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Why John Marquis should leave Doncaster Rovers and Why Andy Williams is key if he stays

John Marquis Doncaster roversThere’s a large amount of speculation surrounding Rovers striker John Marquis at the minute, the sort of ‘will he wont he’, ‘we’re doomed without him’ woe that is more akin to some tedious Coronation street story line than the status quo at the Keepmoat.
Strip all the sentiment and speculation away and let’s try and look at this in real terms. Marquis scored 26 League Two goals last year, he’s 25 years old and attracted a lot of attention over the last 12 months – his stock, and his value, has never been higher. However, there are a couple of little niggles of doubt that exist for me, mainly borne out over the last couple of months of last season.

For me, the most eye-catching thing about him at the start of the season was “wow, we’ve got someone who is scoring goals, but look how hard he grafts”. The blokes application was faultless and he regularly tore around chasing down, harrying, kicking and generally making life uncomfortable for opposition defenders. It’s this, even more than his goals, that was the most stand out thing.
In the last couple of months of the season I did not see this anywhere near as much and this went along with a return of 0 goals in the last 6 games. Now, this could be down to lots of things; having Alfie ‘the workaholic’ May alongside him who happily did enough running for two meant he did not have to work as hard, maybe it was a case of someone believing their own hype, or maybe he was carrying a knock – I don’t know but for me a major part of his game ebbed away at the back-end of last season.

The other doubt for me, and I know this will sound ridiculous, is that whilst he accumulated a lot of goals, he doesn’t look like a ‘proper’ goal scorer. He’s not the kind of player who will snaffle his only chance of a game having not had a touch for 20 minutes. League Two allowed us the opportunity to create a number of chances relatively regularly and I doubt that League One defences will be quite as accommodating. I’m not sure Marquis has it in his game to turn a match out of the blue in the way a Billy Sharp or even a Paul Dobson (there’s a name many will have forgotten!) would’ve done.
Would now be the time to cash in?  If a club came in with a couple of hundred grand I would be tempted when the likelihood is he’ll walk away for nothing in 12 months. If he struggles in League One that price tag will quickly reduce. I don’t know, in an ideal world I’d give him 2 months, watch him score a load of goals and then offer him a bumper deal but at this moment any decent offer would be tempting.

andy williams doncasterTo be clear though, I’d rather keep him and for me John Marquis needs an Andy Williams alongside him. Too often when playing as a lone front man, or in front of a deeper forward, Marquis spends too much time with his back to goal, isolated and obliged to hold balls up. When he has a player alongside him who offers a threat ‘in behind’ he appears far more effective and benefits greatly from the extra space this affords him.
Williams, for all his hand throwing, exclaiming, tantrum throwing faults offers that threat and doesn’t want to drop deep, into Marquis’s space. When Williams is in the team, opposition back fours are forced to drop 10 yards deeper allowing Marquis time and space to turn and be at his most effective, as well as allowing the like of James Coppinger and Tommy Rowe room to be at their creative best. However, Williams up top means someone needs to be working hard behind him, and it’s this graft we saw from Marquis at the start of the season and when we largely saw his best form.
Bottom line is Williams is only staying with us because there is no one to bring in who is better than him. Perfect he ‘aint, but at the minute he’s right for us and he’s right for John Marquis too.

If I were John I’d be asking my agent to sort out a move.  One of the country’s top scorers last season, if he stays with the Rovers he will spend next season playing in a bang average team who will struggle to make chances and struggle to score goals.  It will be hard for anyone to enhance their reputation at Rovers next year, and if I were him I’d get out while the goings good.

Doncaster Rovers Shirt Gallery

Doncaster Rovers Shirt Gallery

Over the past few years the world of ‘vintage’ or ‘retro’ (or in the words of my wife  ‘Scruffy and old’) Rovers shirts has been one which I have become increasingly immersed in.  Turns out I have got quite a few now and so I thought I would stick them online in the hope that others may enjoy them as I do.

I am always keen to add to the collection so if you have a shirt which I haven’t got and you are willing to part with it or looking to sell one, let me know at info@justapubteam.com

Here is the Doncaster Rovers Shirt gallery:

Doncaster Rovers home shirt 1989 – 1990.

Love this shirt.  Always makes me think of Les Robinson.

 

Doncaster Rovers home shirt 1990 – 1991.

As worn by Duggie, Rankine, Noteman, Gormley.

 

 

Doncaster Rovers home shirt 1991-1992.

Slightly different collar to the previous year.  This change was made to both replica and player issue.

 

Doncaster Rovers away shirt 1990 – 1992.

