to see what the rest of the Championship street is saying about Rovers. Sunday is my favourite day these days. When Rovers outperform, or match, the bigger boys it’s good to sit with a large pot of coffee and family a bag of Maltesers, read the press and tune in to our opponent’s forums to see them put a Rovers victory down to “a strangely subdued performance” by their own side. So, no surprises then to find that the energetic and promising display against Cardiff City was dismissed by Harry Gration as a consequence of Cardiff looking ‘tired’. An explanation was provided by Cardiff ’s assistant manager David Kerslake: It was “tiredness due to our midweek Carling Cup game against Palace”. I’ll avoid the rant about how it should be within the capability of highly paid, fit, wellhoned athletes to play two games in five days, but only because I don’t want to sound like my granddad. Some Cardiff fans found it hard to give Rovers credit, “I thought it was two points dropped instead of one gained in the circumstances. Yes we looked tired...” and predictably “...the pitch spoiled the game ...” although there was balance elsewhere that seems to be the majority view, “...City were poor and, if Doncaster didn’t quite “batter” us as manager Dean Saunders claimed, it looks pretty clear that the home team were the ones who came closer to claiming all three points...”
It was a cast iron certainty that Hull City’s fans would lash out at their failure to secure three points with the exception of another pitch excuse. It seems Hull FC ruined the KC Stadium pitch and denied City the opportunity to display their crisp passing football. However, most City fans seemed to accept that the solid wall that Rovers erected was a fair enough tactic and blamed their own side’s failings for the nil-nil outcome. There was even praise, of a reluctant kind for El Hadji Diouf, “I don’t like the guy, but I thought El-Hadji Diouf looked pretty good last night.” But then they go and spoil it all by referring to the game as ‘City v. Home of Jeremy Clarkson.’ You’d have thought that Peterborough who have gone into freefall of late might be pleased with a point from a last minute equaliser at the Keepmoat, but no. “No wonder we are looking over our shoulders. These tin pot teams are the ones we should be beating with our eyes shut.” A bit rude I thought. Despite the handbags at ten paces insults that were exchanged over Lewis Dunk, most Brighton supporters seemed to enjoy their day at the Keepmoat and were singing the praises of the stadium, the Rovers fans, the Lakeside and the beer. Gus Poyet wasn’t intent on joining the love-in; “Poyet tells BBC Sussex that the ‘horrendous’ pitch at the Keepmoat popularSTAND // ISSUE 57 // MARCH 2012
Stadium was the reason for a substandard performance in his side’s 1-1 draw with Doncaster.” Well he would wouldn’t he? The Forest forum was always destined to be a laugh a minute after the win there. It was only a question of how many times the phrase ‘the likes of Doncaster’ would be used... “We are struggling against Doncaster for Christ’s sake, only one chance in 45 minutes . We are f****** shocking at the minute. Doncaster for F**** sake. 0-0 half time against Doncaster for F**** sake.” It’s hard to fathom why losing to Rovers is such a shock and a blow to their sense of pride. After all they’ve had enough practice losing to us over the last few seasons. Not a single word of credit to Rovers. “Wrong team, wrong tactics” seems to be the reason Rovers left with three points, although you’d be a strange sort of football supporter not to enjoy some of the venom aimed at Steve Cotterill... “Cotterill , I hate your tactical ineptness, Your favoured style of play, Your overly positive demeanour... Your baffling team selection, Your farmer accent - Please find your way
Cotterill: Are you mocking my hair?
back to Bristol/Cheltenham/White Post Farm or wherever it is you came from... Your late substitutions, Your haircut, Your dress sense...You being at this club.” You know you’re in serious trouble as a football manager when the fans criticise your haircut. Despite an increasing dislike of Big Sam by the Hammers faithful there was plenty of optimism in the days before the game at West Ham, “with the likes of Watford and Doncaster ready to be ripped apart, an easy 6 pts at Upton Park.” Naturally there had to be a degree of shock not to have beaten little Donny by seven or eight. After all, Bobby Moore played for them. And Geoff Hurst. And Martin Peters. And Julian Dicks; “No panic yet, but worried, by all means. FFS... Doncaster at home.” But at least there was a sense of balance and some credit from the less blinkered Hammers; “Outplayed and outclassed at home to Palace, Watford and Doncaster”...“Doncaster outplayed us and were the only team to play football at the Boleyn today”...“As the game went on they were cutting us open.” Of course Big Sam was able to put things into perspective by explaining how his side failed to beat Rovers; “Vaz Te has scored in the first minute and I’m not sure what was wrong with it and then maybe we should have had a penalty with the handball, so decisions haven’t gone for us in this game...and then they got a bit of luck with the goal.” Allardyce. You made my Sunday. And by the way, your haircut is crap.
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THERE’S ONLY TWO DONNY ROVERS Those Australians have got a nerve, with their nice weather and their higher standard of living. Now they’ve cheekily formed themselves a ‘Doncaster Rovers’. We despatched Neil Tate to investigate. If you’re reading this you will most probably share my obsession for my hometown football club, Doncaster Rovers. What you may not know though, is that there’s another Doncaster Rovers. This one isn’t based in the North of England but rather the east of Australia, specifically in Melbourne, and a recent holiday afforded me the chance to visit the ‘other’ Rovers. Doncaster and Doncaster East are two suburbs on the outskirts of Melbourne and their local football soccer club is Doncaster Rovers. Whilst I can’t find a definite link between the names of the two clubs, a newspaper article calling the initial meeting to form a Doncaster soccer team, mentions in a footnote “Doncaster Rovers are a premier team in England”.
