Tag Archives: Belle Vue

What We Learnt From Meet The Owners

Twice a year, fans have the opportunity to gather together without having to endure any actual football in the form of a ‘Meet The Owners’ evening. The world famous Keepmoat hospitality suite is the venue and any Tom, Dick or Dickhead has the opportunity to grill the people responsible for making the big decisions at Doncaster Rovers. Here’s a brief summary of what happened…

• First of all, Fergie. The fans love him, that’s very clear. This was made abundantly obvious when nearly every single question was directed to him. It was like when you have that one favourite uncle at Christmas and you are trying to tell him how much you love your new Christmas Lego and your other two fucking uncles keep trying to join in. Fuck off uncle Ian!

• Although DF was asked some stupid questions at times, he managed to remain dignified and eloquent in the face of constant idiocy. When being repeatedly asked about departing players ‘What about Rob Jones?, What about the McKay’s? What about Harry Forrester?’, Fergie replied with ‘Well where does it end? What about Brian Stock?’ cue laughter. Well played Darren. Well played.

• It was nice to see DF also treating the question ‘Can you borrow your Dads hair dryer?’ with the utter disdain that it merited. The question ‘Can you borrow any players from Manchester United?’ was also correctly batted away with ‘We don’t want any!’

• It was positive to see Fergie once again singing the praises of the Black Bank commenting, ‘Amazing, both home and away they’ve been amazing. Supporters have been fantastic even when it’s not been going our way.’

• Dick Watson was drinking pints of 1879. Man of the people.

• The biggest laugh of the night somehow came from the DRSG’s very own Lee Croft. As friends of Crofty will attest to, the thin white duke is very rarely knowingly funny so this will possibly go down as the best moment of his life. When Gavin Baldwin handed the mic to Mr Croft to explain the complications with purchasing tickets online, Crofty performed in outstanding fashion, reciting the various long-winded links as if it was second nature and being rewarded with a round of applause and a chorus of laughter (pity?) from those at the top table. Reports that Crofty then dropped the mic and drove off into the night with Cheddar Bob and 50 Cent are yet to be confirmed.

• On a more serious note, Fergie was bullish about our current defensive woes stating we have a system to suit all our defenders and that he currently thinks that area is ‘…ok’. Hmmm.

• Another point raised was the formation of the supporters’ board. Martin O’Hara explained how the board would allow members from all the supporters organisations to meet regularly and feed back to the club directly. Minutes of these meetings will be available for all to see and there will also be a spot on the Doncaster Rovers website where fans can submit their feedback to the club 24/7.

• Of course, the subject of catering reared it’s grotesque, overpriced head once again. I think every fan sat there knew it was bound to at some point. Yet again, there were mentions of the infamous ‘national baker’ nearby. I have no idea what company the people are raving about but they always mention it.

• Rovers new kit supplier will be FTB (me neither). In fairness, a £39.99 price point is not overly ludicrous and as this is FTB’s opportunity to break into the UK market, they will probably be willing to chuck a lot of money at the club to promote their kits; hence the possibility of a potentially life ruining pre-season tour of Thailand. Unfortunately, we don’t yet know how much pies are going to be at stadiums in Asia, or if you can pay on the gate. Tickets for Mayfield’s plane will be available soon I’m sure of it…

