Tag Archives: Rovers

Doncaster Rovers vs Scunthorpe United – Preview

In a week in which former Rovers manager Sean O’ Driscoll was sacked from Walsall despite his side being 4th in the table, it seems odd that Darren Ferguson has presided over 10 winless games and remains largely free from pressure. Two tough looking away games are next to come for the South Yorkshire side however with the short trip to Glanford Park up next.

Scunny have not won in 4 themselves having drawn their last two games 0-0. Rovers have also struggled for goals in recent times having scoring a quite frankly pathetic 3 goals in 8 games. Whilst a move to 442 and the return of Andy Butler brought about a more solid performance last time out, once again individual errors cost Rovers with Thorsten Stuckmann the player to have a brain fade this time. Things are becoming desperate for the reds and surely defeat against Scunthorpe and Bradford would see Rovers reacquainted with the relegation zone for the first time since October of 2015.

Rovers are so sorely lacking across the pitch that it is difficult to pinpoint what Darren Ferguson could actually do to save Donny at this point. Stuckmann is solid but has poor distribution. The defence has been appalling all season, the midfield is lacking in both leadership and guile and the attack has been non-existent for weeks. This is a team that has become rotten to the core to the point where there isn’t one player in the squad that I would be truly sorry to see leave the club.

The lack of creativity in midfield shines a light on the departure of Harry Forrester, particularly in the wake of his third goal in as many games for Rangers. Such decisions point to mismanagement at every level of the club and without wanting to come across as too negative the immediate future of the club looks incredibly bleak.

Having said all that a victory at Glanford Park would buy Darren Ferguson both good will and time and he will desperately be hoping for some luck as well as a bit more fight and effort from the players.

Match Prediction Scunthorpe 2-0 DRFC
As I said back in February it always hurts predicting a loss against Scunny but things have only become more desperate since that game was called off. Where is our next win coming from? Grim days indeed.

Doncaster Rovers vs Shrewsbury Town – Report

What an absolute, unmitigated disaster that was…

• What to do about a problem like McCullough? Whilst the obvious option was to drop the Northern Ireland defender entirely and recall Andy Butler, Darren Ferguson instead opted to change the formation to a 4-1-3-2 with McCullough in front of the defence.

• McCullough was able to utilize his passing range without the need to position himself in a place vaguely appropriate to stop the ball bouncing over his head. I have been McCullough’s fattest biggest critic this season but he was much improved in a different role. Surely Paul Keegan will return to the side when fully fit however.

• The change of formation also allowed Taylor-Sinclair to play in his actual position. Lo and behold he was just as awful at left back as he has been all season at centre back. If Rovers don’t sign a better defender before the end of the season, they will go down. It is as simple as that.

• In midfield Lynden Gooch and Riccardo Calder were direct and lively, particularly in the first half but Conor Grant seemed lost and struggled to make any impact on the game. The young midfielder has started at every available opportunity since joining from Everton and is perhaps in need of a rest.

• Rovers biggest problem (aside from the comical goal) was in attack. Stand in skipper Nathan Tyson said it was time for his team mates to ‘stand up and be counted’ in the run up to the game but he was anonymous throughout. Liam Mandeville didn’t fare any better and Andy Williams succeeded only in missing Rovers best chance.

• It is not just the attack that failed to make a mark however, the entire team were outfought and out thought throughout a lacklustre second half. At no point did Rovers look like a side scrapping for points. The late siege you would expect from a home team in need of a victory never materialized with Shrewsbury remaining the more likely to score in the closing stages.

• Shrewsbury lost the experienced Zak Whitbread after 27 minutes to injury but 20 year old Dominic Smith (who only made his début last October) was hardly tested as Rovers struggled to create a meaningful chance.

• On a day when Rovers lacked creativity it was galling to see Harry Forrester score his third goal in as many games for Rangers. Letting such a talented player leave seemed odd when in mid table, it looks downright ludicrous for a team struggling just outside the relegation zone.

Winners

Richie Wellens – He won’t care about the mixed reception but he will deeply cherish a hugely important win for Shrewsbury.

Luke McCullough – Answered his growing critics with an assured performance. Still deserves to be nothing more than back up to Paul Keegan though.

Andy Butler – Finally recalled to the squad and gave a solid performance to confirm what all Rovers fans already know. Andy Butler is undoubtedly our best defender. When fit he has to start.