supporter) had other ideas however and e-mailed the club. She soon received a response from the club President, Peter Apostolopoulos, who very kindly offered to show us around. He told us to give him a call when we reached Melbourne. A few e-mails and text messages later and we had arranged to meet. Unfortunately Peter couldn’t meet us himself but asked John, one of the committee members to stand in for him. With Doncaster being so far out of the city, a bus was needed to get us there. After a ride of around 50 minutes we reached the last stop, the Pines Shopping Centre. A brief walk up the road found us at the entrance to Anderson Park where we found John in his car waiting for Gemma and
I had learned about the Aussie Rovers a while ago and as soon as we decided to head to Melbourne as part of our trip, I looked into taking in a game. Unfortunately the season runs from April to September and as we would be over there in January, a game wouldn’t be possible. With Doncaster being quite a way out of the city, I decided against spending what would be quite a chunk out of our short time there, just to see the outside of a football ground. Gemma (my wife and Coventry City
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Michael (Gemma assured me this was just a miscommunication and she doesn’t have another fella called Michael). John showed us around the ground, beginning with the clubhouse. As he opened the door I was greeted with a familiar sight on the far wall, a framed red and white, hooped shirt sent over by another Rovers fan soon after our 2007 Johnstones Paint Trophy victory. I had brought along a scarf as a small gift to the club and would like to think that will find a home alongside the shirt. John explained a little about the club history while stood in the clubhouse. It was formed in 1967 by Ray Shew and was originally based in Donvale but later moved to Anderson Park in Doncaster East. They currently play in the third tier of the Australian league pyramid but have recently spent a few seasons in the second tier (just one below the national A-League). While a few of the players do receive a small amount of money the club is an amateur one, and relies entirely on the donation of time from a small but dedicated team, including John. The home kit is a good old Aussie gold with green trim. They typically attract crowds of between 600 and 1000, somewhat more than I expected (and not dissimilar to the numbers the English Rovers we getting in the late 90′s). The clubhouse hosts a large number of functions each year but has suffered a number of fires, including one just several years ago when it had to be rebuilt. Perhaps most importantly the club run many junior teams with hundreds of children getting involved. This, popularSTAND // ISSUE 57 // MARCH 2012
along with the efforts of other clubs, will hopefully help to improve the popularity of the sport in Australia which, whilst increasing, is still very much in the shadow of other sports such as Aussie Rules and cricket. Anderson Park has three full size pitches allowing the junior sides to play on proper size pitches early on. The main pitch wasn’t exactly in billiard table condition but with 12 weeks until the new season starts, John explained there was still plenty of time to make it playable. Seeing a ball in the corner of the main pitch, I resisted the temptation to ask for a quick kick about as we walked up to the other pitches and instead posed for a couple of pictures on the sidelines, wearing of course, my own red and white Rovers shirt. We finished up with a look at the (surprisingly large) changing rooms before being offered a chance to meet the players who were due for a training session an hour or so later. Unfortunately we had to decline the offer as it was our last night in Melbourne and we still had to pack (and eat). This was probably for the
THERE'S ONLY TWO DONNY ROVERS // CONTINUED best though. If they had asked me to have a bit of a kick about, I would have no doubt shown up not only myself, but my country too. We can’t have them thinking us Pommies are no good at footy. Before leaving, John had one little surprise for me and very kindly gave me a shirt. I’ve since worn the shirt to the previous three home games: Blackpool, Peterborough and Brighton so I’m not sure it can yet be called the ‘lucky’ shirt. Walking back to the bus we spotted a massive club sign on the outside fence that we somehow missed on the way there and I stopped for a few pictures next to it.
particularly Peter for having us over and arranging the meeting, and especially to John for taking the time out of his day to show us around Anderson Park. John and Peter were keen to see if we could strike up any links between the two clubs (in addition to the name anyway) so please do let me know of any ideas you have. A six month fan exchange programme was my immediate thought. Finally, good luck to the team in the upcoming season and I’ll be keeping an eye out for their results.
Just a few thanks to sign off with. First off, thanks to Gemma for setting this in motion and indulging me in my little pilgrimage. I’d also like to record Neil poses in front of the Doncaster Rovers SC pitch a massive thanks to DRSC,
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Follow us on Twitter; @vivarovers Find our online home at; popularstand.tumblr.com popularSTAND // ISSUE 57 // MARCH 2012
WHERE WERE YOU WHEN WE WERE SHIT? If, as looks a distinct possibility, Rovers are relegated at the end of this season, it needn’t all be doom and gloom. For newer fans who have known only success and high-level football there are plenty of new experiences to look forward to as Mike Follows explains.
Home or away in the Championship, you can just about guarantee the same rubbish will be served up in concourses the length and breadth of the country. You know the sort of thing I’m talking about: Microwave burgers that look more like something that’s dropped out of the back end of a cow than meat cut from one. Rollover hotdogs. Which are usually tepid at best. Rubbish. But drop down a division or two and the local caterers offer an array of freshly griddled football fayre. With fried onions. Don’t get me wrong, some of it’s still rancid but at least it’s different. And who could ever forget the Pot Noodles at Farnborough?
A Warm Welcome
It seems that the higher up the football ladder we climb, the greater the proportion of neanderthal morons we encounter on the road. The supporters of smaller, close-knit clubs are by their very nature more discerning than the troglodytes who make a brainless decision to attach themselves to the nearest “big” club. Yes, Donny Whites if you have found someone to read this to you, I am talking about you. I’m not saying that there are no numpties around the lower league scene, but in general you’ll find a much more friendly welcome, a bit of mutual respect, popularSTAND // ISSUE 57 // MARCH 2012
and be able to have a friendly chat about the plight of the respective clubs over a pint before and after the match. Calling each other wankers and slating the town/county/country the opposition are from during the match however is of course par for the course.
Stadia With Character
I know it’s a bit hypocritical, coming form a standard concrete-bowl design at the Keepmoat but there’s something to be said for trips to Spotland, Griffin Park and Plainmoor. There’s something that feels right about standing in an old tin shed whilst watching 22 blokes scrapping for every point. There are also few feelings quite as satisfying as being close enough to the pitch to know that the linesman can hear you calling him a useless cretin for giving an offside when there are two players on the goal line.
Remember what this is? We used to do it sometimes and it felt pretty good. We’re a lot more likely to do it against the inferior opposition we meet in the lower echelons of the league. People like to watch a winning team so it could even put a few on the gate.
SEASONS IN RETROSPECT Continuing his look back at past Rovers campaigns Ray Jest turns his attention to the 1972-73 season. (this is the first half of a two-part piece to be concluded in issue 58)
If Rovers fans thought season 1971-72 had been a bad season then they were in for a rude awakening; the 1972-73 campaign rarely saw Rovers out of the division’s bottom six and it was not to be a season for the faint hearted. But let’s start during the close season and give a little insight as to what was happening during that time. Firstly there were quite a few staff changes, most notably as Jackie Bestall was let go. Bestall had joined Rovers after playing for Rotherham United and Grimsby Town and had been capped for England against Ireland when he was 35 years old. He became assistant manager at the Rovers in 1944 and in 1946 he took over as manager. In 1950 he left to take up the manager’s seat at Blackburn where he remained until 1955. Bestall returned to Rovers as Chief Scout in 1955-56 and was caretaker manager on many occasions over the years, notably after the sacking of Lawrie McMenemy. Also released was trainer Frank Marshall, who had been with the club for 14 years. Marshall joined Rovers as a player and after ending his playing career at the club stayed on as part of the training staff. Amongst the players to be released were Kevin Bird and Colin Clish along with several of the youth players. Clish had been released on a free transfer 12 months previously only
to be re-signed just two weeks later. This time there was to be no going back. As to new signings, there was much speculation and the local Doncaster Post had Rovers linked with several players. One report in particular stated manager Maurice Setters had been quoted £30,000 for a player Rovers had inquired about who was unsettled at the club; his name? Graeme Souness. But the biggest news of the close season involved Alick Jeffrey who was rumored to be training at the Rovers with a view to another comeback. The rumors were fuelled even further when it was announced Jeffrey had been granted a testimonial game. He would feature in an International XI playing against a Manchester City team. 8,000 fans turned out to watch the game which the International team won 4-3. Bobby Charlton scored first for the International XI before Colin Bell, Ian Mellor and Rodney Marsh gave Manchester City a 3-1 lead. But Mike Elwiss and Charlton leveled the scores before Elwiss scored again to win the game for the International XI. Unfortunately it was the last time Jeffrey would play at Belle vue in any kind of a competitive game and the dreams of hundreds of fans dreams, and he himself, sadly faded into insignificance. As it was Rovers had just two new faces; Malcolm Cook was popularSTAND // ISSUE 57 // MARCH 2012