Lizzie Robinson & Rob Johnson

Doncaster Rovers vs Port Vale – Report

Rovers incredible recent luck runs out with a deserved defeat…

  • Darren Ferguson was visibly frustrated by Port Vale’s time wasting but had Rovers not gone behind yet again then Vale wouldn’t have been in a position to waste time at all. Rovers have now gone behind in 8 out of 16 league games since Fergie took over.
  • Ferguson has done such a good job of not being Paul Dickov since taking over in October that he has been totally (and mostly correctly) exempt from criticism. Signing another midfielder in Eddy Lecygne when our defence is so weak has to be scrutinized heavily however.
  • All it took was one decent ball into the box and the Vale were 1-0 after five minutes. Rovers defence struggled with balls into the box all evening but a back three of Lund, McCullough and Taylor-Sinclair would also struggle with a passing cat if it happened to wander into the penalty area. It is irresponsible of Darren Ferguson to ever allow such a trio to play together.
  • Despite certainly not being the worst of the three, Mitchell Lund was the first to be sacrificed, first to right wing back and then to the bench. He was perhaps unlucky to be removed whilst McCullough was allowed to continue his reign of terror in a red and white shirt. Mcullough treats a high bouncing ball like a weasel treats a hand grenade. First with bewilderment and then with sheer horror and it was this lack of confidence that resulted in the second goal.
  • Having said that Eddy Lecygene’s attempt to clear the ball for the second goal was abysmal and completely lacking in conviction which is unforgivable for someone looking to impress at a new club. This only raises further questions about the defence being left to rot while the transfer window draws to a close.
  • Perhaps the defence would have fared better had they been protected by Paul Keegan. Playing Conor Grant as a holding midfielder was the worst of both worlds as he looked restricted going forward and not strong enough when defending. Quite what Richard Chaplow has done to merit a place in the starting XI it is difficult to imagine.
  • The third of the midfield trio was also out of sorts. Copps is nothing but not reliable but he continuously gave the ball away in an uncharacteristically slack display. It was a maddening performance from Coppinger who also provided many of Rovers few decent moments. Judging by his reaction at being substituted he realizes how poor he was and Rovers will expect a reaction from their captain in the coming weeks.
  • Up front Lynden Gooch showed some nice touches and should have had an assist from his inch perfect first half cross, only for Chaplow to not even test the keeper. Andy Williams cut a forlorn figure without Nathan Tyson (baby) chasing lost causes down the wing. Get well soon Tyson. You are sorely missed.
  • There was to be no late drama this time as Evina’s deflected cross was not enough to secure a point. It would have been a travesty had Rovers found a way back into the much however. This was as abject a performance as you are likely to see. Rovers search for a home win in 2016 continues.

Winners

Paul Keegan – His stake for a place was only made stronger by the ineptitude of those chosen in his place. Surely Keegan will prevail in the battle of the bald midfielder’s when the next starting line up is chosen.

Theo Robinson – Last laugh and all that. It was actually quite refreshing to hear Theo receive a good reception from the Rovers fans. Despite rarely resembling an actual footballer he did always give 100% whilst in a red and white shirt. Probably nice for him to sit with Main on the bench all night though. Just like old times.

Losers

Rovers Injury List  – Stuckmann going off at half time with after a nasty looking fall means he joins Andy Butler, Nathan Tyson and Cameron Stewart on the sidelines. This growing injury crisis is currently costing Rovers any say in the play offs.

Rovers home form – Since the start of last season Rovers home record reads thus:

P 37 W12 D 11 L 14

Losing more home games than you have won is obviously completely unacceptable and this needs to be at the forefront of Fergie’s to do list. Along with some nice shiny new defenders please.

Curtis Main – Currently fifth choice behind Andy Williams, Nathan Tyson, Lynden Gooch and Liam Mandeville. The latter two  have started 9 games between them in their whole careers. Curtis Main scored 8 league goals last season. Someone put him out of his misery and sign him up. He deserves better than this.

 

 

Highbury – Away Ground Review

‘Just a tram-stop in Blackpool’, a chant sang by the Rovers fans at the game yesterday is probably one of the more accurate ways to describe our away trip to the coast…

As much as I love seaside towns, Fleetwood is one of the quietest places we’ve been to on our travels this season with the best nearby pub being the Wetherspoon’s next to the tower and the central pier in Blackpool.

The ground itself really shows the success story of Fleetwood since escaping non-league football a few years ago. You could liken the vast majority of the ground (excluding the new stand) to places like The Northolme, home of Gainsborough Trinity, and other grounds belonging to sides who aren’t currently in the football league. This obviously means that there is quite a lot of traditional character which you don’t seen very often as a Rovers fan.

We also got to experience the luxury that is terracing. Nothing gets better than standing up for 90 minutes, jumping about behind the goal and I wish there were more grounds with areas for safe standing across the country because it really improves the atmosphere.

Despite the ground’s appearance leaving a lot to be desired, the prices of things were what you would expect from a Championship ground. £3.50 for a pie is daylight robbery and don’t get me started on ticket prices. I could rant about that for hours.

Not only were the pies overpriced, the snack bar was a huge disappointment. No alcohol on the terrace, no burgers and the most obscure pie brand I’ve seen in a while. They’d even sold out of chicken balti ones by the time I arrived at the front of the queue so I had to settle for ‘peppered steak’.

One of the few saving graces the ground did have was the pleasant surprise of the toilets. No strange smells, working flushes, clean seats and floors. It was madness. I’ll admit though it is a bit worrying when you visit a ground and the quality of the ladies’ toilets is the thing you’re most impressed by.

Overall I think that Fleetwood is a decent away trip. This isn’t due to the ground itself, but because of the great day out many fans had in Blackpool before the game and the thrill of having terracing to stand on. If the result had been a bit more positive perhaps I would find the ground a bit more bearable and this whole review would have been more positive, but that’s another story altogether.

