Category Archives: Opinion

ROVERS VS BURY: MATCH PREVIEW BY ROB JOHNSON

Rovers pre season, whilst containing many positives, has posed more questions than answers. Does Dickov really expect us to get in the play offs with Mitchell Lund and Rob Jones in the starting XI all season? Where will Forrester play? How will he incorporate Keegan, Wellens and Chaplow? Is Lewis Guy coming back? The opening game of the season will see at least some of these questions answered.

The first game of the season is always special as all the optimism and aspirations are yet to be dampened by reality. Who can forget glorious recent opening day victories at Brisbane Road or Pride Park? Or the drama that unfolded at the Amex? Fingers crossed Saturdays game will be just as memorable.

Bury have spent the summer busily signing anyone that Rovers have been linked with, with experienced strikers Leon Clarke and Tom Pope arriving at Gigg Lane as well as former Huddersfield and Blackpool centre back Peter Clarke. For Rovers there could potentially be six debutants with Mackenzie, Stuckmann, Williams, Chaplow, Taylor-Sinclair and N’Guessan all in line to feature at some stage.

Rovers 137th season is a crucial one for manager Paul Dickov. After two turbulent pre seasons and two ultimately disappointing campaigns Dickov has nowhere to hide for the 2015-16 season. If there is no improvement from his previous two seasons (and his time at Oldham) than it will surely be time for Rovers to look elsewhere. I really hope PD proves me wrong but I fear that he has shown nothing thus far to suggest he is the man to take Rovers forward. We will have a better idea of his standing after Saturdays game.

Match Prediction: 2-0 to the reds. If you can’t be optimistic on the opening day than there is pretty much no hope for you. Goals from Coppinger and Tyson.

Prediction League 2015/2016

With less than three days remaining to the start of the season its time for the return of the Prediction League, ran by Dave Randerson. The Prediction League has been running on the Facebook page since the 2013/2014 season and last season saw 98 people take part, with Liam Bowser (263 points) taking the crown by a clear 20 points with Hayley Buck (243 points) and Yvonne Cook (240 points) in second and third.

This year it returns with 7 different teams in the mix but the rules remaining exactly the same:
You score 3 points for predicting the exact score (e.g. Doncaster 2-1 Leeds United) and 1 point if you predict the correct outcome but not the score (e.g. home win).

It’s as simple as that.

New to the League this year will be the additional table being hosted on the DRSG site so you can instantly review your position. All predictions will still need to be made via the thread on the Facebook Page.

The DRSG would like to thank Dave Randerson for his dedication to delivering this to Rovers fans every week. His work is one of the important forces that keeps the Doncaster Rovers Facebook page the Number 1 Rovers forum on the internet.

The opening fixtures are:
Burton Albion v Scunthorpe United
Chesterfield v Barnsley
Colchester United v Blackpool
Coventry City v Wigan Athletic
Crewe Alexandra v Port Vale
Doncaster Rovers v Bury
Fleetwood Town v Southend United
Gillingham v Sheffield United
Rochdale v Peterborough United
Shrewsbury Town v Millwall
Swindon Town v Bradford City
Walsall v Oldham Athletic

Entries close on the 8th of August 2015 at Midday

Good luck!

Rovers Pre-Season Previews: Forest and Bridlington

With Rovers playing out two friendlies this week can only mean one thing, resident writer Rob Johnson returns to his preview duties:

Following on from our glorious and famous 2-0 victory of Frickley Atheltic, Rovers play two games in two days against very different opposition.

First off on Tuesday night Rovers host two times European champions Nottingham Forest at the Keepmoat Stadium. Forest return from their Scandinavian tour with ex Rover Matt Mills joining a quite frankly remarkably talented squad. Millsy will be lining up with the likes of Andy Reid, Henri Lansbury, Gary Gardner, Chris Burke and new signing Jamie Ward with Forest stalwarts Dexter Blackstock and Chris Cohen still plying their trade at the City Ground as well. Unfortunately Mills has now split up with Hollyoaks actress Emma Rigby so this will not be her long awaited return to the West Stand much to everyone’s abject disappointment.

Forest will surely be looking to mount a strong promotion push this season so it will be interesting to see how Rovers cope. Possibly most under the microscope at the moment is young Curtis Main who looks in turn like the new Colin Cramb and then like someone who has never before kicked a football (sometimes in the same game). Main could do with a goal after his embarrassing penalty miss at Frickley.

Nathan Tyson scored both goals in the Frickley victory and he will be looking to impress against his former club Nottingham Forest albeit in a friendly.

The Forest game might also be the first time the Rovers faithful see new signing Andy Williams in action. Williams first game in pre season evokes memories of other Rovers strikers pre season bows such as Leo Fortune West having the control of a new born baby deer, Mike Newell scoring an emphatic half volley into his own net and Paul Barnes breaking his foot. Good luck Andy!

Just 24 hours later Rovers travel to Queensgate to take on AFC Bridlington of the Northern Counties Premier division in a pre season fixture that would have had Rovers fans fat mouths watering had it not inexplicably been played on a Wednesday night.