appointed as the new trainer, and a young 21 year old full back called Brian Joy joined from Tranmere. Setters was hoping Joy’s signing would be the first of many; “I am hoping there will be some other new faces within the next few weeks, it is all part of making the club more efficient and more professional. The Directors have given me all I have asked for and all we want now is to attract the fans back. I want them to know that I control everything and only have to go to the board on matters of finance. The people who came last year were entertained. To a certain extent I understand the reason for low gates but I hope people will come along next season. Winning is important and if you can entertain and get some sort of system going you can do well. I believe we can do that” Rovers showed a loss in revenue of £8,968 for the previous season and but for the sale of Gilchrist to Southampton and Robertson to Northampton Town for a combined fee of £23,750 the losses would have been much greater. But the Supporters’ Club came to the rescue and handed Rovers a cheque for £14,750 which meant they actually showed a profit on the season of £5,782. Of Rovers’ pre-season friendlies the most attractive fixtures were against the FA Cup holders Leeds United, and League Cup holders Stoke City. The Potters were first up and though they lost the game 2-1 Rovers acquitted themselves well. After Stoke had gone into the lead Rovers took over the game; out-passing and out-shining their illustrious opponents for much of the game. Peter Kitchen scored an equaliser, although Gordon Banks, the England goalkeeper, was at fault for the goal. It was not until Rovers popularSTAND // ISSUE 57 // MARCH 2012
Jeffrey: sadly not signing this time
tired late on in the game that Stoke once again showed their supremacy and scored the winner. Sunday newspaper The People duly identified Rovers as their “Tip for the Top” this season in Division 4. After a 2-2 draw at Bradford Park Avenue came Leeds United. Class showed, as it should of a top class team. Names that rolled off the tongue were too strong for Rovers and goals from Billy Bremner, Johnny Giles and Joe Jordan put paid to Rovers dreams of getting anything from the game. Local fixtures completed the friendlies, with a 4-0 win at Hatfield Main followed by a trip to Goole Town. An understrength Rovers side lost 1-0 at the Victoria Pleasure Grounds, but more significant was the inclusion in the Doncaster side of Alick Jeffrey, who played alongside a team of mainly youth players. A few days later, as Rovers were having their team photo for the new season, Alick was training around the pitch; the Evening Post’s Joe Slater encouraged Jeffrey to get in the picture but Alick shook his head and walked away, sadly it was not to be. As the season loomed two Evening Post headlines stood. The first read “Will this be Rovers year for Promotion?” The Rovers, it suggested,
SEASONS IN RETROSPECT // CONTINUED had the talent and experience for this to happen. The second, by Rovers Youth Team Coach Malcolm Cook read; “Youth gets a chance here”. Several young players were coming through into the first team; Peter Kitchen (19), Stan Brookes (19), Stephen Uzalec (18), Mike Elwiss (18) and Steve Wignall (18) had all appeared in the first team, while Stephen Reed (16) and Robert McLuckie (17) had appeared as substitutes. It seemed the future was looking very healthy. The season began with a trip to Workington Town on August 12th. As with the previous season Rovers went down 2-0 to the Cumbrians; indeed it was to be one of Rovers worst starts to a season for many years. In the League Cup 1st round Doncaster travelled to Hartlepool and had fared well until a hotly disputed penalty in the 80th minute gave the home side victory. The match official declined to give his post-match verdict, with Setters exclaiming “Things like this are killing football. What a way to lose”. Rover’s first home game of the new season was against Mansfield Town. A single goal settled it, scored by Mansfield in the 24th minute. The win put Mansfield on top of the table and Rovers at the bottom. Already there were worries and grumbling amongst the fans. An away trip to Cambridge United Stadium followed and Rovers were duly dispatched 3-1; Graham Watson scoring Rovers’ first goal of the season. Worse news was to follow, Mike Elwiss had missed both
the Mansfield and Cambridge games because of knee ligaments problems and it now transpired that he could be out for some time; one half of Rovers’ attacking force set to be on the sidelines for the foreseeable future. A South Yorkshire derby at Oakwell brought no upturn in fortunes as Rovers were beaten 4-2. Twice Barnsley took the lead, and twice Rovers, through Kitchen and Irvine, equalized, but two goals in the final quarter of an hour sealed the result. A home game with Stockport followed, after a largely forgettable 87 minutes the game sprung to life; with County leading 1-0 Paul Hart headed past his own keeper to equalize his own 62nd minute strike and bring Rovers level. Enthused Rovers pressed and with a minute to go Peter Kitchen nodded home Ian Branfoot’s cross to put Rovers in front. And yet still the game was not done as Eddie Garbett broke beyond the Rovers back-line in injury-time, lobbing the onrushing Johnson to secure a 2-2 draw. Rovers’ first point of the season, but it could have been more. The next game would bring another defeat, a 3-0 Friday night loss at Gillingham, the only consolation being that the scoreline was perceived as a little harsh. Shortly after this came Graham Watson was transferred to Cambridge United for £5000. “I am very sorry to see him go,” said Setters, “He is a better player than people realized. But the crowd didn’t really appreciate him”. Watson had signed for Rovers on his 15th birthday and had been part of the famous five man, £100,000 deal between Rovers and Rotherham. During his two spells at Rovers he had made 166 appearances and scored 36 Goals. To be continued in PS Issue 58...
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IN OFF THE POSTBAG A selection of bits and pieces which have landed in the in-tray at popular STAND’s expansive country estate this month. First up a couple of images that have caught our eye on the net this past month, starting with the fresh faced young model below left. This picture of a young(ish) Dean Saunders modelling Mitre’s new range of Premier League clothing from the early 90s comes from the website; ‘Awkward Photos from Football Photo Shoots’, which is pretty self-explantory, but still worth a visit (http://awkwardfootballphotoshoots.tumblr.com). The image and accompanying caption below-right were taken from the official Rovers website, causing us to fret about Kyle Bennett’s health, and also the shape of his feet.
SPOTTED! Rovers and Football Folk Seen in the Borough
JAMES HAYTER walking through the Frenchgate Centre, as if he was a normal bloke who shops. IAN McMAHON at a sports function in Hong Kong talking about rugby in some capacity or another LEO FORTUNE-WEST coming out the door of an Esso petrol station. Spotters credits; Editor, Editor’s mum, Keiran, Keiran, Nick
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JAN BUDTZ in Asda; he had a trolley and was busy buying some chicken, spent a good five minutes deciding which sort to get. BARRY FRY walking through the Frenchgate Centre laden with House of Fraser Shopping Bags. If you spot a Rovers star in an unusual place let us know to help fill a page
TO LINDUM AND BACK After a disappointing end to February for the Rovers Chris Kidd is starting to look anxiously over his shoulder Does anyone else have that horrible sinking feeling? Far be it from me to be pessimistic but it looks like we’re getting into the lift and selecting the next floor down. Season defining moments present themselves with great frequency at this stage in the season. It is usually February/ March where teams start putting runs together which give us an indication of how the season will pan out. Three telling games have been played out in recent weeks, I’m not saying the season was won and lost on these three occasions particularly, but together they define a season so far. In the city of Leeds on a cool February afternoon Rovers faced the great pretenders of Europe. For this particular outing into West Yorkshire Rovers would not have their expected big following owing to Mr Bates decision to charge over £35 for a ticket; in this financial climate many decided that the line was well and truly crossed and did not make the journey. Rovers found themselves 2-0 up early in the second half and this is where one of many season defining moments cropped up. Rather than being able to take hold of the two goal advantage, even for just ten minutes Rovers let Leeds straight back into the game as they made it 2-1. If only we could have held out for ten minutes it would have been long enough for the volatile Elland Road crowd to get on the backs of the home
players and heap the pressure on. Perhaps the players in hoops were overcome with surprise at holding a two goal advantage at Leeds, but to let them straight back in was where we lost a massive three points. The game progressed to the 99th minute and eventually Rovers were undone again, season defining moment number two in the same game. And so a week later Rovers returned to the Keepmoat to take on an inconsistent, defensively fragile, yet seemingly free-scoring Peterborough side. When Giles Barnes rose like an elegant Leo Fortune-West to nod in on the stroke of half time it was nothing less than Rovers deserved. Posh hadn’t played badly but couldn’t find the right ball in the final third. Cue a second half so different to the first, that well known football cliché was at its most apt. Peterborough pushed forward in numbers but the most significant thing for me was that we had no outlet up front to get the ball to and take the danger away.