Love a green away shirt.  This one makes me think John Muir

 

Doncaster Rovers home shirt 1992 – 1993.

Classic jagged hoops. – Mike Jeffrey

 

 

Doncaster Rovers away shirt 1992 – 1993.

Classic Seaweed

 

 

Doncaster Rovers home shirt 1993-94.

Jagged hoops, alternative sponsor.  Get a print of this shirt here..

 

 

Doncaster Rovers home shirt 1994-1995.

Graeme Jones, John Schofield, Gary Brabin.

 

 

Doncaster Rovers away shirt 1995/96

Doncaster Rovers away shirt 1995-1996. **NEW**

This is a really nice away shirt.  Mine has Football League badges and bears the number 7 on the back.. Presumably player issue / match worn… Probably by John Schofield.

Doncaster Rovers home shirt 1996-1997.

Colin Cramb, Darren Moore, Paul Birch.

 

 

Doncaster Rovers away shirt 1996/97

Doncaster Rovers away shirt 1996-1997.

**NEW**

Despite the dodgy badge and the fact that it’s yellow I have grown to like this shirt.  Cramb, Moore, Ian Gore et al.

Doncaster Rovers home shirt 1998 – 1999.

First season in the conference.  I picked this up before the club had agreed a shirt sponsor.  Ian Duerden, Lee Warren.

 

Doncaster Rovers away shirt 1999 – 2000.

often forgotten away shirt, second year in the conference.

 

Doncaster Rovers home shirt 2000-2001

Doncaster Rovers home shirt 2000 – 2001

**NEW**

Can’t shake the sight of Carl Alford spooning one into the Asda carpark whenever I see this shirt.

 

Doncaster Rovers away shirt 2000 – 2001.

Another away shirt, think Carl Alford, Jimmy Kelly.

 

 

Doncaster Rovers away shirt 2001 – 2002.

Paul Barnes…

 

 

Doncaster Rovers away shirt 2002 – 2003.

Mark Albrighton, Paul Green.. John Ryan…

 

 

Doncaster Rovers home shirt 2003 – 2005.

Division three winners, Fortune-West, Blundell

 

 

Doncaster Rovers away shirt 2004 – 2005.

away shirt come third shirt.  James Coppinger

 

 

Doncaster Rovers home shirt 2005 – 2006.

Famous league cup run – McIndoe, Thornton, Coppinger.

 

 

Doncaster Rovers home shirt 2006 – 2007.

JPT trophy winners, Heffernan, Lee, Coppinger

 

 

Doncaster Rovers away shirt 2006 – 2007.

Excellent away shirt.  Think Brian Stock.  Oh and James Coppinger.

 

 

Doncaster Rovers home shirt 2007 – 2009.

Play off winners.  Jason Price, Paul Green, James Hayter, James Coppinger

 

Doncaster Rovers home shirt 2007 - 2009

Doncaster Rovers away shirt 2007-2009.

**NEW**

Think Lewis Guy at Derby.  And James Coppinger

 

Doncaster Rovers home shirt 2011 – 2012.

Championship side, though not much for longer.. Sharp, Diouf and Coppinger.

 

Doncaster Rovers home shirt 2013 – 2014.

Chris Brown.  James Coppinger.

 

 

Doncaster Rovers home shirt 2014 – 2015.

Tyson, Furman, Coppinger.

 

 

Doncaster Rovers away shirt 2014 – 2015.

Forrester, Bennett, Coppinger.

 

 

Doncaster Rovers away shirt 2015 – 2016.

Williams, Butler, Coppinger

 

 

Doncaster Rovers home shirt 2016 – 2017.

Marquis, Rowe and Coppinger

 

 

Doncaster Rovers away shirt 2016 – 2017.

Houghton, Baudry and Coppinger.

 

 

DRFC – Top moustachioed eleven of all time

Doncaster Rovers – Top moustachioed eleven of all time

Doncaster Rovers best moustache 11At times I don’t think I’m all there really.  Whilst in front of the mirror mindlessly hacking away at my face recently I, for some still unknown reason, started to think about Rovers players from the past with memorable facial hair.  This slowly meandered into those with full beards, smaller beards and of course led to moustaches only.

My own shave over, this brief idling of time and mind should’ve ended there too, but no.  I found myself with a pen and paper and decided to come up with a best 11.  Not only that but it had to have clear boundaries.  Inclusions had to have 3 key features.  1.  Moustache only – fair enough if they had sported other variants but their selection in this band had to be based on top lip only.  2. I had to find a picture of them with lip foliage, in their Rovers days, to get in.  Only those hairs cultivated during a spell with Rovers would qualify.  3.Entry based primarily on facial hair, not ability, though this would be used as a tie breaker should two moustaches reach a similar level.