AFC Bridlington are best known to Rovers fans as the incubator that human maggot Ken Richardson hatched from. Richardson took over Bridlington Town (as they were then known) and brought instant success winning the NPL division one and the FA Vase. This success was short lived however and Bridlington Town folded the following year after bizarrely playing a few games at Belle Vue due to legal reasons. Richardson had not quite cultivated his Mr. Burns persona at this point but it is strongly suggested that it was his legal wrangles that forced the club to fold.

Coming just 24 hours after the Forest game it is likely the Rovers team will be made up of trialists and youth players but it is fitting that after both clubs were nearly destroyed by one terrible man that we meet them now in a pre season friendly.

The DRSG gives all fans the chance to air their views, challenge perceived views, stifle debate and share your stories, if you would like to write for the DRSG please email info@doncasterroverssupportersgroup.org

 

Match Preview: Frickley Athletic

 

Pre-season is finally here and with it Rob Johnson brings us his first match day preview of the season:FAFC_Badge

VS
BadgeDoncaster_Rovers

 

Rovers begin their pre season with a short trip to Westfield Lane to take on Frickley Athletic. Mouthwatering stuff.

Frickley are perhaps best known to Rovers fans for being the subject of a short programme made by Jeremy Clarkson in which Rovers were humiliated 2-0 at Belle Vue by Frickley in the FA Trophy. Thankfully this was before the days of social media so the short film never made its way onto the hotbed of satire and intelligent debate that is the league 1 banter Facebook page (OI! OI!).

Frickley and Rovers also share a number of former players with Neil Redfearn, Mark Samways and Russ Wilcox all having pulled on both the red and white hoops and the blue and white stripes.

Normally pre season games are a turgid affair but Rovers fans will no doubt be looking forward to possibly catching a glimpse of new signings Thorsten Stuckmann, Richard Chaplow, Andy Williams and Gary MacKenzie which brings a welcome level of interest to the tie.

Rovers fans are still polarised on Paul Dickov but it is difficult to argue with the signings he has made so far and they represent a potential new spine for a side who were desperately lacking in a few areas last season.

Rovers have actually got some interesting sides lined up in pre season for once with Sunderland, Middlesboro and Forest all visiting the Keepmoat Stadium, but for a taste of grass roots football, Frickley is perhaps the best choice for the discerning Rovers fan about town.

Match Prediction: Rovers will win and everyone will have forgotten the score by the time they get home. Also expect at least one Rovers player to sustain a serious injury. Let’s say 2-0 and Nathan Tyson.

Rovers Legends: Sharp VS Tierney by Lee Croft

2 Legends currently leading the Doncaster Rovers Legends Banner Vote (over on the Black Bank site), Lee Croft examines their legendary status a little further…

The biggest goal in our 136 Year history VS the best goal in our history, that it arguably the choice fans will make when deciding the sixth and final former Rover to appear on the upcoming Legends Banner next season: The goal that came from heaven or the goal that saved us from hell?

Despite playing for Scunthorpe United before and Leeds United afterwards, many Rovers fans still hold a special place in their hearts for ‘King’ Billy Sharp. The bare torso celebration at Glanford Park, the corner flag turned weight lifting taunt vs QPR at home, the ‘fat lad from Sheffield’ tee and even the tongue out, arms in the air at Bramall Lane; Sharp created many magical memories for Rovers supporters, his celebrations were just as enthusiastic as his goals. He was a natural entertainer and lead from the front during his 2 and a half year spell with us.

Of course, there is also the one that will never be forgotten, less than a week after losing his new born son (Luey Jacob Sharp) Billy asked not only to play in the home game against high flyers Middlesbrough, but also asked manager Dean Saunders if he couple wear the Captain’s armband. A back heel by Diouf chipped the ball over the Boro defence looked as if it was a stretch too far for Billy Sharp, but he chased after it and despite the oncoming Keeper from the Boro goal and the tight angle against him, Sharp hit it with his left foot on the volley which looped over the goalie and rocketed into the net. He ran off towards the West Stand, kicking the advertising hoardings whilst revealing a heartfelt message under his shirt. Dubbed ‘The Goal from Heaven’, this was perhaps the best way Sharp could cope with his grief, by doing what he knew best – scoring fantastic goals.

In my memory, Sharp is by far the most popular player with the fans. The most chanted, the most celebrated, the most talked about. If he wins the vote then I believe it is a fitting cause for such a player to represent the most recent era in Rovers times. You would think there is no reason why Sharp shouldn’t win. The fact he is currently second is probably nothing beyond his control, but just being unfortunate to be in the same category as ‘Sir’ Francis Tierney.

Francis Tierney is the only man in the entire country who can say he has scored the goal that instantly won his team promotion. Before 10th May 2003, no team in England had ever won promotion via a Golden Goal and no team has done so afterwards. Being the man who has that honour bestows you a place in history for years and years to come. That goal by Tierney was by no means spectacular, Blundell (donning a bandage on his head) found Barnes on the edge of the box who stabbed at the ball with his foot and it somehow trickled through the defence for Tierney to tap it in from 7 yards. It was messy yet efficient, but what it meant for the club can’t be put into words.