Ken Bates; always welcoming
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Many do not appreciate what you get from James Hayter but in a battle and when you need people to put a shift in, Hayter is your man. He was taken off with roughly twenty minutes left and that removed our only outlet and one of the hardest working players on the pitch, if not, THE hardest working player. Sure enough we had to absorb Peterborough for a further twenty minutes and it told when they equalised; another season defining moment courtesy of Tyrone Barnett on his debut (Barnett having obviously had enough of his previous mascarawearing, brown-envelope-receiving, pie-munching manager at Crawley). Another home game beckoned and with Rovers recent home form there was no reason to write hopes off before the game had started. Unfortunately when Brian Stock goes off injured within the first ten minutes it’s always going to be an uphill struggle. The Welsh wizard (well he’s as Welsh as Neil Sullivan is Scottish) has been our only consistent creative hub all season and to lose him early doors was never going to help the quest for three points. Despite the departure of Stock Rovers again seemed to be on top of the game in the first half without actually creating a great deal. Another ElHadji Diouf free kick and another header from Barnes this time went wide of the goal when it seemed easier to score, perhaps that was another moment. Just prior to that the Rovers defence had switched off and watched as Brighton went ahead. Rovers huffed and puffed to try to find the equaliser and it eventually arrived via the penalty spot with ten minut es to go. Whilst I risk sounding like a hypocrite as much as I don’t like some of Diouf ’s antics Craig Mackail-Smith popularSTAND // ISSUE 57 // MARCH 2012
The tireless James Hayter
did his best to rival him, taking to the grass more often than a Holstein Friesian grazing in a lush spring meadow. For all his obvious class, skill and natural flair there is a big side to Diouf ’s game that is simply unbearable and it makes you wonder what might have been for him had he been a bit more mild mannered through his career. Whilst Rovers have hardly played like Barca and the numerous players who have arrived haven’t helped things it just shows how not getting the rub of the green and a little bit of luck deserting you when you need it most can shape a season. There is still a slender chance we can stay up, there are enough games and enough points to be had and that is the main thing. I guess the real season defining moment came in September. I should be careful what I say really, it’s not the done thing to disagree with anything. Just because I don’t agree with what’s happened it doesn’t mean I support the football club any less than those who were happy about the decision. I still love John Ryan and I still love Doncaster Rovers. COYR.
JACK THE MINER’S COALFACE Only the lowly; Jack the Miner attempts to understand Doncaster Rovers’ newly appointed prefix. The BBC don’t write about Doncaster Rovers. They cover, instead, the fortunes of ‘Lowly Doncaster Rovers’. These prefixes are a bad habit they can’t kick. Maybe it’s the same inhouse journalist who came up with ’Peter Taylor’s Hull City’ and ‘Roy Keane’s Ipswich Town’. Perhaps it’s an easy way for a lazy journalist to get the word count up. I checked out some dictionary definitions...Lowly (adjective); humble; meek in manner- suited for a low rank or position - low in position and importance, or not respected. So it’s got nothing to do with word count then. It’s just an insulting stereotype; a journalist’s view of our status in the world. And probably written by a Southerner to boot. As Stuart Maconie pointed out “To people from London – cheery costermonger, cravated fop or Shoreditch-based web designer on a stupid scooter, the North means desolation, arctic temperatures, mushy peas, a cultural wasteland, with limited shopping opportunities and populated by aggressive trolls.” Some journo, with his decaffeinated cappuccino with a sprinkling of cinnamon, clearly can’t quite fathom out how Donny Rovers are still battling it out in Europe’s fourth most important football league. Peering
over the top of his Apple Mac he wipes away the dusting of icing sugar from his almond stuffed croissant and asks the colleague sitting opposite “Doncaster Rovers? That’s basically Accrington Stanley ya? Ya. OK, cheers. Thought so.” The first line of the BBC’s website for the BBC College of Journalism says “There’s no rule about avoiding clichés - it’s your choice. But do you want to sound weary and hackneyed?” The answer one assumes is ‘no’. So why do so many of their writers and broadcasters resort to it? Watch an FA Cup game and you’ll notice that the side from the Conference are ‘non-league minnows’. The bumpy pitch will always suit the non-league outfit - it’s a great leveller and it suits the minnows more direct style. And don’t forget that the superior fitness of the Football League side will always make a difference as the game reaches its final stages. I contacted the BBC for a comment this week but have received nothing to date. I expect to be told they mean no disrespect. Still, I gave up on the BBC a long time ago. It was the day when Des Lynham in blue blazer, grey slacks and boating club tie announced on Final Score “Chesterfield nil, Chester City nil. So, no goals in the local derby then”. A couple of years before that I’d been told by a friend that he’d seen Des popularSTAND // ISSUE 57 // MARCH 2012
Lynham in a Chinese restaurant in Putney. Des was wearing a three piece black leather suit. A three-piece leather suit and plenty of chest hair; no shirt. I refused to believe it. After the Chesterfield/Chester blunder I saw Des in a different light. A threepiece leather suit didn’t seem unlikely anymore. Looking for reporting balance I note that long time bottom feeders Coventry City have never been referred to as ‘lowly’ by the BBC. They are simply ‘ailing’ or ‘seeking Championship survival’. Why aren’t Rovers reported to be seeking Championship survival then? Forest who went into freefall and failed to score for several games following the arrival of Steve Cotterill have only ever been referred to as ‘low scoring’ and ‘out of form’. It seems there
is no danger of pending relegation although curiously the BBC occasionally makes reference to Forest’s ‘relegation rivals’. Rock bottom, penniless, close-tooblivion, player shedding, can’tbuy-a-win Portsmouth are being referred to as ‘financially stricken’. The BBC website today tells us that Portsmouth ‘remain bottom of the table’. So, without a win in seven and 24th in a 24 team league, Pompey are bottom but not relegation threatened, relegation haunted or lowly. Still, it can only get worse. If we get relegated, and I stress if we get relegated, can you imagine how we’ll be referred to next season in League One? I admit it would be ludicrous to refer to us as ‘sleeping giants’ and I doubt we’ll be called ‘League One Big Boys’ but ‘former Championship side Doncaster’ might be nice. Sadly I anticipate we’ll be referred to as ‘lowly former Conference outfit Doncaster Rovers’.