Doncaster Rovers vs Fleetwood – Preview

Despite hovering just about the relegation zone, Fleetwood actually have a decent record at home this season. 5 of their 7 wins have come at Highbury (including 4-0 wins against Burton and Colchester and a 5-1 thrashing of Swindon), and the Cod Army have conceded a relatively paltry 12 goals in their 12 home games.

Fleetwood have also lost just once in their last 7 games in all competitions so Rovers should be wary when making the trip to the sleepy coastal town. Realistically however, if the reds have genuine designs on reaching the play offs, this is exactly the kind of game that should yield 3 points. Rovers will welcome new signing Lyndon Gooch to the squad. The spectacularly named Gooch can play anywhere in attack and looks set to offer back up in a number of positions.

Rovers have not lost on the road since October but with Harry Middleton, Nathan Tyson, Cameron Stewart and crucially Andy Butler all due to miss out on Saturday it will be no walk in the park for the South Yorkshire side. Butlers absence will probably see Mitchell Lund take his place at centre back and Paul Keegan will have to be at his best as a defensive shield for his three centre backs to repel a free scoring (at home at least) Fleetwood side.

Having gone to Fleetwood last season I can testify that the best way to enjoy the day is to spend as much time in Blackpool as possible before reluctantly making the short trip to Fleetwood. Having suffered the ignominy of being the only seaside town unable to offer decent fish and chips, Fleetwood then had the gall to comfortably beat us 3-1. Hopefully they will be more accommodating to the away support this time round.

Match Prediction Fleetwood 1-3 DRFC (Williams (2), Grant)

The match against Fleetwood awards Rovers the chance to complete a double over league 1 opposition for the first time this season. With a young and inexperienced defence on show however it looks likely that Fergie’s tactic to outscore the opposition will once again come under scrutiny. With Andy Williams in red hot form it is possible Rovers could be in the clear before Fleetwood have chance to hit back.

Doncaster Rovers vs Gillingham – Match Report

This Rovers side just don’t know when they are beat…

• Another barnstorming finish and another comeback that would have seemed a laughable prospect under Paul Dickov. Darren Ferguson has taken a lacklustre and uninterested team in the relegation zone and transformed them into the league 1 entertainers.

• Rovers were lucky to have had the opportunity for a comeback though after a woeful opening hour. Rovers fully deserved to be two behind and former rover Stuart Nelson could have got the deckchair out as Rovers fired over the bar time and time again.

• Whilst the opening goal was a superb cross it was disappointing to see Rory Donnelly totally unmarked at the back post as Andy Butler found himself in no mans land. It was an uncharacteristic but costly error from the Doncaster born defender.

• If the first goal was avoidable the second goal was much worse as Rovers defended like a side on FIFA when someone goes to the toilet and forgets to press pause. Gillingham carved Rovers open with a simple ball through the middle and Donnelly kept his composure to score his 10th goal of the season.

• The main talking points in the starting line up were the return of Coppinger and the inclusion of Curtis Main. This was Main’s big chance after Nathan Tyson (baby) was injured in the warm up and boy did he blow it. Curtis lasted 50 minutes before being hauled off, his only contribution being to horribly miscue Rovers best first half chance. There is clearly a good player somewhere inside young Curtis but it beginning to feel inevitable that he needs to move elsewhere to fulfil his potential.

• Paul Keegan has made an enormous contribution since returning to the side and it is notable that Rovers upturn in fortunes today coincided with Keegan finally marking his mark on the game. Cameron Stewart spread the play and allowed Keegan to take control of a midfield battle that he emphatically lost in the first half. It seems to be simple – if Keegan plays well, Rovers play well.

• Cameron Stewart is an excellent player to bring off the bench and it was his glorious set piece that once again forced Rovers back into the match . It was worrying to see him stretchered off as his directness and set pieces are a vital and unique asset. Hopefully the stretcher was just a precaution but obviously a neck injury has the potential to be very serious. Get well soon Cameron.

• Such is Rovers ability to get back into games under Ferguson that it felt a case of ‘when’ not ‘if’ Rovers would equalize but I doubt anyone saw an equalizer of such exquisite quality coming. Andy Williams received the ball with his back to goal and two Gills defenders on him, the subsequent turn and finish was as good a goal as you will see anywhere in English football this weekend. Not since Billy Sharp in his prime have Rovers had a player so capable of creating a goal out of nothing.

• And yet… And yet. Williams had a much simpler chance to secure what would have been an unforgettable victory but blazed over the bar. It is literally ridiculous to leave that game believing we should have won considering every Rovers fan in the whole ground would have snatched your hand off if offered a draw on the hour mark. Not quite two points lost but with Williams’ big chance and Aaron Taylor Sinclair also squandering two good chances it could have been so much more than a point.