When asked about how he felt when the ball came towards him, Tierney told BBC Radio Sheffield that his “legs turned to jelly”, his celebration a standard turning around and running towards the fans with his finger in the air, a scene which soon transformed into pandemonium when it sunk in to the fans and players that the game was over, Doncaster Rovers were promoted back into the Football League. ‘Franny’ was knighted by the Rovers faithful instantly, and on his next appearance in the Red and White hoops, Tierney was met by the Pop Stand at Belle Vue bowing in worship and chanting “Sir Francis Tierney”. Even now Tierney is humble about it, recalling it on Facebook as “Just a tap in.”

For many fans that goal is regarded bigger than the Lee header at Cardiff, the Hayter winner at Wembley or even Copps’ tap in at Brentford. It provided a moment in time that will be shared for generations as the goal that brought salvation to Doncaster. But will it also provide Tierney the votes he needs to keep ahead of Sharp and win his place on our banner? That much is still up to you.

King Billy and Sir Francis are without doubt two Legends who will be remembered for different reasons, two that are rightly leading the vote. Who should you vote for? It’s probably not up to me to tell you, it’s one you need to figure out on your own. Me? I voted for Chris Brown. Obviously…

CAST YOUR VOTE FOR THE LATEST LEGEND BANNER POLL OVER ON THE BLACK BANK

 

 

 

COLIN CRAMB: A ROVERS LEGEND

Amidst the Black Bank Rovers Legends Banner Vote, DRSG Committee Member Rob Johnson puts forward the case for Colin Cramb, the man in the shadows…

Legend is a word that is thrown around a lot these days, particularly in football. Having a shit in the urinals at Nando’s makes you a legend in some people’s eyes.

What constitutes a footballing legend is obviously subjective. Some would say Mickey Norbury is a legend for his hat trick at Glanford Park despite playing only 27 games for Rovers. Others would say that Lee Warren definitely isn’t a legend despite clocking up nearly 200 games in the red and white hoops.

This brings us neatly on to the subject of the latest vote taking place on the Black Bank website to decide who should feature on the legends banner that is being produced for the Keepmoat next season. Warren himself is featured on the list as well some others from that era including Ian Duerdan, Graeme Jones, Darren Moore, Gary Brabin and others. With voting a few days in though, it appears that former Rovers manager Dave Penney is the likeliest winner. If it were up to me I would go for none of the above. The only choice for what was a mostly disappointing time for Rovers for me has to be Colin Cramb.

Every football fan has a player who captured their imagination. Their first love. The player who stirred excitement and passion that would eventually become obsession. Football fans the world over will tell you about Bergkamp, Zidane, Messi et al but for a chubby kid from Town Moor it was Colin Cramb who first caught my attention.

The 96/97 season was the first year my dad took me to Rovers when I looked beyond just the scoreline and Cramby was one of the main reasons for my interest. Every time Cramb got the ball it felt like something could happen. It felt like he scored in every game I attended that season and Cramb was a scorer of great goals as well as being prolific. It wasn’t just the goals that drew me to Cramb either. He was a real character. In the space of four games that season Cramby was sent off at Swansea, went in net during a 6-0 defeat against Chester City (and saved a penalty!), scored against our bitter rivals Scunthorpe and scored in a glorious 2-0 victory over top of the league Wigan Athletic. Whether scoring a hat trick at Hartlepool or having one of the worst disciplinary records of any Rovers player in a single season Cramby was a player who you couldn’t take your eyes off.

Dave Penney was a good player and a captain but he is surely receiving the majority of his votes for his time as Rovers manager rather than anything he did on the pitch. By that logic you would have to include SOD on any legends flag as well. No, this is a flag for the players who fans remember. The players that make you smile with recognition whenever their name is mentioned. The players who we will still be talking about in the pub in thirty years’ time. Colin Cramb played just 62 games for Rovers but for people of a certain generation he is the reason they became a Rovers fan. If that isn’t the definition of a legend then I don’t know what is.

VOTE FOR CRAMB (or your favourite legend) over on the Black Bank Site

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Rovers Top 10: Disappointing Signings

Rovers fan, DRSG Committee and anger management failure Rob Johnson writes another top 10 of disappointment and frustrating signings…

I was criticised in some corners for the ‘top ten Rovers villains’ article for focusing on negatives rather than positives. Those naysayers have obviously never heard football writer Nick Hornby’s quote ‘the natural state of the football fan is bitter disappointment, no matter what the score’. With that in mind we bring you a list of players that arrived at Rovers with big expectations only to end up being bobbins. So in no particular order:

  1. Mirsad Bubalovic 1999

1 Game 0 Goals 

Mirsad arrived in the summer of 1999 in a blaze of indifference. People had to sit up and take notice (or stand up and take notice as it would have been then. RIP Belle Vue) when stadium announcer Dave Parker delivered what must go down as one of the all time ill advised proclamations by introducing Bubalovic as ‘the finest player to ever grace Belle Vue’. By default this would instantly put the little known Croatian striker ahead of Alick Jeffrey, Paul Gascoigne and erm… Darren Esdaille. No goals and 3 months later Bubalovic was shipped off to Altrincham before eventually retiring. He tragically died in a car crash in 2010.