Des Lynam foregoes the leather
WHO IS ROVERS’ MYSTERY BENEFACTOR? Whilst looking over Rovers’ latest company accounts, supporter ‘Muttley’ spotted something of an anomaly. Whilst the financial support offered by John Ryan, Dick Watson and Terry Bramall in the form of loans and shares to fund the club’s shortfall has been well documented, Muttley identified an additional £0.48million which had been loaned to the club by parties other than existing or named directors of the company. Muttley explains “The accounts are quite helpful in that they detail all popularSTAND // ISSUE 57 // MARCH 2012
‘Transactions with Directors’ and this showed that the total loans from directors increased from £3.59m on 1/6/10 to £3.93m on 31/5/11 (+£0.34m). “The analysis of creditors contained on the Balance Sheet also shows the total loans (including those from Directors). These increased from £3.99m to £4.81m (+£0.82m). So, there was an extra £0.48million loaned to the club by parties other than director.” So who is Rovers mystery benefactor? DMBC? Lord Kirkham?
THE VOICE OF THE POP SIDE An apologetic Voice of the Pop Side; John Coyle feels the need to say sorry to a misunderstood member of Rovers’ team.
EL HADJI DIOUF - AN APOLOGY It takes a big man (so they say) to admit he was wrong, but I’ll hold up my hands and admit it: I was wrong about El-Hadji Diouf. After we played at Watford on New Year’s Eve, and gave the sort of display that made me think relegation was just a matter of time away, I drove home thinking I wouldn’t be sorry if I didn’t see Diouf in a Rovers’ shirt again. Captain for the day in the absence of Brian Stock, he gave a masterclass in petulance. I couldn’t help feeling that if he’d expended more energy on the game rather than arguing with the referee and waving to the jeering home fans that the team he was leading might have done rather better. The feeling was magnified a couple of days later when Rovers, with Stock back at the helm and with Diouf nursing a sore hamstring, gave a much better performance to overcome Barnsley at the Keepmoat. Then there was the tiresome “will he or won’t he?” business over the extension of his contract, a matter given greater focus once the possible departure of Billy Sharp to Southampton became a reality. In the end a deal was done, though not for the originally-mooted 18 months. The games with Blackpool and Leeds provided further reminders of the baggage Diouf carries with him after a career pock-marked by controversy.
Although he may have been more sinned against than sinning, the rumours of spitting and tunnel bustups were reminders of an unsavoury past that Diouf himself has been working hard to disavow. When an injury to Stock in the Brighton home game saw Diouf reunited with the captain’s armband, I was hardly uplifted by the prospect of him leading Rovers for the foreseeable future. However, this time it was different. For the rest of the Brighton game Diouf showed commendable leadership, urging his team-mates on and taking responsibility for the penalty which secured a valuable point. At Forest he helped inspire Rovers to a rare and much needed away win, the first on any ground since the Barnsley victory, and he seemed genuinely upset when he was withdrawn late in the game. Then came West Ham. Maybe he owed his inspiration to the larger-thanusual crowd, or to the fact that the Hammers decided against signing him in the earlier part of this season, but he gave an outstanding display. No longer did we just see flashes of occasional brilliance from him, here was the full package, a 90-minute display of endeavour and skill capped off by an assist and, but for a great save by Robert Green, maybe a winning goal. popularSTAND // ISSUE 57 // MARCH 2012
Yes, he enjoyed some by-play with the home crowd, relishing his role as pantomime villain, but he reserved his words for driving his fellow players forward. The only time he appeared to lose his cool was when no-one in a hooped shirt attacked a decent cross he’d put into the box, and he had full justification for his annoyance. Before then, I’d tended to see a player living off past glories and offering petulance as a substitute for hard work. Now I see a footballer loving what he is doing, playing with
fire in his belly and passing on that enthusiasm to his team-mates. The highest compliment I can pay the players who took the field at West Ham is that they performed like the old Rovers we know and love. The “pub team,” underdog, up and at ‘em mentality that seems to have been lost somewhere in the last 12 months. El-Hadji Diouf has epitomised that mentality recently and I have to say he has changed my opinion of him. EHD; sorry I underestimated you.
SIX WINS FROM TWELVE As John Ryan or Dean Saunders might say in their programme notes, I write this before Rovers take on Reading at the Keepmoat, the first of a series of three successive home games that will probably define the season. The very fact that I am writing this in a sense of anticipation says much for how quickly things can change in football. Only a fortnight ago, after watching Rovers lose points to a stoppage-time goal for the second time in successive weeks, I thought the game was up and it was time to start setting sat-navs for Boundary Park and Brisbane Road. Suddenly Rovers have five points in the space of eight days and I am reminded of the passage in Eamon Dunphy’s Only a
EHD; all ears for an apology
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Game? where the author reflects on the fickle nature of football fortunes The last result, that is all. If Palace win on Saturday they will feel great. Now, if you had asked them at the beginning of the season how they would feel if they were seven points adrift at the bottom and they won a game making it five points adrift, they would have been speechless. Probably not able to envisage how awful they would feel. But if they win on Saturday, they will feel great. One win and you are away. The dream is on again and off you go. Rovers have 30 points at the time of writing, with 12 games remaining. To stay in the Championship we need somewhere between 48 and 52 points. Six wins with a leavening of draws would take us there. It is a tall order for a team that has won only seven Championship fixtures all season, and last won two on the spin well over 12 months ago. But success, however transient it may seem, provides belief. One win and you are away. However this season ends for Rovers, the last few weeks of it promise to be an interesting ride. JC
WINDMILLS OF YOUR MIND Puncturing the gloom of the relegation zone like the first tulip of spring in the fields of Groningen Dutch Uncle takes time out for a look at some more notable Rovers seasons. In the midst of an unsuccessful period in Rovers’ history I thought looking at some club and league records established over our entire history might provide some distraction, and possibly a bit of wider context. The data in this article covers all Rovers seasons in the Football League and Football Conference (1901-2, 1902-3, 1904-5 and from 1923-24 until the end of 2010-11); 84 campaigns in total.
League Records Championship Wins
On the whole these 84 Rovers seasons have not been particularly successful, having lost over a 100 more matches than won. The total record reads; P3676 W1321 D922 L1433 F5057 A5425. However, rather like the proverbial girl with a curl in the middle of her forehead, when they are good they are very very good, but when they are bad they are truly horrid. On the positive side, when we are promoted it is often as champions, as evidenced by the fact we hold a number of records for league titles won in lower leagues:-
Most 4th Tier Championships Won: 3
Shared with Brentford, Chesterfield and Notts County, although again we were first to reach this milestone in 2003-4. Next closest with 2 are Brighton, Carlisle, Peterborough and Walsall.
Most 3rd Tier (Regionalised) Championships Won: 3
Shared with Barnsley, Bristol City and Lincoln, although we reached the milestone first, doing so in 1949-50.
Most Championships won outside the top 2 tiers: 6
(i.e. tiers 3 and 4 in all guises)
Followed by Brentford, Brighton, Chesterfield, Notts County and Plymouth with 5.
