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Farewell Dickov

Why Dickov has to go – by Rob Johnson

Farewell Dickov


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.



Paul Dickov – Stay or go?


Paul Dickov - for and

The case against – by Stuart Sidebottom

Is Paul Dickov the worst Doncaster Rovers manager since Kerry Dixon?
DRFC manager stats
The answer is clear. Yes fans may say we have a very small budget, but look at the ratio for Ian Snodin with a non-existent budget! The team are letting the manager down; but it’s the manager’s’ responsibility to motivate. I’ve never seen the team looking so de-motivated. We can sit and provide excuses all day but the facts don’t lie. Since Dickov’s reign we’ve the lowest win ratio since Dixon; only picking up a point every two and a half games. The average spell in charge is currently 108 games; personally, wouldn’t let Dickov’s spell go beyond this.
Anyone that can disagree with statistics is clearly lacking ambition for the club.


The case for – by Lee Croft



4 games into the season 0 wins and 1 goal,  Rovers fans are already knee-jerking and calling for Dickov’s head which comes as no great shock given how his head was called for on many occasions in the last 14 or so months.


I plan to put forward the case of why Dickov should be given the benefit of the doubt and the first point of defence is one of patience. We are only 4 games into the season and have only lost once. The nature of it was quite painful with 3 games where we couldn’t score for love nor money (apart from Forrester’s ‘accidental’ goal) yet managed a draw and a heavy loss at the hands of Port Vale.


But, yesterday’s game aside and the 3 previous games we actually showed quality, the football was much better and on a different day we would have won. The only thing stopped us taking 3 points in each of those first 3 games was poor finishing, but we were creating chances and you have to ask why Dickov should take the blame for that. He has brought in a natural finisher in Andy Williams who looks to have hit the ground running and has put in some solid performances but just hasn’t had that rub of the green to see his efforts hit the back of the net.


Furthermore is 4 games enough to write a season off? Of course it isn’t, promotion or relegation isn’t sealed by then and there is still 126 points left to play for. It is guaranteed that in every season you have a bad run, and it’s probably best to get it out of your system in the first few games and have your better run in during the business end of the season.


My next point would be to ask Rovers fans to judge Dickov on the job he has been given to do. Naturally fans want results and promotion and that is the bottom line, but it is no secret that Dickov has been asked to do this with a new philosophy of using a mixture of experienced players along with giving younger players a chance to flourish. This seems to be the right balance in our squad this season and Dickov has been very good in recruitment with experience brought in with Williams, Chaplow, Stuckmann, N’Guessan and MacKenzie to join Butler, Jones, Coppinger, Wellens and Tyson. Then you have the younger players coming through the ranks with Middleton not looking out of place so far this season, Lund and Whitehouse providing back up, Evina and McCollough also looking set to build on their careers and the addition of Aaron Taylor-Sinclair who looks to be a rising star.


Based on the performances alone and Dickov seems to have found the right mix and when we have played to our strengths we looked nothing short of fantastic, until we put the ball in the box. Considering we aren’t even out of August yet it would seem strange and stupid to upset this balance by bringing in a new manager who will undoubtedly look to bring in his own players. I fail to see how despite the poor start to the season, Dickov is being judged as not good enough when most of these players haven’t had much chance to play together and learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses.


My final and probably most convincing point would be that of timing. Considering the transfer window closes in just over a week, it leaves little time to bring a replacement in who has enough time to sign (or sell) some players. Hardly the best advert to attract potential managers. What’s more is that of the cost of sacking Dickov will mean compensation and then having to find more money to pay his replacement. Considering how we now need to be looking at the market for replacements with Tyson and Forrester already sidelined, wasting any money left on replacing a manager given how there is only 4 games gone could be more catastrophic than any scenario when Paul Dickov stays.


In conclusion I think Dickov still has room for improvement, and I would agree that he must simply improve. I feel this season will probably be his last season to show us what he can do, but I feel 42 games gives us more than enough time. These debates are often pointless and has little impact on what ultimately happens, however what we can do is join forces together in the stands and show our support to the club, bother players and managers. If they have enough passion to wear the badge, then they will have my support.



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