  1. Darren Byfield 2008-09

16 Games 0 Goals 

Journeyman striker Darren Byfield arrived at Rovers following our glorious playoff victory over Leeds United on the back of a solid season with Bristol City in which they had reached the Championship playoff final themselves. Byfield had a decent record with Millwall, Gillingham and Rotherham and had been Bristol City’s top scorer the season before albeit with only 8 goals. The fact that he had once captained England on one of my championship manager games only added to my personal excitement.

With an air of inevitably Byfield looked like he could play for a thousand years and never score and after a brief loan spell with Oldham, Byfield was released after one season, 16 appearances and 0 goals.

Indeed Byfields only contribution was the addition of his wife Jamelia to the stands bringing a touch of rare glamour to the Keepmoat crowd.

  1. Abdul Razak 2015

9 Games 0 Goals 

Razak was brought in during the January transfer window of the 2014-15 season as the final piece of the jigsaw to help cement our place in the play offs. Signing Razak was a drawn out affair either because of problems securing international clearance or because Razak kept going in two footed on airport security and giving his passport away to opposition travellers.  Rovers manager Paul Dickov assured us that Razak would be ‘worth the wait’.

Razak eventually arrived in time to feature in the valentine’s day thrashing of Yeovil and looked pretty good by all accounts. He also came on three days later for the 2-1 victory against Oldham. International footballer (!) Razak would taste victory only once more in Rovers colours and after being subbed off inside half an hour against Coventry to prevent being sent off Razak was promptly released after just 9 games.

  1. Gary Williams 1999-2000

16 Games 2 Goals

Williams earned a move up the football ladder after hitting 24 goals in 24 games for Accrington Stanley and was signed for Rovers by Ian Snodin over a pint and a table full of betting slips (probably). Williams managed to do what Byfield and Bubalovic couldn’t by actually scoring a couple, but after 16 games he was sold back to Accrington for £20,000 less than the £50,000 that Rovers shelled out for him. Imagine that lonely trudge back into the Accrington changing rooms and having to face the tea lady who had signed his leaving card only weeks before. Football can be a cruel game…

  1. Adriano Rigoglioso 2003-2006

33 Games 1 Goal 

After promotion to the football league Rovers set about signing the cream of the crop from the conference bringing in Gregg Blundell, Michael McIndoe and Rigoglioso.

Rigo had consistently forged a reputation as a goal scoring midfielder during his time at Morecambe and came with good pedigree having been at Liverpool in his youth.

Unfortunately it all came unstuck for Rigoglioso at Rovers as he managed just 8 starts over two and a half years and only one solitary goal in the Football League Trophy. The goal itself was an absolute belter but unfortunately only 1375 people were there to see it and there is no footage of it available anywhere.

Rigo did a Gary Williams by returning to Morecambe and he never got another chance in the football league again.

  1. Billy Sharp (second spell)

 12 games 4 goals

This is not an attempt at controversy as I think I speak for everyone when I say that Billy Sharp will always be a Rovers legend but there is no denying that his loan spell in our relegation season of 2013-14 ended in bitter disappointment.

Billy arrived as our would be saviour after Rovers have suffered an appalling Christmas period that saw us in the relegation zone. Things started off as expected as Sharp scored the equalizer in his first game back with the tiniest of touches at Blackpool. In his second game Sharp was heavily involved in a 3-0 victory against Charlton in which he won a penalty. Billy then received an uncharacteristic red card away at Brighton but came back strong with goals in consecutive games in home victories against Huddersfield and Watford. He had time for one more moment of glory in a Rovers shirt as he scored in a 2-1 victory against Leeds and Elland Road.

That win left Rovers needing just one more win from the remaining 7 games with the stage set for Sharp to continue his Rovers fairy tale. Alas Rovers managed just one point and Sharps form declined so badly that he didn’t even make it on the pitch for our last stand, away at Leicester until the last five minutes.

4 goals in 12 games isn’t a disaster but nobody wanted to see Billy’s Rovers career end like that.

  1. Carl Alford

17 Games 1 Goals 

After scoring an incredible 42 goals in 39 games for Stevenage, Rovers fans were thrilled when Alford was signed for £50,000 in May 2000. Unfortunately Alford’s goal scoring touch completely abandoned him in spectacular fashion. Despite scoring just once Alford was constantly preferred over the popular Ian Duerdan which resulted in Rovers fans turning on then manager Steve Wignall. Alford looked unfit and uninterested during his entire time at Rovers and nobody was sad to hear of his departure to Yeovil Town apart from local takeaways.

Alford retired having scored only once at Belle Vue. Against Rovers obviously.

  1. Any player involved in ‘The Experiment’

It is impossible to choose just one mercenary from Rovers darkest hour so I have decided to go for all of them. Here is a full list of players that Rovers brought in under evil Sith lord Willie McKay:

Mamadou Bagayoko

Herald Goulon

Habib Beye

Habib Bamogo

Frederic Piquionne

Fabien Robert

Damein Plessis

Pascal Chimbonda

Marc-Antoine Fortune

Herita Ilunga

El Hadji Diouf

Despite having 223 international caps between them they could not prevent Rovers from sliding into league 1 like a turd down the toilet bowl. They all promptly left that Summer and The Experiment caused a rift between Rovers fans that has never properly healed. ‘Disappointing’ doesn’t really being to cover it.