Winners

Andy Williams – With that goal there is no longer any doubt who has been our best player so far this season. It is now 11 goals in 14 games for the handsome striker and 14 for the season. If we keep Williams next season his goals could easily propel us into the play offs.

Fans of entertaining football – Rovers last 6 home games have yielded 18 goals. For the first time in a long time there is a notable air of excitement around home games not seen since the days of SOD. Terms like ‘feel good factor’ are annoyingly overused in football but it is difficult to think of another phrase that so adequately sums up what Darren Ferguson has brought to Doncaster Rovers.

Rovers midfield – After being abject for the first hour (Grant aside) the Rovers midfield pulled their collective socks up and Keegan, Coppinger and Evina were all excellent in the final third of the game. It takes character for a team to pick their heads up when things aren’t going well and the midfield deserve infinite credit for a stirring comeback.

Liam Mandeville – Certainly not ready to lead the line just yet but a spirited and promising performance from the academy striker will have worked wonders for his confidence. Mandeville should be looking at Lund and Middleton and busting a gut to follow in their footsteps.

Losers

Curtis Main – If anything should indicate to Darren Ferguson that we need another striker it was Curtis Main’s performance today. Always spirited, so rarely talented, the former Middlesbrough youngster needs a loan spell and some goals under his belt before he is to try and return to our first team.

Rovers fans – Having said that the reaction from large elements of the Rovers support when Main was substituted was disgusting. Ironic cheers are not something that an under confident 23 year old will benefit from hearing and nobody can doubt that Main at least put a shift in against Gillingham. Rovers ‘fans’ have form in this area, having also given young goalkeeper Gary Woods continued stick during his time at the club. Young players need encouragement and support. Act accordingly.

Stuart Nelson – Never liked him. Spent all the second half time wasting. Incredibly satisfying to see Williams shot squeeze post him.

DONCASTER ROVERS VS STOKE CITY – REPORT

Can Stoke do it on a cold, wet afternoon in Doncaster? Yes it turns out, but only just…

• Rovers fans awaited the line ups with more interest than usual in the run up to the third round FA cup tie against Stoke City. Would Ferguson play one up front or two? Keegan or Middleton? McCullough or Lund? And in terms of the visitors, how many of their magic front four would play? How seriously would Mark Hughes take it?

• Such is the embarrassment of riches at Stoke that even without Affelay, Bojan, Arnautovic and Shaqiri they were still able to include Peter Crouch, Jon Walters and Charlie Adam among others. Crouch and Adam alone have commanded over £50m in transfer fees, a phenomenal figure when taking into account Rovers much more modest transfer outlay.

• Despite the huge gulf in class on paper, Rovers started brightly and looked fairly comfortable until Aaron Taylor-Sinclair failed miserably to deal with Joselu on the right wing and his cross found Peter Crouch in the middle. 1-0.

• Rovers once again showcased their new found resilience and McCullough’s superb run and pass allowed Tyson to sweep home at the second attempt. Luke McCullough has been a near constant source of irritation and disappointment during his time at Rovers so it was bizarre to see him strolling past premier league players at ease. More of the same in the future please.

• Rovers had Stoke rattled after the goal with Williams displaying some nice touches and Keegan bossing a midfield he had no right bossing. Stoke manager Mark Hughes looked noticeably worried, although years of managing in the premier league have left the former Manchester United striker with a constant look of forlorn horror. There is a phenomenon amongst premier league managers to turn into old women the longer they continue at the top level. Stick a hairnet on Mark Hughes and put him in a bingo hall and he wouldn’t look at all out of place…

• Rovers continued where they had left off in the second half and looked fairly comfortable until Stuckmann’s moment of utter madness. To pass the ball straight to the opposition is unforgivable and whilst Walters finish was truly top class, the whole situation should and could have been avoided.

• It would have been easy for Rovers heads to drop after going behind but instead the reds best spell of the game followed with Andy Butler hitting the bar and heading over from close range and Nathan Tyson (baby) failing to turn home albeit from a difficult angle. Whilst a Charlie Adam inspired Stoke were impressive in the second half, even the most ardent Potter wouldn’t have begrudged Rovers an equalizer. I believe the correct parlance is ‘a proper cup tie’.