Jump from Non-League to the 2nd Tier
The introduction of automatic promotion from the Conference in 1986-87 has meant three promotions are required to reach the second tier. Prior to 1987 clubs wishing to join the league had to be generous with their Christmas presents and then rely on being voted in by the current League members. Since the change in procedure for joining the League only Colchester and ourselves have achieved those three promotions. The U’s took fifteen years to make their steady progression to tier two, so Doncaster’s equivalent rise in six seasons ensures that Rovers are the quickest ever to achieve this feat. Colchester’s stay proved to be only 2 seasons so we have also beaten that; a significant achievement in itself. From 1958-59 until 1986-87, following the change from a regionalised third popularSTAND // ISSUE 57 // MARCH 2012
tier to the introduction of Divisions Three and Four, one election and two promotions were required to reach the second tier from non-league. During this period only six teams succeeded in this triple elevation: Hereford: 5 years (1972-1976) , Oxford: 7 years, (1962-1968), Wimbledon: 8 years (1977-1984), Cambridge: 9 years (1970-1978), Wigan: 26 years (19782003), Peterborough: 33 (1960-1992). So only Hereford made the jump from non-league to the second tier quicker than Rovers’ recent rise. Prior to 1958-59, one election and only one promotion was sufficient. Scunthorpe achieved this inside 9 years. Shrewsbury and Gillingham were elected to the football league in 1950-51, were put in Division 4 on regionalisation in 1958-59, but would take 30 and 51 years respectively to reach the second tier. So since World War 2 only Hereford have made the leap from non-league to the second level quicker than Rovers. However, it is worth noting that three sides have made the extra leap from non-league to the top flight since World War II. Wimbledon (10 years: 1977-1986), Oxford (24 years: 1962-1985), and Wigan (28 years: 1978-2005) have all achieved this impressive feat.
Most/Least Successful seasons
Amazingly Rovers hold both Football League records for most and least successful seasons, and most wins and most defeats in a season.
Most Points in a Season
72pts* 1946-47: P42 Home: W15 D5 L1; Away W18 D1 L2 (*at 2pts per win, equates to 105 at 3pts per win) • The total of 72 points is a Football League Record; the highest ever popularSTAND // ISSUE 57 // MARCH 2012
in a 42 game season • It has only ever been bettered by Lincoln (with 74 points in 197576), Sunderland (equivalent of 73 points in 1998-99) and Reading (equivalent of 75 points in 200506) all of which played a 46 game season
Least Points in a Season
8pts* 1904-05: P34 Home: W3 D2 L12; Away W0 D0 L13 (at 2pts per win, equates to 11 at 3pts per win) • The total of 8 points is the Football League Record of lowest ever points in a season; equalled only by Loughborough in 1899-00 (also from 34 games) • In recent times only Derby in 2007-08 with the equivalent of 10 points from 38 games comes close.
Most Wins in a Season
33 wins out of 42 games in 1946-47 is an all time Football League record
Most Defeats in a Season
34 defeats out of 46 games in 1997-98 is also an all time Football League record.
Club Records Highest League Finish
In 1901-02, Rovers’ first season in the League, they finished 7th in Division 2. Since there were 18 clubs in Divisions 1 that year Rovers effectively finished 25th nationally; this remains their highest ever finish. 12th in the Championship, and therefore 32nd nationally, in 2009-10 is the club’s second best ever. On this basis, the 11th place Second Division finish of 1950-51 (33rd nationally) is the club’s third best ever campaign. The 2008-09 season when Rovers finished 14th in tier two (34th (nationally) represents the club’s next
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best season, tied with 1953-54 (12th in Div 2) and 1902-03 (16th in Div 2).
Best Home Record
• From 21 games; 1946-47:W15 D5 L1; 1933-34: W17 D1 L3 • From 23 games; 2003-04: W17 D4 L2 The club was also unbeaten at home throughout 1932-33 with a record of W13 D8 L0
Best Away Record
The record of W18 D1 L2 from 21 games in 1946-47 is a Football League record. MK Dons equalled 18 away wins in 2007-08 but did so from 23 games. Rovers’ best 23 game away record was in 2003-04: W10 D7 L6.
Most Goals Conceded in a Season
117 in 46 games in 1966-67 113 in 46 games in 1997-98 These three figure tallies conceded in 1966-67 and 1997-98 represent the two highest totals of goals conceded in a League season since Ipswich conceded 121 in 1963-64. The 97-98 seasons saw 48 conceded at home, also a club record, whilst the 66-67 season saw 77 goals hit Rovers’ net away from home, again, a club record. The 96 goals conceded in 1955-56 are a record for a 42 game season.
Least Goals Conceded in a Season
Worst Away Record
37 in 46 games in 2003-04 38 in 46 games in 1968-69 38 in 42 games in 1949-50 Least conceded at Home: 12 in 17 games (1901-02) 12 in 21 games (1948-49) & 13 in 23 games (2003-04) Least Conceded Away: 22 in 23 games (1968-69).
Most Goals Scored in a Season
Rovers best and worst goal differences are coincidentally equal: Best : 83 in 1946-47 (123-40) Worst: -83 in 1997-98 (30-113)
Least Goals Scored in a Season
Finally, from 2000-01 up to and including 2007-08 the club had a record of eight consecutive ‘positive’ seasons, where more matches were won than lost in each campaign, and Rovers ended the season with a plus goal difference. This is the longest such sequence in the club’s history.
Worst Home Record
17 games: 1904-05: W3 D2 L12 21 games: 1991-92: W6 D2 L13 23 games: 1997-98: W3 D3 L17 17 games: 1904-05: W0 D0 L17 21 games: 1936-37: W1 D4 L16 23 games: 1966-67: W1 D2 L20
123 in 42 games in 1946-47 87 in 42 games in 1934-35 & 1938-39 The 67 goals scored at Belle Vue, and 56 on the road in 1946-47 are also the club’s highest number of both home and away goals in a League season.
23 in 34 games in 1904-05 30 in 42 games in 1936-37 30 in 46 games in 1997-98
Lowest number scored at home: 12 in 17 games (1904-05) and 14 in 23 games (1997-98) Lowest scored away: 8 in 17 games (1902-03) 10 in 23 games (1958-59)
Best/Worst Goal Difference:
For the caveat regarding figures presented in Dutch Uncle’s articles please see previous issues.
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SOUNDING OUT THE BELLES Rovers’ latest campaign may be ambling towards its denouement, but the game is still afoot in the borough as Doncaster’s most successful football team are only just taking to take the field. The summer can be a lonely desolate time for us football fans. Months of made-up transfer nonsense masquerading as actual news, allmanner of hype and expectation building up to England’s inglorious second round exit from another tournament, and long painful weekends bereft of handy excuses to get out of the shopping, or gardening.
The Belles have been representing Doncastrian football at the very top level for decades and deserve more support from the town’s football public, so please get down to the Keepmoat this season to take advantage of affordable top-level football on your doorstep, and most importantly cheer on the Belles.
Not any more. Sensing the nationwide social embarrassment as millions of us pretended to be into cricket or tennis each year the FA has offered salvation by moving the top tier of the Women’s game to the summer months. And the presence of the Rovers Belles in the FA Super League means we all have the perfect excuse to escape our domestic world and cheer on the red and white hoops all year round.
