I tried to tweet a couple of times on Saturday. Doncaster Rovers v MK Dons was the kind of game which afforded one time to do things like tweet. I failed due to the now familiar but largely irrelevant lack of phone signal at the Keepmoat. Following the game, when normal service was resumed, I successfully tweeted about the performance which included the word ‘dreadful’. I have purposely waited for some time to pass before exceeding 140 characters on events of Saturday for fear of being bogged down in negatives such as that and in the hope that with some time, some positives would emerge.
Yes there are a few (the full backs were better, Bennett did ok etc) but i still find the negatives almost irresistible.
I genuinely try to be positive about the current crop, however watching Rovers at the minute is like death by a thousand cuts and the constant theme which runs through this season (more likely the last 18 months) is that the whole is less than the sum of its parts, and this is the truly frustrating and most telling aspect.
Two shots on target against MK Dons, 12 goals in 12 league games and only 5 at the Keepmoat illustrates how difficult it is to watch the Rovers these days.
I have seen some shocking games as a Rovers supporter, I’ve seen us get hammered and I’ve witnessed some complete disasters but for me, Saturday illustrated an almost unrivalled lack of direction and guile which is difficult to stomach.
We have been spoilt in recent times, I’ll admit it freely. Under Dave Penney we played fast direct football with two lightning wingers and a mobile midfield which would steamroller opponents. Under Sean O’Driscoll we were treated to the kind of football I never imagined I’d see from a Rovers team as our very own ‘Arsenal’ seduced us week in, week out.
So what now? If pressed I don’t think I could tell you what kind of football we play, could you? Could Paul Dickov? On Saturday we were happy to concede two-thirds of the Keepmoat surface and run alongside shadows, seemingly to attempt to hit our visitors on the counter attack. The counter attack, at home. Is this what we have become?
Little wonder that when we go behind, we rarely get something from the game. Plan A is so conservative, so frail and timid that Plan B is meaningless.
Dickov cuts a now familiar figure on the sidelines, berating officials with hands firmly stuck inside his pockets, as though he were a school boy outside the headmasters office, desperately thinking of something to say or do next to avoid the inevitable, saying the right things but betrayed by his empty expression. There is no plan B, however meaningless.
The man who as a player typified a never say die, never beaten, win at all costs attitude, seems only capable of displaying a fear of losing when setting up his team as a manager which is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy (I wrote about this following the relegation at Leicester last year) and his side are increasingly becoming like a ship with no rudder.
Bottom line is I pay money to watch Rovers play, something which at the moment, fewer people are prepared to do each week, and who could blame them? I’m not bothered about seeing a Rovers which win every week (though it would be nice..) but I do want to see my side have a go at the opposition and I expect some value for my money, I am a Yorkshireman after all. Mostly I’d like a manager, and a team, who aren’t afraid to win.