  1. Marc De Val Fernandez 2013-2014

16 Games 0 Goals

Real Madrid to Doncaster Rovers is not a particularly common career move but that is how things turned out for defensive midfielder Marc De Val via a spell with Olimpic Xativa. Rovers fans were understandably excited about the signing of a Spanish centre midfielder and hopes of having signed the next Xavi only increased when footage appeared of De Val scoring a free kick in a reserve game. That was as good as it got for De Val with 16 lacklustre appearances and no goals. Trust Rovers to find the only Spanish centre midfielder with no real technique.

  1. Justin Jackson 2001-2003 

43 Games 5 Goals 

For many if not all Rovers fans, if you had asked who their ideal realistic signing would be back in 2001 the answer would have unanimous. Justin Jackson was undoubtedly the most feared striker outside of the football league hitting 47 goals in two seasons for Morecambe and Rushden & Diamonds. When word filtered through on a Tuesday afternoon that Rovers had signed Jackson and he would start that night against Boston the mood on the travelling coaches was buoyant. This continued as Rovers went 2-0 up only to draw in dramatic fashion following two stoppage time goals from Daryl ‘tears’ Clare. Jackson had played well but missed the big chance that came his way. His opening game would turn out to be a microcosm for his entire spell at Belle Vue.

Plagued by rumours of off field controversy Jackson scored just 5 goals in 43 games for Rovers and was eventually forgotten due to the form of Paul Barnes. Along with Alford and Williams it was Jackson who contributed the most to Belle Vue being known as a ‘strikers graveyard’.

BLACK BANK: Doncaster Rovers Legends Vote 1879-1948

10 Legends have been short-listed by the Black Bank over a period spanning 69 years, only one can feature on the Legends Banner (more HERE). DRSG Committee member Lee Croft takes a closer look at each candidate and what they achieved whilst at Doncaster Rovers:

Albert Jenkins (1879-1886)

Probably the most famous name connected with Doncaster Rovers in the 19th Century. Albert Jenkins has the honour of being claimed as the founder of Doncaster Rovers. After getting together a makeshift team from the Railway works to play against the Deaf and Dumb school, Jenkins XI found themselves 4-0 down at half time. Somehow they managed to pull it level to 4-4 in the second half, and the story goes that after the game the group of rail workers made their way back to town and stopped at the Hall Cross on South Parade for a breather. It was that moment where Jenkins and his co-workers decided to keep playing football, and chose the name Doncaster Rovers. For that feat alone (never mind being secretary for the club) he has earned his place forever in Rovers folklore.

Walter Langton (1887-1905)

Ahh, good old Walter. The biggest Rovers related mystery of our history (only just beating the signing of Lee Fowler). Despite 18 seasons with the club, Langton is only credited with less than 50 league appearances for the club, the main reason for this is that most of his Rovers career was spent when the club wasn’t part of the Football League and spent its early years playing friendlies before joining the Midland League. Unfortunately none of the appearance or player data was recorded (or at least archived) for these seasons, meaning 16 of Langton’s 18 seasons remain unknown on how many times he played. It is estimated that in total he played around 500 games for the rovers. One thing that isn’t up for debate however is his title of being the longest serving player in Doncaster Rovers history.

Alonzo Drake (1902-03)

Drake joined the Rovers in 1902 in the latter half of our inaugural season as a member of the Football League. He played in the last 13 games of the season scoring 6 goals which saw him go into the next season as a regular. Sadly though the club couldn’t build on the success of the previous season and we’re voted out of the league in favour of Bradford City. Drake was subsequently transferred to Sheffield United. However his legendary status isn’t from being arguably our best player during our first stint in the Football League, as Drake would soon rise in county cricket and 6 years later broke into the Yorkshire first team. His 5 year stint in the Yorkshire side would see him prove to be as good as cricket as he was a footballer, scoring 4800 runs and taking 480 wickets, which included taking 5 wickets and conceding no runs in 1914. Drake is perhaps the only one on the list whose ‘legendary’ status was probably earned after he left DRFC. But for many years following, any discussion around DRFC would often include the young Alonzo Drake.

Tom Keetley (1923-29)

180 goals in 231 matches says it all really. Not only our record goalscorer but also one of the highest goal-to-game ratio ever recorded. 9th in English and Scotland Football with an average of 0.75. Prolific doesn’t do justice to Tom Keetley, a natural finisher? Not quite right. A Goal Machine? Probably doesn’t fit the bill perfectly, but it’s the closest I can find. Keetley also held the record for scoring 6 goals in one match against Ashington. Three of his brothers also played for the club, but only Tom is ever remembered. He was sold to Notts County in 1929 for £750. Just over £4 per goal the club made from him. The transfer record of English football at that time was £10,890, taking in mind Rovers were plying their trade in the Third Division, that wasn’t a bad return at all.