Sun 18 Mar: vs Bristol Academy (CC) Sun 25 Mar: vs Chelsea (FAQF) Mon 09 Apr: at Chelsea* Sun 22 Apr: vs Arsenal Sun 29 Apr: vs Everton Sun 06 May: at Birmingham City Sun 13 May: at Everton (CC) Sun 27 May: at Bristol Academy Thu 31 May: at Lincoln Sun 10 Jun: at Birmingham City (CC) Sun 24 Jun: vs Liverpool Sun 01 Jul: at Arsenal Thu 05 Jul: at Everton Sun 19 Aug: vs Chelsea Thu 30 Aug: vs Lincoln Sun 09 Sep: vs Bristol Academy Sun 23 Sep: vs Birmingham City Sun 07 Oct: at Liverpool
The Belles began the 2012 season last weekend with a 2-1 FA Cup 5th round victory over Barnet, and take to home turf for the first time this season tomorrow when they host Bristol Academy in the Continental Cup. After the disappointment of a 7th place finish in the inaugural Super League season the Belles hope to kickon this campaign, and have made key signings, including Leandra Little and England’s Sue Smith from Lincoln, and Aussie defender Tanya Oxtoby from Perth Glory. Both Smith and Little have already made their mark, scoring in the win at Underhill. popularSTAND // ISSUE 57 // MARCH 2012
Belles’ Fixtures 2012
(Away games in italics. CC = Continental Cup Group Stage Fixtures. FAQF = FA Cup Quarter Final. * = live on ESPN; 3pm kick-off)
Tickets for Belles home games are priced at £6 Adults, £3 concessions. For further details on the Belles visit: www.doncasterroversbelles.co.uk
BLOWING MY OWN TRUMPET Editor Glen Wilson relives the horror of the 1997-98 season. In Matt’s previous house there was a photo on the wall. It was of himself, sat on the grass, legs crossed, head bowed beneath his baseball cap. The picture was taken at Belle Vue as Doncaster Rovers took on Hull City. The date, Saturday 4th April 1998. The time, just after ten past three. The piece of grass on which Matt was sitting, the centre-spot. This was one of many stand-out images from Doncaster Rovers’ 1997-98 season. That afternoon, if Rovers failed to win, the inevitability of relegation would become a reality. And so knowing the press were present, supporters – led by Matt’s solo stroll to the centre-spot – took to the field in a last bid to make football’s authorities take note of how their club had been run into the ground. As other fans joined Matt and the stewards were distracted by events in the centre-circle another supporter, Alanhe former bass player of Big Flame no less – set about chaining himself to the Town End goalposts. What sums up the abject absurdity of this season more than anything is that back then, none of that previous paragraph seemed at all odd. Alan is going to chain himself to the goalposts whilst Matt is sat on the centre spot you say? Ah fair enough. Teams have bad seasons. Rovers have had many, indeed they’re having one right now, but no club has ever had as terrible, as hopeless, as torrid a time as Doncaster suffered in 1997-98. The record speaks for itself; P46 W4 D8 L34 F30 A127 GD-93 Pts20. Officially the worst. Ever. But it’s the circumstance and environment of that year which contains the story. When
chaining yourself to a goalpost is the last viable option you feel you have available to save the club you support, then you’ve reached the epitome of hopelessness. So this is it, as bad as English League football ever was, and ever will be, but before ploughing on into the mire of the late 90s it’s important you meet the key cast members. Ken Richardson, future arsonist. Seller of sacks. Switcher of horses. Banned from horse-racing, but not from football. He’d previously taken Bridlington Town on two adventures; firstly to Wembley in the FA Vase, and then to the wall in a huff. In 1993 he tried to sell the land on which Belle Vue stood; a particularly brazen move, given that it wasn’t the club’s to sell. Charged with conspiracy to commit arson after a fire in the Main Stand in 1996 (a mobile phone left at the scene had last been used to leave a message on Uncle Ken’s answer phone; “Job’s done” and he later would be) Ken preferred the term ‘benefactor’ for his role. We preferred the term ‘twat’ or worse. Chairman was used as something of a grudging compromise. Mark Weaver. The puppet on the end of Richardson’s string. The smug defiant face of the regime. Looked like the man they’d get to play Quentin Tarantino in a Crimewatch reconstruction, wore a suit as comfortably and as effortlessly as you or I would wear bee-keeping equipment. Weaver had an interesting football CV, he’d been a club-lottery salesman at Stockport just a year or so previously… and that was it. He often suggested that if it were up to him he would walk away popularSTAND // ISSUE 57 // MARCH 2012
from the club. But it was up to him. And he didn’t. Instead he stayed, relayed messages and even team-talks from the increasingly absent Richardson, and in this one season made the rare trajectory from shop manager to general manager to team manager to player-manager. Characters now established, onto the opening scene. August. Kerry Dixon stands centre-stage. Dixon had been in charge at Doncaster a year. His arrival, initially as player-manager, had been a surprise for many, most notably his predecessor Sammy Chung who had first learned of Dixon’s appointment just 90 minutes before the opening game of the 1996-97 season when he opened the door to what he presumed to be his office to find the former Chelsea forward sitting at what up until that precise moment had been his desk. Dixon would preside over just three games this campaign – an opening day defeat at Shrewsbury, an 8-0 League Cup pummelling from Nottingham Forest, and a 5-0 home loss to Peterborough – before moving on, unhappy that his team selection was being ‘influenced’ (i.e dictated) by the chairman. Most clubs would act defiantly to rubbish claims of interference. Uncle Ken took a different approach, not only picking the team for the next game, but plonking himself on the bench too between substitutes and archetypal hired goons. Unsurprisingly Rovers lost. They lost the next game at home to Exeter too, a result which dropped them to the foot of the table where they would remain for the nexteight months; a vertical stripe of 24s where the ‘position’ column on the programme’s ‘Stats’ page should be. On the charts we were already flat-lining. September saw the managerial introduction of Colin Richardson (no relation). Well, sort of. He was there. People saw him. There was an arse-print on his desk chair. Sightings of a perm bobbing about in the depths of the dugout, popularSTAND // ISSUE 57 // MARCH 2012
a Geordie accent carried on the breeze, and grainy footage purported to feature him raising his head from the murky waters of the Loch before disappearing into a Portacabin. Under the invisible regime of Richardson, C, Rovers did chalk up their first point though with a draw at Mansfield; Prince Moncrieffe scoring the goal. Moncrieffe would go on to be the side’s top scorer, doubling the tally of his nearest challenger and scoring more than a third of the team’s goals. He scored 8. Towards the end of the month Richardson looked to 37 year-old Andy Thorpe to bring in experience. Having played over 500 games in the Football League Thorpe certainly had experience, but the last of those League games had been more than five years previously. He’d been turning out for Chorley for two seasons when he was chucked into the side; less a lifebelt, more a wreath at a sea burial. Thorpe played twice – a goalless draw with Cambridge (point number three), and a loss at Torquay – before trundling off back to the significantly more secure and professional world of the Unibond League. Thorpe was just one of 45 players used that season, a high proportion of which tellingly never played League football anywhere other than their stint at Belle Vue. Two such players would arrive in October when fellow mid to late 90s basket cases Brighton came to town; a must win game if Rovers were to hold out any hope of… well, just if we were to hold any hope. Whoever picked the team rang the changes; out went goalkeeper Gary Ingham and two-goal top-scorer Prince Moncrieffe. In for their debuts came new signings David Smith and Rod Thornley. The latter came from North West Counties League Warrington Town, and if his rise was sizable it was nothing compared to that of goalkeeper Dave Smith, whose previous club was Bramhall, of the Stockport Sunday League. (Smith’s rise was of course in no way linked to his happening to live a few doors down from
BLOWING MY OWN TRUMPET // CONTINUED
a certain M. Weaver. Not at all. No). The Brighton game would represent Smith and Thornley’s sole afternoon as professional footballers. Rovers lost 3-1, and were reported to the FA for fielding a weakened team. Popular youth-team manager Dave Cowling was next to try his hand at first team management for a trip to lose to Colchester. Cowling oversaw the next game too (a defeat at Swansea), and then stepped down, resigning due to interference from Ken Richardson. The chairman, absent since the Brighton game, had contacted Cowling from his hollowed out volcano in Driffield to tell his manager who would be starting and who’d be on the bench for the trip to Scarborough the following week. November, fourth month of the season, four points on the board, and a fourth manager in what passed for control. Pipesmoking, cap-wearing Uruguyan Danny Bergara was now in charge but unlike Dixon, Richardson and Cowling, Bergara had an ace up his sleeve. He was a man with a plan. Rather than assigning the shirt numbers in order, he would dish them out at random to try and confuse the opposition. It bloody worked too. Well, sort of. Cardiff and Barnet seemingly bamboozled by the madness of a central midfielder wearing Number 2 so much they could only stumble to perplexing draws. Unfortunately the other five sides Rovers faced somehow carried on undaunted by Bergara’s numberwang and inflicted five defeats. Curses. At November’s end Bergara relinquished his manager’s jacket, sadly not to don a doctor’s coat in an effort to bewilder opponents, but to step down from his role.