Ian Snodin Doncaster Rovers

Rovers Snod – No
Everton Snod – Yes
Harsh, but rules are rules

Ian Snodin did not make it based on the rules above…. When with us, teenage Snodin could only manage this rather poor, lightweight version which just didn’t cut the mustard.  Everton Snod would have made it easily, the grown up tache was splendid, but check rule 2, he doesn’t qualify.. (I’m not here to win friends, this is serious).

 

 

Here we go:

Doncaster rovers Willie Boyd

1. Boyd – GK

1. Willie Boyd.  Not much to choose from Keeper wise, though in truth Willie is there on merit.   Tremendous ‘dark smudge’ style effort.  Big favourite among the Belle Vue faithful.

 

 

 

Doncaster rovers Willie Boyd

2. Les Robinson – RB

2.  Les Robinson.  Elegant and gentrified, a moustache which makes me feel proud.  Not just a smart moustache, Les was a top full back.  He was always reliable from the spot, always seemed to put them in the same place, always scored.  Les is our penalty taker too.

 

 

Fred Robinson Doncaster Rovers

3. Fred Robinson – LB

3.  Fred Robinson.  Reliable and consistent left back who made over 100 appearances for Doncaster Rovers during the 70’s.

Look at the weight of that ‘tache, truly a belter and contender for “top ‘tache”.

 

 

Doncaster Rovers Dave Cusack

4. Dave Cusack – CB

4.  Dave Cusack.  Two spells in the 80’s over 100 games, almost exclusively with insulation on his lip.  During his second spell he became player manager at the age of 29.  Given his managerial experience, he is duly installed as Player manager too.

 

 

Carl Swan Doncaster Rovers

5. Carl Swan – CB

5.  Carl Swan.  Enough said really.  Well known in the football world, subject of a book; but look at the quality of moustache, that is everything I could’ve asked for.  An absolute cracker, just about the definitive footballers moustache.

 

 

Joe Laidlaw Doncaster Rovers

6. Joe Laidlaw – CM

6.  Joe Laidlaw.  Hard tackling midfielder who could play as well.  Notched a club record of 8 converted penalties in a season.  Top player, top moustache.

 

 

 

an Miller Doncaster Rovers

7. Ian Miller – RW

7.  Ian Miller.  Flying winger, ‘windy’ provided ample ammo for his strikers during the 70’s and was supremely talented out wide – with a brilliant tache to boot.  Seriously, check out the bristles on that.  It’s not clear whether to shave them or sweep the drive with that?

 

 

ncaster Rovers Dave Bentley

8. Dave Bentley – CM

8.  Dave Bentley.  Classy, ball playing midfielder for the club at the end of the 70’s.  The quality of his moustache, allied with his ability on the ball means he is our playmaker.  Look at that beauty, bet you couldn’t get a comb through that.

 

 

Doncaster Rovers Peter Kitchen

9. Peter Kitchen

9.  Peter Kitchen.  One of the clubs most efficient accumulator of goals, Kitch scored over 20 goals a season consistently, all with a tache which matched his considerable goal scoring prowess.  Simple tache, but effective.  Does what you’d expect, no frills.  Played with great effect up top in the 70’s with alongside….

 

Doncaster Rovers Brendan O'Callaghan

10. Brendan O’Callaghan

10.  Brendan O’Callaghan.  Peter Kitchen’s partner in goals and facial hair.  The pair terrorized defences in the 70’s and they were the only partnership we could have gone for.  Big Bren’s ‘Horse Shoe’ as known in the trade, is a proper mans ‘tache.

 

 

Doncaster Rovers Glynn Snodin

11. Glynn Snodin – LW

11.  Glynn Snodin.  Went through the full range of facial hair through the 70’s and early 80’s but the example I unearth showed a neatly refined example of a moustache, matching his play and getting him into the 11.

There you have it, an hour or so of my life I’ll never get back, but a selection like that deserves commemorating nevertheless. Let me know if you have any additions. I may go and do something a bit more productive now. Wait a minute, I wonder which Rovers players are left handed…

The Team in Full.  Who has the best ‘tache?

Doncaster Rovers best moustache 11

 

Doncaster Rovers, Kowalski, Darby, NimmoSubs:

Andy Kowalski,

 

Duane Darby.

 

Ian Nimmo,

 

 

Retro Rovers Video – Doncaster Rovers v Wigan Feb 1997

Doncaster v wigan 1997 videoThis was a superb game, honestly it was.  I know on the face of it its a 2-0 win.  At home.  Against Wigan.  But honestly it was.  Perhaps some context would help..