Fred Emery 1924-36

Another strong contender with stats on his side. Emery was and remains (for now) the all time record league appearance holder for Doncaster. Notching up 417 games in his 12 years with the club. After joining the club in 1924 and making a handful of appearances in the 1924/25 season, the 1925/26 season would see him become a regular playing in 38 of the 42 league matches. A few seasons later in 1928-29 he started and played every single game in the season, a feat he would repeat in the 1933/34 season. Considering this was achieved at the age of 34, he was a fans favourite and after hanging up his boots in 1936 he took on the role as manager, with only the second world war forcing him to leave.

George Gladwin 1930-37

Gladwin joined the club in 1930 when the club released most of its players (due to being unable to fund their summer wages) and was originally intended to be a ‘cheaper’ option. Despite this however Gladwin nailed a place in the side and went on to make over 200 appearances for the club. He was part of the DRFC squad that won promotion from the Third Division as Champions in 1934-35. The first title Doncaster Rovers would win after nearly 60 in existent. Gladwin left the club in 1937 for Manchester United, where he stayed for 6 years. Despite this, the only honour he achieved in his career was the league win with the Rovers.

Syd Bycroft 1936-51

I don’t think anyone needs me to explain how Syd’s career went. Probably the most known pre-war Rovers player and definitely legend. A 15 year career that saw him play over 500 times for the club. Sadly he didn’t pass Emery’s record due to the Football League being suspended during World War 2 (at which Bycroft remained at the club playing in the wartime league). The most famous moment of Bycroft’s career was going up against Tommy Lawton of Notts County, with Lawton later recalling to Michael Parkinson that in between kicking lumps out of each other, Bycroft had sold him a set of car tyres. If that wasn’t enough to earn him legendary status, Bycroft was also described by Parkinson of having a tackle like “a beartrap”.

Clarrie Jordan 1940-48

Another one whose stats speak for themselves. Over 60 goals in a hundred games for the Rovers in the wartime league would see Clarrie Jordan earn himself a place in the 1946/47 Third Division North season. With the rest of the country recovering from the war, Clarrie and the Rovers hit the ground running to have arguably our most successful season ever. Jordan’s 42 goals that season helped the Rovers achieve the highest ever points total in a 2 points system with 22 games, as well as earn Jordan a place in Rovers’ history as the most goals scored in one season.

Bert Tindill 1944-58

As with Jordan, Tindill was also credited of playing and helping to fire Rovers to the 1946/47 Third Division Title. He featured in the opening 9 games, and scoring 7 from the right wing made him look a hot prospect. However he was dropped as Jack Kirkaldie was picked over him for the Right Wing position for the rest of the season. 2 years later however, and under manager Peter Doherty, Tindill would become a familiar face in the squad as Doherty’s Rovers won promotion back to the Second Division in 1949 and stayed there for the next 8 seasons. Tindill left the club in 1958 having played alongside legends Doherty, Bycroft, Alick Jeffrey, Clarrie Jordan and with 402 appearances to his name, 366 of them coming under Doherty’s reign makes it hard not to include him in any list of Rovers legends.

Ken Hardwick 1945-57

Like the two before him, Hardwick joined the Rovers at the close of the war and made his debut in the wartime leagues. He was part of the squad during that record breaking season but didn’t become a full regular until the 1948-49 season, once again under Doherty. During what is often referred to as the golden age, Ken Hardwick was the ever reliant man between the sticks. It was a golden age for keepers at DRFC in those days, as his understudy and back up keeper was none other than Harry Gregg who would eventually replace Hardwick as Rovers number 1 before becoming the most expensive keeper at the time. Hardwick left however with 308 appearances and 2 promotions whilst a DRFC player.

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TOP 10 ROVERS VILLAINS

Rob Johnson pens down for us his top 10* Rovers Villains to have been known (and hated) by the Rovers faithful:

*Rob got so angry writing it after 8, fellow Committee Members Wesley Grimes and Lee Croft put forward the case for Cotterill and Dickinson respectively.

I had so much fun writing about Rovers top ten unsung heroes that I thought I would turn my attention to the darker side of our history. Here we have the top ten biggest Rovers villains. The only criteria is that only indiscretions committed whilst not at Rovers will be considered so no “Wanker” Weaver, Ken Richardson or Julie Richardson or Barry Richardson…

In no particular order (except no. 1):

10. Paul Caddis

Unique on this list as he has never actually done anything of note against Rovers directly but indirectly not many people have had more of an effect on our recent history. Rovers went into to the last game away at champions Leicester needing to match or beat Birmingham’s result against Bolton.

Rovers were lacklustre against a Leicester side who seemed to have no desire to score at all until James Husband needlessly scythed down Riyad Mahre in the box with Dave Nugent slotting home the resulting penalty.

With Birmingham 2-0 down at Bolton though it didn’t seem like it was going to matter until news filtered through that Zigic had pulled one back for Birmingham and then the inevitable happened. Another Zigic header was cleared off the line and Paul Caddis, or Paul ‘fucking’ Caddis as he will more likely become known, was on hand to head home a dramatic and sickly equalizer in the third minute of stoppage time. 