Nevermind. Mark Weaver knew just the man to take over from Bergara: Mark Weaver. “As a person I didn’t much dislike him, I just didn’t think he had much idea about football,” was how midfielder Jim Dobbin saw Weaver’s self-appointment; the senior pro’s words the most ringing endorsement the new gaffer received. As for Weaver’s own view? “I was just lucky enough to win my first game in charge.” He did as well. Highlighting just how useless a barometer of a manager’s ability his first game is, at the 24th attempt, Rovers won a game. A 2-1 victory over Chester City, although only 864 saw it. The next three games would give a more accurate portrayal of Weaver’s managerial prowess as Rovers shipped sixteen goals. Eight of those came at Brisbane Road, and it could have been more had Orient not withdrawn their front two for the final fifteen minutes out of sympathy. January, like December, would start with an unexpected victory as Rovers defeated Shrewsbury 1-0 at Belle Vue with a Moncrieffe goal. In post-match interviews the Prince was asked his thoughts about “making double figures” – he thought they meant goals for himself, the interviewer actually meant points for the club; Rovers now had 12 on the board. Normal service resumed for the rest of the month; three games, three defeats, ten goals shipped. February brought unexpected hope with a shock 1-0 win at promotion chasing Peterborough and the signing of Padi Wilson. An impressive winger, Wilson scored in a 2-1 loss at Cambridge and looked a threat. Sadly the local constabulary concurred, and within a month of signing Wilson was at her majesty’s pleasure, imprisoned for three months for driving whilst disqualified. Valentine’s Day witnessed a rare beam of sunshine through the gloom courtesy of a love-in with Brighton, as fans from clubs around the world descended on Albion’s temporary Priestfield home for the Fans popularSTAND // ISSUE 57 // MARCH 2012
United forerunner, The Heart of Football. The fixture between the Football League’s 91st and 92nd ranked clubs was perhaps fittingly a dour 0-0; indeed the highlight came pre-match as Brighton’s PA operator paid a subtle nod to Rovers’ chairman with a medley of fire-related songs. After the sweetness and love of Brighton what passed for normality resumed a week later as supporters arrived for a 1-0 defeat to Torquay to find an effigy of Ken Richardson hanging from the entrance to the Belle Vue car park. Rovers had been in administration since October, and in March the dearth of available funds really began to bite, especially after a record low of just 739 turned up for a midweek game with Barnet. The club’s coaching staff, both of them, were laid off for five days, and when they next turned up at the ground they were given £75 each and told to go away. No more coaching, no more training. Players were now just turning up for games. On 14th March Rovers went to 21st place Cardiff City and lost 7-1. Adie Mike’s late consolation goal celebrated as if it were a winner. Adie Mike and Mike Smith, a pair of capable forwards, were two rare decent players amongst the dross. At Cardiff they were deployed at centreback and left-back respectively. By now Rovers squad contained just seven fulltime professionals. Ahead of the transfer deadline day Mark Weaver moved to make that eight by signing himself. The next week, Rovers played Lincoln at home and thrust seven members of the youth team into the matchday squad. Though they lacked experience the teenagers certainly possessed commitment to the cause of their home town club as they struggled bravely to a 4-2 defeat. The kids duly retained their places for the trip to Rochdale at the end of the month, and indeed for the remainder of the season. By now protests by supporters, led by the Save the Rovers group, were becoming popularSTAND // ISSUE 57 // MARCH 2012
more voiciferous and increasingly brazen. At Spotland a spectator decided he could do no worse than Weaver and elected to sit in the dugout, simply climbing over the fence and onto the bench with the words “Move up Mark, what the hell is going on?” Protests and acts such as these were carried out at great risk, though not necessarily of arrest. Prominent members of Save the Rovers had been receiving ad-hoc early-hours phone calls most of the season, some had had their tyres slashed, and one November morning several stepped out their front door to find their respective cars coated in cream paint. So to April, and the match against Hull. Win or most probably bust. Ten minutes in whistles from the Pop Side gave Matt his cue to stroll to the centre spot, and Alan began to edge round the Town End. The on-pitch protest lasted several minutes before, point made, the Rovers fans filed off; Matt exchanged his hat and coat with other fans à la Escape to Victory to blend back into the meagre crowd and, as two policemen suggested going to the groundsman’s shed for a saw, Alan admitted the key was actually in his sock. Two hours later, deep in time added on for the removal of an 80s post-punk vocalist from the goal-frame, Adie Mike swivelled and struck a desperate winning goal. Rovers were safe for at least another Saturday, and for one last time people could celebrate. The inevitable relegation was instead confirmed a week later, with a 2-1 defeat at Chester City. On the final day of the season Rovers fans arrived at the ground in a mock-funeral cortege from the Park Hotel. Flowers were laid behind the Town End. A bugler played The Last Post. The pitch was invaded several times. But it was to no avail. Still the FA cared not one jot. The game was lost 1-0, the club, we thought, was lost forever. That was hopelessness; that was the worst ever season.
TRUMPET MAN’S SONGBOOK Issue 57 brings a guest contribution to Trumpet Man’s Songbook, helping this long-running God-foresaken feature to stumble into a 10th excruciating year of existence. Don’t thank us, thank Mike Follows
to the tune of If I Were a Rich Man from Fiddler on the Roof
(no, seriously, we’ve actually gone into Musiscals now)
If I was a rich man, I’d buy the Rovers, sack McKay, and build a shrine to John Ryan, I’d bring back proper pies and burgers too, Away we’d play in green, not blue. If I had a fortune, I’d hire Leo Fortune-West to coach our youths to be the best, The Rovers team would be full of Donny boys, Then the fans would make some noise. I’d have Centrefold playing whenever we score And the crowd would be screaming for more, I’d stop all the music when the players run out So they hear their names when we shout. If I hit the jackpot, I’d buy the Keepmoat from the Council, then I’d build a standing zone, We’d be the envy of the Football League, If the Rovers were my own. When the Euromillions, Pays me a hundred million at the worst, You will see the Donny dream come true, But I need to buy a ticket first.
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