Losers

Thorsten Stuckmann – The simple fact is without Stuckmann, Rovers would probably be bottom now. He has produced some vital saves in big games and whilst his distribution is poor he has to go down as one of Paul Dickov’s better signings. There is no excusing his howler for Shrewsbury’s goal however. We had a goalkeeper at school who once conceded twice directly from a corner in one game. He used to eat glue.

Rovers Strikers – Whilst the midfield has to take some of the blame, Rovers have now scored 3 goals in 8 games. 2 of those goals came in matches we lost anyway. That is not just relegation form, it is bottom of the league form. Tyson, Williams and Gooch have now gone a combined 19 games without scoring. Horrific.

Darren Ferguson – After 9 winless games, Fergie finally changed the formation against Shrewsbury and the result was yet another miserable defeat. Paul Dickov’s worst run as Rovers manager was 9 games without a win, DF has now surpassed that but remains largely free of pressure. If Rovers are to change their manager with a view to saving their season, it has to be now. It is time to stick or twist. 5 of the players who featured against Shrewsbury were signed by Ferguson and another was given his first league start.

Those players aside this is pretty much the same group of players who finished 13th last season plus a better goalkeeper in Stuckmann and a goalscorer in Andy Williams. Our current league position is quite frankly a fucking disgrace.

Oakwell – Away Ground Review

A trip to Barnsley is like going back in time. Back to the halcyon days of the mid-1980s. A simpler time when whippets roamed the streets, flat caps adorned misshapen heads and ‘Town Called Malice’ was still number one – Obviously Rovers fans fit right in.

During my time as a Doncaster Rovers fan, I’ve visited Oakwell quite frequently over the years and it is time to make my opinions of the ground clear. Oh boy…

My biggest problem with Oakwell is the pathetic excuse for an away car park. Although there is plenty of staff around before the game when parking up, after the game leaving the car park is a chaotic nightmare with hundreds of cars all converging at the singular exit. It honestly takes longer to get out of that car park than it does to drive from the car park back to Doncaster. About a minute after leaving the car park, the Barnsley striker Sam Winnall pulled out in front of us. That’s right, during the time we’d been queuing, Sam Winnall had time to warm down, shower and get changed after the match. It’s just outrageous.

Oakwell itself is a nice ground, situated in the middle of Barnsley. It is one of those grounds that Rovers fans just love to go to. This explains why the atmosphere is always so electric there, even if we don’t bring big crowds we always produce an immense amount of noise there. There’s no doubting that it’s quite a nice looking ground, it’s just a shame that they can’t fill it like they used to.

On the subject of catering, I was really impressed for a change. The pies were presented to me in a cardboard box, which acted as a makeshift plate. It wasn’t something I’ve ever seen before and it helped limit some of the awkwardness that comes with eating a pie that simply comes with a foil tin around the bottom of it – makes the pastry at the bottom all soggy. Pie in a box is also an excellent Christmas present if anyone is into buying presents for me super early.

With Rovers playing as they are, it is freezing cold trips to Oakwell that define what it is to be a ‘supporter’. When your team has been uniformly awful for weeks on end and each game is more freezing than the last. When you are spending all your free time and money on a football team that never win or even look like they are bothered half the time, it is the camaraderie of away days that somehow manages to make life as a football fan almost bearable.

Barnsley is hardly a holiday but it is a familiar and welcome presence on the football calendar. Will I moan about ticket prices? Yes. Will I bitterly bang on about the shit parking to all who will listen? Yes. Will I be there next season and the season after. Yes and yes.
All Rovers aren’t we?

Doncaster Rovers vs Sheffield United – Preview

All is not well at Bramall Lane. A quick scan of their forum S24SU.com reveals some grim topics:

‘Have you ever wanted a season to end in February?’

‘There’s a hole in my football team…’

‘Will you be renewing this season?’

The Blades have won just once in 2016 and currently find themselves 11th in the table and five points off the play offs, in a season where finishing in the top 6 was seen as the absolute minimum requirement for Nigel Adkins. Despite having the league’s third highest scorer in Billy Sharp, Adkins has failed to resolve problems in defence. Ironically Rovers two most accomplished defenders in Craig Alcock and Andy Butler both arrived from Bramall Lane having struggled to get in the team.

Butler is due to join Stuckmann and Nathan Tyson (baby) in returning from injury on Saturday, and Rovers will hope this will bring about a return of form. Donny have struggled without the leadership of Butler at the back, and the pace and perseverance of Tyson up front, with Andy Williams noticeably struggling in his strike partners absence.