• It is not often that a club can take so many positives from a defeat and the fact that the Rovers players looked visibly gutted at the final whistle was an indication of just how close Donny came to forcing a replay. Rovers have come a long way since Darren Fergusons arrival and it is difficult not to be excited about the future. Rovers have already travelled to every team in the top 8 of league 1 and with 3 of our next 4 games at home there are plenty of reasons for optimism amongst the Keepmoat faithful

Winners
Paul Keegan – Fringe player to undroppable in a few short games. Keegan was immense against the Potters and should be proud of a battling and physical display against the masters of the dark arts. If he stays fit Keegan will play a vital part in the rest of the season.

Richard Chaplow – Could have had two assists on another day with Andy Butler squandering both of Chaplow’s pin point crosses. If Rovers are to genuinely push for a play off place this season then it is vital that the squad players play a part.

The Black Bank – It easy to forget after yet another unmitigated success that there were many who questioned the merits of an unreserved seating section at the start of the season. Following the successful tifo display and another 90 minutes of near constant noise, those doubters have emphatically been silenced. Rovers now have a fan movement to be proud of. Who would ever have seen that coming a year ago?

Losers
James Coppinger – An ankle injury kept Copps out of the squad which is a shame for a player who thrives on big games. The concern for Copps will be the performances of Grant, Middleton and Keegan respectively who were all excellent. No doubt Copps will walk back into the team when fit but a strong midfield showing against a premier league club will have made uncomfortable viewing for Coppinger.

Thorsten Stuckmann – Stuckmann has been our man of the match time and time again this season so nobody would begrudge him the occasional mistake. It’s just unfortunate it came in such a significant game. More worrying is the fact that the Big *CENSORED* German’s distribution is often poor. The obvious answer to such a charge however is that if Stuckmann’s passing was as good as his shot stopping and commanding of his area then he would be playing at a lot higher level than league 1.

Man of the Match – Paul Keegan

Keegs just edges out Andy Williams with a commanding midfield performance. It was a hugely successful day for the stand in (future?) skipper.

THE ONLY WAY IS CUP

 

Could this be the start of another unforgettable cup run?

McIndoe is GOD

 

In the midst of Rovers upcoming game against premier league Stoke City, this seems as good a time as any to look back on our memorable cup run of 2005.

As I was travelling home from a drab 1-0 victory against Wrexham in the League Cup, I could never in a million years have guessed the journey that Rovers had begun. I was mostly contemplating the direction in which my seemingly pointless life was heading as one is want to do when returning from a Tuesday night away game against Wrexham…

Playing that day for Wrexham were current Stoke City battering ram Jon Walters and remarkably, Rovers manager Darren Ferguson. How times have changed. Only James Coppinger in the Rovers line up remains a constant of course, with goal scorer Adam Hughes largely forgotten in the annuls of Rovers history.

Following that victory at the Racecourse Ground, Rovers promptly lost four league games in a row before beating Scunthorpe on the eve of an exciting home game against Manchester City. For the benefit of some of our younger readers, City had not yet become the footballing powerhouse they are now and this is indicative in their front two of Darius Vassell and Antoine Sibierski.

95 tense minutes failed to separate the two teams until Phil Maguire shoved Richard Dunne in the box. Vassell scored from the spot but Rovers were not to be denied as penalty specialist Michael McIndoe also converted an injury time penalty to take the tie to a penalty shoot out following Sylvain Distin’s handball. With Andy Warrington coming off injured in extra time (for a tackle that saw Nedum Onuoha sent off) the stage was set for Jan Budtz to make himself a hero. The dramatic victory was sealed as Budtz saved from Sibierski and Richard Dunne to send Belle Vue into raptures and Rovers through to the next round.

Largely forgotten about is Rovers third round tie against Gillingham in which the reds finally went through 2-0 after a late brace from Paul Heffernan setting up a blockbuster game against Aston Villa at Belle Vue.

Rovers game against Villa was their fourth in ten games so a degree of fatigue was expected. Rovers needn’t have worried. What absolutely nobody expected was the dominant and glorious victory that followed against the Premier League ever presents. Things could have been totally different had Rovers centre back Steve Foster been penalized for a blatant foul in the box on Milan Baros within the first five minutes however. Referee Mike Dean missed that one but he awarded Rovers a penalty 15 minutes later and the rest is history.

If there was a stroke of luck about the opener, there was nothing lucky about Rovers domineering second half performance as Paul Heffernan finished brilliantly from Lewis Guy’s knock down and Sean Thornton slammed home from 30 yards with a shot that absolutely didn’t take a deflection (don’t check, just take my word for it…)

 

Belle Vue’s biggest crowd for over thirty years (10,500) left the stadium knowing they had witnessed something special. It remains the best Rovers performance I have ever seen or to quote JR: ‘We are playing champagne football, as good as anyone in Yorkshire’.

