Why Dickov has to go – by Rob Johnson
As debate rumbles on as to whether four games is too early into the season to sack a manager it is time to step back and actually dissect Dickov’s time at Rovers.
Dickov’s first season at Rovers obviously ended in heartbreaking relegation on the final day. Rovers played some decent stuff in the opening games of the season but we had one only won six games before Billy Sharp arrived, leaving us inside the relegation zone having played a game more than our rivals following a run in a December where we had lost 3-0, 3-0, 3-1 and 3-0 consecutively to Bolton, Leeds, Derby and Ipswich. Following this ghastly run, Rovers played Millwall at home. A vital game against fellow strugglers. Dickov opted to play debutant Alex Peterson up front on his own whilst Bennett, Robinson and Macheda sat on the bench. Peterson was absolutely woeful and barely touched the ball in a game in which it was clear he was completely out of his depth. The game finished 0-0.
Before Billy arrived back at the Keepmoat not only were we in the relegation zone but Rovers had lost 6, drawn 2 and won just 1 of their last 9 games and relegation looked a certainty with Dickov seemingly having no answer to a horrendous run of form. Rovers then signed Sharp completely out of the blue and he temporarily turned things round. Wins against Charlton, Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday, Huddersfield and Watford (albeit interspersed with an embarrassing 5-0 defeat at Bournemouth) put Rovers in a strong position going into the last seven games where one win would almost certainly put Rovers safe. The rest is history. Two home defeats against relegation rivals Birmingham and Bolton and a run of one draw from these final games consigned Rovers to an embarrassing and thoroughly deserved relegation.
Of course it was Dickov that signed Billy Sharp and it was Sharp who inspired us to almost survive in a league where we had perhaps one of the smallest budgets but surely no matter who the Rovers manager was, had Sharp become available at that stage of the season under those circumstances he would have been signed. He certainly didn’t choose to come back because of Rovers fortunes on the pitch. Rovers were going through a terrible run of form at the time. From this we can conclude that Dickov got lucky that Billy Sharp came home. Had that not happened we would have been relegated a lot earlier into the season and one of the pro Dickov camps main arguments ‘He almost (!!!) saved us from relegation’ would be negated.
So to recruitment. Including loan signings and before this season Dickov had signed 25 players. Of those 25 players Forrester, Tyson, Butler, Turnbull, Johnstone and to a lesser extent Furman and Wellens have been a success so that is 7 out of 25, 2 of whom are goalkeepers who have now moved on. Of the remaining outfield players Wellens was already well known to Rovers from his previous spell and Furman had played both for Rovers on loan and under Dickov at Oldham. Nathan Tyson is a big name in lower league football having played over 150 for games for Forest. Forrester was undoubtedly a great signing but he was coming off the back of a brilliant season at Brentford where he had scored 11 goals from midfield in all competitions and of course Rovers Andy Butler’s move to his hometown club was a logical and predictable one. Not once under Dickov’s reign has he plucked a player from relative obscurity with names such as Razak, De Val, Ikpeazu and Main proof of what happens when Dickov has tried to find an unpolished diamond only to discover he is once again attempting to polish a turd.
In his two full seasons in charge Dickov has lost 20 home league games at the Keepmoat stadium . 10 home losses for each season. Last season only 18th placed Colchester lost more home games than Rovers and managed to keep their league 1 status.
Under Dickov there has been no passion, no desire, no noticeable style of play. We have been awful at home, regularly beaten comprehensively away and his recruitment has been poor. In short Paul Dickov has shown absolutely nothing in his two full seasons at Rovers to suggest that he is the man to take Doncaster Rovers forward. So is it a kneejerk reaction to ask for his head following another appalling home showing against Southend and another spanking away at Port Vale? The facts speak for themselves.
The players aren’t playing for him, the fans don’t want him, time to go Dickov.