Rovers have only won once in 2016 but should be fresh and raring to go after the game against Scunthorpe was controversially called off. That decision from the officials meant that I essentially paid £11.30 to travel to Scunthorpe, have a pub lunch, and then return home. Not exactly an ideal way to spend a Saturday. The pub lunch was also very average. Really small portion of mushy peas.

Rovers season has been like that pub lunch in microcosm. After promising so much it has ended in familiar disappointment. If Andy Williams has been like a big tasty fish then surely Luke McCullough is a burnt, tasteless chip whilst Nathan Tyson is the mushy peas – tasty but absent. Darren Ferguson worryingly said that he feels we don’t need defensive reinforcements at Meet The Owners, despite the back 3 regularly performing like they have never kicked a football before. Billy Sharp will be licking his lips.

Donny have not beaten the Blades for six games dating back to October 2010 but with the pressure off there will perhaps never be a better opportunity to end that miserable run. With literally nothing left to play for in the league, Darren Ferguson will be judged mostly on performances against local rivals with games against Barnsley and Scunthorpe also coming up in the next four weeks. The one bright spot of Paul Dickov’s management was his team’s performance in derby games and DF will hope to pick up where his successor left off.

Match Prediction DRFC 2-1 Sheffield United (Gooch, Williams)

Rovers are due a win over their South Yorkshire neighbours and players returning from injury should see the reds halt their rotten run of form. Whilst Billy is nailed on to score he is sure to receive a stirring reception and rightly so. Hopefully the Rovers fans will afford the same level of support to players who actually play for their own team and the idiotic ironic cheering of certain players will stop.

Doncaster Rovers vs Scunthorpe United – Preview

We have covered the concept of a ‘meaningless’ derby game before. In the run up to last season’s home game against Scunthorpe we wrote:

‘Luckily football is about the fans, and for the fans Doncaster Rovers vs Scunthorpe United will never be a meaningless game. It is short excited journeys up the M180 and dejected trudges back home. It is Mickey Norburys hat trick and Billy Sharp’s beautiful exposed torso. It is tedious 0-0 draws and stunning 4-3 victories all watched with the same level of tension and passion and bitter rivalry, it is Gregg Blundell wheeling away in jubilation on Boxing Day in front of 2000 people going mental in the Popular Stand, but most of all, above everything else it is OUR derby.’

That sentiment still rings true as we approach another derby game that means very little in the context of the league table. Rovers are absolutely out of the playoff race and one would hope we have too good a squad to go down (hopefully not famous last words).

The above quote came before our 5-2 demolition of Scunthorpe on the final day of last season when Nathan Tyson (baby) wrote himself into Rovers history with a famous hat trick. For the younger generation that could well be a ‘Mickey Norbury’ moment which once and for all consigns the word ‘meaningless’ to the rubbish bin when talking about local derby’s.

Saturday’s game has some extra spice after Scunny’s recent 1-0 victory on Boxing Day which somehow seemed to completely derail Rovers season with the reds yet to win at home since. Indeed Rovers have lost 3 of their last 5 games having not won since the 3-0 victory at Roots Hall on the 2nd of January. Managerless Scunthorpe on the other hand seemed to have recovered from their recent 5-0 humbling against Blackpool, having won both of their last two games.

Rovers will likely come up against hot shot Paddy Madden who will be rubbing his hands together at the prospect of facing a Rovers defence which has quite frankly looked pathetic in recent outings. Madden already has 13 league goals this season and Rovers will have to be much improved to stop a team above them in the table and in much better form.

With a healthy Rovers following expected (in terms of numbers, certainly not in terms of actual physical health), this is the perfect opportunity to erase some of the memory of ghastly recent home performances and there are number of players with a lot to prove, none less than Andy Williams who has struggled for goals without the graft of Nathan Tyson alongside him.

Match Prediction Scunthorpe United 2-1 DRFC (Gooch)
Whilst my heart grimaces at the prospect of predicting a defeat to the Scunts, my head says the Rovers defence will continue to struggle while ever the personnel remains the same. Rovers look set to limp towards the end of the season which is a shame as the reds appeared to be genuine play off hopefuls only a few short weeks ago.

Rovers on the Road – Save Money With Liftshare

This season a Doncaster Rovers fan would have to travel 4,373 miles to see every game, when you factor in the costs of travel on top of match tickets, programmes, food and drink, accommodation and maybe even your relationship, you have to ask where the limit it. The DRSG recognise that these costs are forever increasing and is probably the biggest factor when deciding whether or not you will travel to a Rovers game.