Rovers were given another opportunity to claim a Premier League scalp just before Christmas 2005 in Arsenal. Whilst Gooners manager Arsene Wenger is well known for his contempt of the league cup, a strong line up containing Gilberto Silva, Alex Song, Aleksandr Hleb, Manuel Almunia, Nicklas Bendtner and Robin Van Persie arrived at Belle Vue probably thinking they had got lost on the way to the game and stumbled across some kind of Yorkshire post apocalyptic landscape.

I remember saying before the game that I would be happy if Rovers managed to score so even if it ended 4-1 or 5-1 the Rovers faithful would at least have a goal to celebrate. I got my wish after just  4 minutes as Michael Mcindoe somehow slotted home from an impossible angle. In my 20 years of watching Rovers I don’t think I have ever seen the home fans explode like they did when that goal hit the back of the net. Unbelievable. Scenes. Jeff.

Rovers more than held their own and were good value for their lead until a stroke of luck got Arsenal back into the tie as Quincy Owusu-Abeyie’s shot deflected off Sean Thornton and past Jan Budtz. Thornton was subbed off for Paul Green just before full time and lighting struck for the second time at the start of extra time, as Green poked in almost on the goal line following a comical mix up between the Arsenal defence and goalkeeper.

Despite a lot of Arsenal possession Rovers were actually fairly comfortable and as Paul Heffernan held the ball in the corner with 120 minutes gone it felt the tie was already won. In a moment of utter madness Heffernan tried to play the ball off an Arsenal defender for a corner and failed. From the resulting goal kick Arsenal broke away one last time and in heartbreaking slow motion the ball found its way to Gilberto Silva who silenced the Belle Vue crowd with a sickeningly confident finish.

The penalty shoot out was a mere formality as the Rovers players were clearly inconsolable and Arsenals victory was as inevitable as their disgusting post game jubilation as their players celebrated in front of the Rovers fans and players despite being almost embarrassed by their league 1 opponents.

Upon reflecting on the cup run of 2005 it is clear that anyone who was there will never  forget the triumph and ultimately glorious heartbreak of a team that achieved some miraculous results. As Rovers come up against premier league opposition once again in Stoke City, it is difficult not to dream about a potential upset and the start of a new legacy.

Time to get excited.

RTID.

Rovers vs Chesterfield: Power Of The Past

Tomorrow the Rovers will welcome neighbours Chesterfield to the Keepmoat Stadium, Lee Croft examines the stats to see how lucky we are when playing against tomorrow’s opponents and when playing on the 24th November.

24TH NOVEMBER

Our first two fixtures on the date came at the hands of another local team Sheffield United whilst Rovers were playing in Division Two during the glory years of Peter Doherty. Sadly however there was nothing glorifying about either fixture as Rovers lost both times at Bramall Lane.

We are however unbeaten on this day when playing at home with convincing wins in 3 of the 4 fixtures over Swansea City (4-1), Blackpool (1-0) and Scunthorpe United as recent as 3 years ago (4-0) – the other game ended in a 0-0 draw against Dagenham and Redbridge with 2500 people turning out at Belle Vue for the conference game.

In total we have 4 of the 9 games and drew 1, scoring 13 goals and conceding 12, the highlight of which is probably coming from behind to win against Port Vale in 2007 with Lewis Guy, James Hayter and Richie Wellens all chipping in with the goals.

24TH NOVEMBER ‘LUCKY’ SCORE:  48.1% BLAND

VS CHESTERFIELD

It’s fair to say that Chesterfield do have the edge against the Rovers in our historical meetings; winning 31 times to the Rovers 27 victories. For as many have the Rovers have won, we have also drawn an equal amount against the spireites with the most recent game finishing 2-2 despite the Rovers taking a 2 goal lead.

In terms of recent results however, the Rovers have not lost to Chesterfield in over 10 years winning 4 of the 7 matches since, the last time we met on home soil was a thrilling game here the Rovers won 3-2.

Goals however are something that are hit and miss with this fixture. 0-0’s occur at a rate of about 1 in 7 games and the last one was 9 games ago so we are overdue one so don’t be too disappointed if we fail to see any goals at the Keepmoat tomorrow.

VS CHESTERFIELD LUCKY SCORE: 42.3% – UNLUCKY

OVERALL LUCKY SCORE: 45.2% – BLAND

Lee’s prediction: 0-0

*We’ve given 3 points for a win, a point for a draw against our past results on this day and against the opposition, we’ve then worked out the % of ‘points’ we have gained. Anything above 54% is Lucky – less than 44% is Unlucky and between 45-53 is Bland. Whether you bet on this information is entirely up to you and the DRSG accepts no responsibility for you not winning on a ‘Lucky’ day.