9. Chris Moyles

Another last day disaster against Cheltenham Town led to Rovers having to go in to the play offs at the end of the 07/08 season and after crushing Southend 5-1 at the Keepmoat Rovers were poised to play Leeds United in the play off final.

In the run up to the game Moyles had Kaiser Chiefs Ricky Wilson as a guest on his Radio 1 breakfast show. Moyles and Wilson are both Leeds fans and Moyles continually mocked Rovers on the show for our fan base and small ground and other such nonsense.

Moyles ‘big club mentality’ was indicative of the attitude of a lot of Leeds fans at the time which made it that little bit sweeter when Hayter scored his historic winning goal. This incident also led to me starting a Facebook group entitled ‘Chris Moyles is a fat dickhead’. It currently has 353 likes. 

8. Chris Tate

Despite having played against us for Scarborough in our record breaking relegation season out of the football league it wasn’t until the following season that Chris Tate would first become known to Rovers fans.

In October 1999, Tate helped to knock us out of the FA cup by scoring in a 2-0 victory for Halifax. He celebrated in front of the Rovers fans which just confirmed our natural, initial suspicions of Tate as he is the namesake of villainous Chris Tate from Emmerdale .

Less than a month later Rovers fans were surprised to see him bounding around Belle Vue once again with his stupid floppy hair flowing in the wind celebrating the winning goal in a 1-0 win. This time for Scarborough. Then just six days later he played his part in a huge brawl that saw two men sent off, including Rovers Mike Newell, and five players (including Tate) booked. To go from being someone Rovers fans had never heard of to being roundly loathed in the space of less than a month is impressive. 

7. Ronnie Moore

Ronnie Moore is illegitimate, he has got no birth certificate, he’s got AID’s and he can’t get rid of it. He’s a Rotherham bastard. Bastard. Bastard. That is what I was told on the Popular Stand from a young age and I don’t think anyone can argue with some of the great minds who used to assemble there. He is also apparently the owner of a wanker’s hat.

Having played for bitter rivals Rotherham as well as managing them twice Moore is the modern day face of Rotherham United. What an awful face it is. 

6. Daryl Clare

Rovers started the 01/02 season full of confidence and this reached fever pitch when we found out we had signed prolific striker Justin Jackson whilst sat on the coach to Boston. Jackson made his debut that night but Clare stole the show scoring twice in stoppage time to break Rovers hearts after going 2-0 up. Clare angered the Rovers fans that night by celebrating wildly in front of the Rovers support.

The lack of an actual local derby during the conference years led to some curious rivalries developing with the likes of Scarborough, Boston, Rushden & Diamonds and particularly Chester filling the hole left by the lack of trips to Scunthorpe or Rotherham. After the Boston incident Clare again scored against us in the return game at Belle Vue in a 1-0 for Boston before leaving for Chester the following season after struggling for goals in league 2. After playing in a bad tempered game at the Deva Stadium which saw Rovers have two men sent off and losing 1-0 we met Chester City in the playoff semi final.

After two epic games (covered in more detail later) nothing could separate the two sides and the tie went to penalties. Clare hilariously missed his penalty and then preceded to openly burst into tears as Rovers went through despite being second best in both legs. Thus Daryl ‘tears’ Clare was born. 

5. Steve Evans

Evans has managed to escape national notoriety for his continuous appalling behaviour by managing clubs that literally nobody could care less about like Boston, Crawley and Rotherham but his Wikipedia entry reads like a list of ‘how to be a fat tosser‘.

It is difficult to pin point why Evans is so hated by the Rovers faithful but just his mere continued presence on the sideline as manager of Boston appears to be the starting point. He just looks disgusting with his grotesque face which somehow always looks like he is wearing makeup like some nightmarish surreal video of a serial killer clown from the dark web.

The peak of Evans buffoonish behaviour came at the end of this season however as he paraded around in a silly hat following Rotherham avoiding relegation – possibly a wanker’s hat that he borrowed from Ronnie Moore. 

4. Carl Dickinson

Having spent most of his career at Stoke, Dickinson never played against the Rovers much apart from a few shadow appearances whilst at Blackpool and Barnsley. However Dickinson’s reputation with Rovers fans came to prominence in 2011 at Fratton Park. The Rovers of SOD were leading a well deserved Portsmouth side by 3 goals to 2, the Rovers started their usual slick passing with Rovers fans cheering “ole” every-time they touched the ball. James Hayter grabbed the ball on the wing and attempted to cut inside only for Dickinson to come flying in with his studs showing and Hayter, who tried to jump out of the way, still felt the full force of the tackle and collapsed to a heap on the floor.

The Referee rightly showed Dickinson a red card, to which Dickinson reacted disgustingly and came face to face with David Healy who had just scored the winner. He did later apologise for what can only be described as a common assault, but he tried to justify his disgusting reaction by saying Healy reacting only winded him up. 