To help fans save money this season, the Football League has teamed up with UK car sharing site Liftshare.com to help bring cheaper travel to fans of all teams. The site is often nicknames the ‘Airbnb of cars’ as it can help supporters driving to football matches make back 100% of their petrol costs, and give non-drivers a cheaper way to travel than rail and possibly coach travel.

So let’s say you’re a Rovers fan driving to an away game and you want to save money: you can sign up to Liftshare for free and post details of your match day travel using their ‘Offer a Lift tool – which also shows you how much you can make back by giving a lift to other fans. Give it a shot to see how much you can make back. Once it’s posted, you can start speaking with other Rovers fans on forums (boo!), fan sites and Facebook groups to see if they want a lift in exchange for petrol money. They can pay you on arrival, straight into your bank account using Liftshare’s free mobile apps. It’s safe, easy and backed by the UK’s biggest car insurers.

But if you don’t have a car, you can still use Liftshare to save on travel. Take a look at nearly 500 lifts being offered by via Doncaster right now to see how cheap they are compared to train and other public transport. You can put in a lift request to other fans or set up alerts for when a suitable lift is posted. You can then discuss pick up and drop off with driving Rovers fans, then set off to the game. When you arrive, just pay with one tap using the site’s free iOS and Android apps.

So if you want to save more this season, and meet more Rovers fans on the road, while helping get more fans in away stands each week, give Liftshare a look and see what you think.

DRSG Chair Lee Croft spoke to liftshare.com to offer an insight about being a Doncaster Rovers fan on the road for home and away games:

LIFTSHARE: What is your view on the current state of away travel for Doncaster Rovers fans? Is it too expensive? Could it be better?

LC: Looking in from the outside and you could say there isn’t really a major issue. The Supporters Club continue to run the official coach travel for fans and do a fantastic job in my opinion, they try to balance the cost for fans fairly with the aim of trying to ensure they break even. For many fans the train is often the preferred choice for away travel but for games where it may be longer than a couple of hours away, it can be a little bit more on the expensive side.

Being my preferred method of travel, I do think travelling by rail can be fairly expensive, the coach is usually much cheaper but means you have to sacrifice having a drink etc.,

LIFTSHARE: What would you suggest to the FL to fix things?

LC: Obviously the fans of the Premier League clubs are blessed by the ‘Away Fans Fund’ where a set amount of money by each club has to be used for away fans initiative, some have subsidised tickets and some have put free coaches on which is obviously welcomed. But the fans in the Football League don’t see that, and there isn’t the money available for every club either so I think it’s a difficult question to answer.

Obviously I welcome the decision to team up with Liftshare, I’m usually not one interested in commercial partners of football. But when it offers a benefit to the fans and the wider community then it is something that has my support.

Overall I think the FL need to push on with this and look at the situation for away fans long term. There is a decline currently and when you consider the cost and the demeanour some clubs’ stewards and local authorities show towards football fans, it’s easy to see why.

LIFTSHARE: What about the impact of home games? Do you find the local area gets too busy, is getting parked a problem during matches? What can be done there?

LC: Being a newly built stadium, and the nature of our council, it was built in the most practical location. That is to say – the middle of nowhere. Unless you are happy to walk over a mile then your best option of travelling to the stadium is by car or bus. However after the game both methods get very busy and it’s often a sight to see a bus full of rovers fans stuck in traffic.

Obviously the best way of improving this would be reducing the traffic, but given access routes to the stadium are limited I don’t think you can cure congestion permanently.

Parking wise isn’t too bad, you can park in the official car park for £5, but more and more fans are either using car parks offered by local businesses for a lesser cost, or chancing their luck and parking in the nearby shopping outlet.

LIFTSHARE: Lastly, what is your view on car sharing, and in what ways do you think it could help fans get to games for less?

LC: Previously I used to car share to University, but one of the main concern of this is having to find someone you trust who is making the same journey as you, so I think Liftshare reaching out to football fans is bringing down these barriers.

If someone is driving to a game and have spare seats in their cars, and someone wants to go to a game and is willing to pay petrol, then it’s in the interest of both parties to car share, one fan travels for less in terms of petrol money and the other gets to a game they may not have necessarily been able to afford at coach/rail prices.

ROVERS: IT’S FERGIE TIME

On behalf of our members and Doncaster Rovers fans, the DRSG Committee would like to take this opportunity to welcome our new manager Darren Ferguson to the club and look forward to this exciting new chapter for the Rovers.

We believe this to be a great capture by the club, after what was a lengthy selection process it seemed throughout that Ferguson stood out as the favourite for many supporters and it seems we have the right result are the end of it.