 

Rovers vs Rochdale: Power Of The Past

With Rovers playing host to Rochdale this Saturday, Lee Croft looks at how ‘lucky’ the Rovers are when playing against the Dale and when playing on the 21st November.

21ST NOVEMBER

It’s been 6 years since we last played a competitive game on this date; goals from Billy Sharp and Dean Sheils were enough to see off the challenge of QPR – a game remembered fondly for two reasons: Billy Sharp benchpressing the corner flag in celebration and the moment that defined the ‘Total Football’ era with a spell of nearly 50 passes from the Rovers without conceding possession.

That result aside, it’s not really been plain sailing for the Rovers as we have only won 1 of our other 6 fixtures on this day with a 2-1 away win against Preston in 1987.

We also managed to get 2 draws against Plymouth and Nottingham Forest respectively, however one of the 3 defeats came at the hands of our opponents on Saturday: Rochdale.

21st November ‘Lucky’ Score: 38.1% – UNLUCKY

 

VS ROCHDALE

With 102 ties being played between the two teams, there are not many other opponents in English Football who can say they have faced the Rovers as many times. Incredibly, the Rovers have notched up 51 wins against the Dale, with 35 of them on home soil.

With such a record in place this is a fixture which is known for goals with the Rovers scoring 3 or more on no less than 26 occasions. Of the 102 games only 3 times has it finished 0-0; the last of which came in 1969.

When the Rovers have been the home side the record against Rochdale is impressive; only 8 of the 53 games have seen the Rovers lose with the Rovers averaging 2 goals per game in the fixture. Although whilst at the Keepmoat the Rovers have failed to score more than once when welcoming the Dale to our new home.

VS Rochdale ‘Lucky’ Score: 55.9% – LUCKY

OVERALL ‘LUCKY’ Score: 47% – BLAND

*We’ve given 3 points for a win, a point for a draw against our past results on this day, we’ve then worked out the % of ‘points’ we have gained on this day. Anything above 54% is Lucky – less than 44% is Unlucky and between 45-53 is Bland. Whether you bet on this information is entirely up to you and the DRSG accepts no responsibility for you not winning on a ‘Lucky’ day.

 

Lee Croft’s Ultimate Guide to losing your job as Doncaster Rovers Manager

With many dubbing Paul Dickov’s current role at Doncaster Rovers as the ‘safest job in football’, Lee Croft looks back on what other managers have had to do before being shown their P45.

IAN SNODIN 1998-2000

When Snodin came in the off season of 1998, he was gifted what was probably an impossible task of managing Doncaster Rovers. With just 4 registered players and uncertainties over the conference granting us the right to play in the 5th tier, Snodin would have to work very hard to bring some stability to the club.

The shock reality of how far we had really fallen was epitomised on the first day of the season away at Dover. Picking players up on the motorway, running out in 2 year old kits showcasing the sponsors of the company of the man who almost broke the club, 2 fans pitch invading in outrage and a 6 hour trip back after a 1-0 loss. The theme would continue. Just 1 win in the first 10 and a double dip relegation looked to be on the horizon. Somehow Snodin turned it around and steered us into 16th position. A poor return in hindsight but given the nature of the job and the situation at hand, it was fantastic we somehow didn’t end up relegated. The fans also got their day in the sun as Snodin guided the team to winning the Endsleigh Challenge trophy after a 3-0 win (4-0 on aggregate) at Belle Vue against Farnborough.

The following season would mirror the same result in the Challenge Trophy, but in April 2000, with Rovers ‘enjoying’ mid-table mediocrity, the axe was wielded and Rovers favourite son was sent packing.

Sacking tip: Avoid relegation and achieve mid-table mediocrity.

 

STEVE WIGNALL 2000-2002

When Wignall arrived the ambition was clear, get Doncaster Rovers into the football league. However, with only one spot available for the winner of the league it was always going to be a difficult task for Wignall.

His first season was not much more impressive than that previous. Rovers finished 9th and a somewhat distant 28 points behind 1st place Rushden and Diamonds. Although, things were not all happy smiles at the club anymore. Chairman John Ryan and his side kick Peter Wetzel were entering a political war with the council over a new ground and as a result Ryan and Wetzel resigned and the funding of the club was in doubt.

That being said, Wignall still managed to improve his squad by bringing in Justin Jackson, an accomplished striker who had scored nearly 50 goals in his last 2 seasons (the last with league winners Rushden). Sadly however, it wasn’t to be and in January 2002 Wignall was relieved of his duties. The official statement gave the reason of financial constraints and the word from the club pointed to Ryan and Wetzel no longer funding the club. On the pitch Wignall had failed to deliver as well, sitting in 10th pace and 15 points behind the current leaders Boston.