If that wasn’t enough to make Rovers fans dislike Dickinson, he showed up at the Keepmoat with Port Vale in 2014 and scored to make it 3-0 to the valiants, celebrating in front of the South Stand. In the reverse fixture at Vale Park he found his new target in Nathan Tyson. Surprisingly he managed to knock Tyson to the ground on many occasions and give away 3 or 4 fouls against Tyson without the Ref going to his pocket. To make it even worse he then used his elbow as a tactic of preventing Tyson reaching a loose ball in the Vale Box with the ref allowing play to continue with such criminal behaviour, once again he showed his vile side in front of the Rovers faithful.

3. Steve Cotterill

Steve Cotterill – He’s always been a cretin right back to the Conference days when he managed Cheltenham and the old tale goes that he riled Ian Snodin up to the point where he put his boot through the dressing room door. His teams are taught to play football in the worst way. He’s an anti-O’Driscoll so to speak. Ugly (both on the pitch and facially, see Dave Kitson), overly physical and direct to the point that a Dean Saunders team would look like Brazil. Naturally as with most villains its always been effective as he’s bullied his way out of numerous divisions, trampling on our side every time on their way. He epitomised what a real piece of work he was while at Portsmouth in 2010/11. The referee was a complete disgrace that day as the usual Cotterill line up kicked lumps out of our tippy tappy, slender built side and it was allowed to continue. It came to a head with one of the most blatant red cards (The ref got that one right) you’ve ever seen that Steve Cotterill had the temerity to decide post game that ‘there wasn’t much in it actually’. It wasn’t far off a leg breaker, studs up and foot off the ground.

The other game that season he was enraged and started gobbing off to Olde English gentleman Sean O’Driscoll for a good couple of minutes as the whistle blew. I’ll always remember it in my head as SOD cowering in the dugouts, shaking like a lost puppy, defenceless while Cotterill wildly gestated and shouted till he was literally purple but this may have been exaggerated as years have gone by. 

2. Dave Kitson

Dave Kitson appears to have based his entire career on trolling Rovers fans.There is no player in the modern era who has brought bile to the throats of Rovers fans more often than Dave Kitson. Starting in 2003 when he scored twice at Abbey Stadium for Cambridge in a famous 3-3 draw and ending with his sickening equalizer for Sheff Utd at the Keepmoat in 2013.

I have nothing against ginger hair but there is no need for someone to flaunt it so outrageously as Kitson. This, coupled with his permanent scowl and small beady eyes give him the look of an insidious fox, constantly prowling around in the hope of slaughtering defenceless animals. For fun.

We didn’t meet again until Kitson scored the only goal in a 1-0 defeat at home to Reading and celebrated with his now customary gusto by running round the entire ground. Reports that he continued his celebrations by murdering a small child and drinking their blood remain unconfirmed.

That summer Kitson became Stoke City’s record signing as they inexplicably splashed out 5.5 million to bring him to the Brittania Stadium and in doing so sullied memories of our famous play off final victory there.

Kitson popped up again with a goal at the Keepmoat, this time for Portsmouth in a 2-0 defeat in February 2011, at this point I thought surely that would be the last time… I was very wrong.

The following season Kitson played 35 games and scored a meagre 4 goals. 50% of his return came in two Portsmouth victories against Rovers. The first in a 3-1 loss at Portsmouth and the second in a 4-3 home defeat in which Kitson scored the winning goal after fouling somebody in the run up and handling the ball for another Pompey goal.

In 2013 Kitson scored against us for his fourth different club in the last minute of a 2-2 draw on New Years Day and cupped his pale hands to his disgusting ear as he completed his usual lap of the Keepmoat pitch.

Kitson has scored against us 7 times, for 4 different clubs over 10 years. He has recently signed for non league Arseley Town so his reign of terror might not be over just yet. Expect us to draw them in the FA cup next season…

Kitson might be the Secret Footballer but it is definitely no secret that he is a bell end.

1. Kevin McIntyre

Macca was brought to Rovers by Ian Snodin in 1999 and quickly became a fans favourite for his tough tackling and sweet left foot. After becoming injured at the start of the 01/02 season Rovers continued to pay his wages and offered him a new contract despite him having not played for a year. McIntyre instead opted to abandon Rovers despite the support and good will he had received from both the club and the fans and join bitter rivals Chester City on a free.

Emotions ran high as McIntyre emerged from the player tunnel as a Chester City player for the first time in September of 2002 and was subjected to a torrent of abuse from angry and betrayed Rovers fans throughout the match.

McIntyre also played in the return game which saw two players sent off for Rovers and McIntyre himself booked in a bad tempered game but it wasn’t until the playoff games when things really kicked off.

McIntyre received wave after wave of abuse at Belle Vue in the first leg but he silenced the Rovers fans when putting Chester 1-0 up, only for Tristram Whitman to equalize in the final minute. In the second leg Chester again went 1-0 up only for Paul Barnes to equalize with his tits and although Macca scored in the shoot out he had to face watching Rovers move into the football league while he had to stay in the conference.

There was to be one more twist in the tail as Rovers drew Chester in the League cup the following season and Franny Tierney left Macca on his arse on his way to scoring the only goal in a 1-0 victory, thus further giving the Rovers fans a chance to remind McIntyre what he was missing.

To paraphrase Alan Partridge ‘needless to say, we had the last laugh… now fuck off!’

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