We are sure the Black Bank will be in full force tomorrow and give Ferguson Jr a great vocal welcome. It’s important as supporters that we all get behind the new manager and show our support as we look to rise up the table.

It’s Fergie Time

Keep The Faith Part 1: Rovers 2008-09 Retold

Given the Rovers poor start to the season, Lee Croft revisits a season that lives long in the memory as one of the most enduring to enjoying seasons as Rovers experienced their first stint in the Championship since 1958. This is the 2008/09 season:

After probably one of the best hangovers experienced, the pictures online of crying Leeds fans and reliving the moments of Coppinger’s hat-trick against Southend, the pitch invasion and the Hayter header, most Rovers fans went into the season optimistic but with a sense of realism about what lied ahead.

In the transfer window we brought in Matt Mills permanently for a reported 300k (then club record), James Chambers to cover JOC and Gaz Roberts, Jos Van Niewstadt in CB, John Spicer in midfielder and Darren Byfield up front, who was Bristol City’s top goal scorer as they reached the play-off final the season previous. Despite these quality signings (Byfield apart), the team resembled pretty much the same as the season before. Jason Price’s big afro was an ever present, Gareth Taylor’s wandering strolls, Neil Sullivan’s big kicks, Gaz Roberts’ deadly left foot and the magical feet of James Coppinger.

AUGUST 2008

The season started against arguably one of the toughest opponents in the league as Rovers travelled to Pride Park to play against a Derby side that had endured the most successful season in Premier League history, managing just a single win. A lot of ins and outs at Pride Park and it looked as though Derby would be looking to take out their frustration from the season previous on anyone who stood in their way. They were amongst the favourites for promotion and on the opening game of the season, Derby County vs Doncaster Rovers was the second highest attendance of the season in the Championship.

Despite some near misses from Derby, Rob Hulse going agonisingly close, Sean O’Driscoll’s men stood firm to take a 0-0 draw into half time. Somehow, against the odds, the ball trickled over the line to give the Rovers a lead with just an hour played. Lewis Guy’s shin getting the final touch from a free kick that was simple but slick enough to fool the Rams’ defence. In typical ‘pub-team’ spirit, Doncaster’s first goal in the 2nd Tier in 50 years would be scored by a player wearing a replacement shirt with no name or number. But the Rovers revolution continued and the fans would roar the team onto a historic first win at the first time of asking.

The best player to have ever trained for Rovers was at it again the following week with a fantastic finish against Cardiff at the Keepmoat. Our 100% record wasn’t to last however, as Cardiff stole a last minute equaliser with ex Rovers loanee McCormack providing the bluebirds with the goal.

The next week however we we’re brought back to a crushing reality as we hardly got a look in at Loftus Road and QPR romped to a 2-0 win. However a 30 yard screamer from Richie Wellens at the Keepmoat against Coventry 7 days later would be enough to give Sean O’Driscoll 2 wins and 7 points from the opening 4 games. A solid return and a good foundation to start life in the Championship as we headed into our first ‘international break’, another benefit of being a second tier club.

SEPTEMBER 2008

The return from the break however, would be where things would go tits up. At Birmingham City away, the Rovers were gifted a golden opportunity as a nasty challenge from Blues man Mehdi Nafti saw the Brum reduced to 10 men. But with Maik Taylor in the sticks, it would be hard to break the deadlock. Wellens tried his best to lob Taylor from 40 yards but it wouldn’t creep in. After 3 penalty claims, 1 from Hayter and a couple from Guy (surprise!) the referee was not gifting the Rovers anything else and half time came with the tie deadlocked.

However 35 seconds into the second half, Jerome would latch onto a header from Marcus Bent to knock the ball past Sullivan in cruel fashion. The Rovers came back out but couldn’t score, Byfield coming closest after beating 3 men, he unleashed a fierce 25 yard drive at goal which was only beaten by Taylor’s outstretched fingertips which saw it cannon off the inside of the post and away. The Rovers lost, and the start on a common theme began. 3 days later, a Tuesday night home game to Charlton, resulted in a 1-0 defeat.

Old ghosts haunted Rovers next after McIndoe scored past his former club as Bristol City recorded a 4-1 win at Ashton Gate, Southampton would heap more misery after winning 2-0 at the Keepmoat, a result Sheffield United would mirror 3 days later. Bizarrely, the Rovers squandered the best chance I’ve ever seen when a Rovers corner (the score 0-1) saw Price’s header beat the keeper and fell to Byfield on the line who someone put it out for a goal kick, had he not been stood there, we would have scored! Nonetheless the losing streak had now reached 5 games, 7 points return from our opening 9 games and just 4 goals scored.