Sacking tip: Failure to get an accomplished striker playing, failure to mount a promotion push.

 

DAVE PENNEY 2002-2006

Penney continued the trend of being the third manager in succession to have played for the club. For Penney however it was much more a recent player and was at first player-manager. However as he neared the end of his playing days it became a full time role.

Given the financial constraints on the club that lead to sacking Wignall and giving Penney the job in the first place, you could say that he came into a job without as much pressure. Yet Penney managed the impossible as he got the club promoted back into league after 5 years, and despite being favourites for relegation he lead the team to a second promotion as Rovers won Division Three. His Third full season in charge wasn’t as eventful as Rovers achieved a solid finish in League One.

The next season would fail to see an improvement, however reaching the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup proved to be a highlight and papered over the cracks showing in what was beginning to become a predictable and boring game from the Rovers. When Michael McIndoe left in the off season in 2006, many questions loomed over where we would go from there. John Ryan could obviously see what was happening too, and a few games into the 2006/07 season he made the choice to let Penney go.

Sacking tip: Achieve 2 consecutive mid-table finishes in a division 2 levels higher than when you arrived.

 

SEAN O’DRISCOLL 2006-2011

With many fans unhappy at Penney’s departure, and rumours of Kevin Keegan being lined up as the next manager. The words on Rovers fans mouths were “Sean O Who?” when O’Driscoll was named manager in 2006.

In his 5 year reign he would win the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy earn promotion to the Championship for the first time in 50 years via the play-offs and achieve the highest finish we had ever achieved in our modern era. John Ryan often quoted SOD’s beautiful passing game as the reason he brought him to Doncaster and SOD’s Rovers would showcase this astonishingly. For many fans this was the best we had played in a long time, dubbed the “Arsenal of the North” and an era described as “Total Football”, it was clear throughout that O’Driscoll was doing this on a shoestring budget.

The fairy tale wouldn’t last sadly, and a squad hit with many injuries and a poor run of form without a win stretching to 19 games (equalling a club record) saw the curtains drawn on Sean O’Driscoll’s time.

Sacking Tip: Equal a negative club record and occupy the relegation spot 7 games into the season.

 

BRIAN FLYNN 2012

After Saunders left for Wolves, and Rovers occupied second in League One, Brian Flynn was promoted from scout to manager till the end of the season. Flynn wasn’t a popular candidate immediately with fans, but this probably wasn’t helped with John Ryan going on record to say that we had some fantastic applicants for the role and some of them of ‘premier league calibre’.

Flynn however did steer the ship well, slightly improving the home form, and continuing the fantastic away form. After a late winner from Kyle Bennet against Shewsbury, Doncaster would take top spot and would stay there for the most of the games remaining. An incredible run of form from Bournemouth saw them finally overtake us with a game to go and earn promotion before us (as the only two teams that could overtake them – Rovers and Brentford – played each other in the final game). However Flynn would get the last laugh as Rovers won the league in the final minute of the season. Trotta would miss a ‘promotion penalty’ and 18 seconds later Paynter would roll the ball across the goalmouth for James Coppinger to slot home and earn us the league title.

Despite guiding Rovers to our first national title in Tier 3 (given it was North/South last time we won), there was still rumours around regarding whether Flynn would be given the role for our return to the Championship. Flynn would put an end to these rumours by announcing he would step aside and take up a role in player development and scouting. Whilst he wasn’t strictly sacked, for many fans it seems obvious that he stepped down to save the embarrassment of not being offered the role despite being promotion.

Sacking Tip: Achieve the promotion by winning League One for the first time in the club’s history.

 

 

It seems at Doncaster Rovers, just about anything is possible to earn you the boot. From starting a season badly, to taking the club 2 divisions higher and enjoying mid table mediocrity. Heck, even winning the league can see you given the boot (at least from the manager’s office to the scouts cupboard).

Co-incidentally, the only manager from this era not in this list is the only manager to get us relegated. Yes, Dean Saunders. Despite taking Rovers down in cruel fashion and chirping out the same excuse “I manage a team that has a losing mentality – it’s my job to turn that around” he somehow was given the all clear to keep his job and rebuild for League One before jumping ship to Wolves.

And on that note, it seems from the evidence given that the only thing you can do to not lose your job at DRFC, is get relegated. Like Saunders, Dickov oversaw the Rovers relegation from the Championship in 2014. So perhaps, Dickov does know what he is doing this season; he is just doing what he can to keep his job!