OCTOBER 2008

With many fans not really happy with the disposal of Dave Penney, it will come as no great shock to hear that many were turning on Sean O’Driscoll at this point. We we’re playing great football, but despite this we were quickly sinking and the fans wanted change. But SOD’s persistence to keep playing the same way looked to have done the job at Oakwell as Rovers lead 1-0 thanks to a Stock penalty and after Darren Moore saw red the Rovers looked to be taking all the points. Against all the odds however, the Tykes with 10 men mounted a surreal comeback and wonder goals from Iain Hume (remember him?) and Jamal Campbell-Ryce would see an embarrassing 4-1 defeat to our local rivals who only had 10 men.

The losing streak did end however, after a drab 0-0 against Blackpool, Rovers probably carved the best chances but it was typical of what had followed the previous 5 games, and had Blackpool been a little more clinical they probably would have won. The result saw the Rovers slip further adrift of safety.

The next 3 games would be nothing short of cruel. Jos Van Neiwstadt thought he did enough to earn a point at promotion favourites Reading, only to see a late winner for the Royals. Away a Carrow Road against Norwich, a team with aspirations for promotion would be an entertaining game which saw a Brian Stock penalty ten minutes from time looked likely to finally give us 3 points and end the run after 8 games without a win. Sadly however the script was written differently. A late equaliser and an injury time winner from Leroy Lita broke the Rovers hearts.

The month ended the same way it started, a game vs our neighbours Barnsley and a chance at redemption. Nothing would have been sweeter than ending our winless run against the inbreds, but instead the Rovers failed to score again at home and a solitary goal from Barnsley ended any chances of finishing October on a high.

With 14 games gone the Rovers were now occupying the relegation zones with just 8 points. The pressure was mounting on Sean O’Driscoll and the final whistle at home games were met with boos from our fans. Throughout the game many would stand and shout at the manager to make a change, or “GERRIT FORWARD!”. We were sinking without trace and looked like it was going to be a long enduring season for the Rovers faithful.

Part 2 to follow in the week ahead.

The ‘M180’ Derby – DRFC vs SUFC Match Preview

DRFC fan Rob Johnson gives us his preview of the upcoming game this Sunday when local rivals Scunthorpe travel up the ‘M180’ for what is hoped to be a tasty final fixture.

Rovers latest embarrassment against Notts County now makes it no wins in seven whilst a rejuvinated Scunthorpe have lost just once in eight games and will now finish above Rovers should they win on Sunday – something that would have been unthinkable a few short weeks ago. Indeed to further drive the point home Rovers best player in recent weeks has been Scunthorpe’s Theo Robinson…

I have spoke a lot about recent games being meaningless and on paper the final home game of the season is just that. Dickov has taken it upon himself to start throwing young players in the starting line up seemingly at random, the latest beneficiary being the highly rated Jack McKay.

Whilst blooding products of the youth system is to be encouraged in the right situation is it really appropriate when you have won only two out of your last twelve games and none in seven? Experience is always welcome but what will playing in these games do for the younger players confidence especially in front of hostile and frustrated crowd? And what of the fans who have been asked to pay for the privilege of watching what is essentially a reserve team being comfortably beaten by one of the worst sides in the division in Notts County?

Paul Dickov has rendered the end of the season utterly meaningless on the playing field with his scattershot approach to team selection and failure to motivate his players. The players themselves have contributed to the malaise with timid and at times pathetic showings and the board have taken any sting out of the tail off the field by making it very clear that Dickov’s job is safe no matter what happens. So again on paper this couldn’t be a more meaningless game…

But luckily football is about the fans, and for the fans Doncaster Rovers vs Scunthorpe United will never be a meaningless game. It is short excited journeys up the M180 and dejected trudges back home. It is Mickey Norburys hat trick and Billy Sharp’s beautiful exposed torso. It is tedious 0-0 draws and stunning 4-3 victories all watched with the same level of tension and passion and bitter rivalry, it is Gregg Blundell wheeling away in jubilation on Boxing Day in front of 2000 people going mental in the Popular Stand, but most of all, above everything else it is OUR derby. So forget about Dickov in or out. Forget about Bramall and Watson. Remember WE are the fans, WE are the club, and there is nothing fucking meaningless about Rovers vs Scunny.

See you next season.

RTID

Rob’s prediction: 0-0