It was during a period where Ken Richardson’s destructive hands were tightening around the throat of the club.  It was widely rumoured that manager Kerry Dixon didn’t get to pick the team, we looking very likely to exit the football league and were on a run which had seen us pick up 2 points from the last 7 games.  We were going one way.

In contrast, Wigan were going up and up.  They were on their way to claim the Division 3 title and commence their rise to the Premier League.  Graeme Jones was returning to Belle Vue for the first time since his summer move to Wigan and was on fire.  He would go on to finish as the league’s top scorer and among the highest in Europe as he would find the net 31 times for Wigan during 96/97.  Put all that together then and the inevitable outcome was another heavy defeat.

Something happened however, Dixon must have wrestled back some sway in terms of team selection as Paul Birch was reinstalled to midfield (tragically Paul Birch would lose a battle with illness a few years later) and his quality shone through above everything else on show.  Well past his best with us, Birch totally ran this game and allied with a couple of pieces of genuine quality from Colin Cramb (not least the first goal, including the typical celebration) along with good performances from Darren Moore and Ian Gore, (who shackled Jones throughout) John Schofield and Martin McDonald, Rovers produced a shock result.  This was the start of a run of 4 wins in 5 which granted a stay of execution until the following year and was a rare highlight during 1997.

Rovers:  1.Williams  2.Cunningham  3.Darren Esdaille  4.Moore  5.Gore  6.Birch  7.Schofield  8.McDonald  9.Mike  10.Cramb  11.Ireland.  12.Warren (for Birch)

This was 20 years ago.  I can’t believe it really.  Listen out for Ken Avis on the tannoy too..

 

 

Doncaster Rovers Retro Shirts and Memory lane

Doncaster Rovers Retro Shirts and Memory lane

(If you are interested in Retro shirts check out the link at the bottom of this page)

Over the past few years the world of ‘vintage’ or ‘retro’ (or in the words of my wife  ‘Scruffy and old’) Rovers shirts has been one which I have become increasingly immersed in.
The hours I have spent wading through eBay online number far too many for me to justify.  I suppose part of it relates to an association of a time of my life when things were easier or more simple.  I had those shirts myself and wore them proudly to school during a period of my life where there was no work stresses to cut short a nights sleep, no anxiety around money or whether the kids were safe.  The only concern I had then was whether it was chips for tea and if there were any Kit Kats; life was safe and easy and so a glimpse back into that time is always welcome.
More than that though, it’s something about my relationship with football and with our club and on such trips down memory lane, I am always struck by just how much we forget. Memories which are always present, fondly cradled and held dear are sometimes unknowingly smudged around the edges just enough so that the fact remains but the feeling is forgotten. Fortunately, usually not much is required to put sound to the picture or warmth to the fire.
When I stare at those shirts somehow I am almost bowled over by the surprises, and the details that I previously couldn’t see despite their being in the front of my mind’s eye.
For a spell I was back on the Railway sleeper which was once home in Belle Vue’s Mainstand, the feeling of climbing up its bouncy, creaking wooden steps and out onto the stand to catch that first glimpse of the always immaculate greenery, before taking my seat, like three generations of my family had done previously. All feelings that raced into my head, with a million more of thrilling victories and glorious defeat. .  The ‘jagged hoops’ of the early 1990’s took me back to Mike Jeffrey’s virtuoso second half display at home to Bury where we still managed to lose 3-2 and the remarkable 4-3 win later that year at home to Scarborough (Trust me, Steve Prindiville’s free kick that day was the finest you will ever see) and the hours drift by as the memories flood through.

The facts were always present, but the feelings had been forgotten and these little pieces of history are the time capsules which for me, prove to be the catalyst for reliving times gone by and I would urge everyone who has a piece of yesterday, be it a shirt or a programme, scarf or ticket stub , to take a visit down memory lane, to find that little something, nudge or prompt that kicks the feelings back into the memories and enables you, just as I did, to remember.  Petrol was cheap, footballers were normal blokes, and footy shirts were proper . Enjoy it for a couple of minutes then get on with things, todays not bad either – We’re top of the league after all.

** I wont bore you with the details of how I came to make them, but if you need help to re visit the early 1990’s, check out these Prints £5.99 with free postage – Proper football shirt from the 1990’s – Click Here and view **

Rovers Video – Goalscorers

Doncaster Rovers Video – Goals

Spent the afternoon learning how to use iMovie.  Instead of doing something useful I put together some clips of what you may consider some ‘Goalscorers’ of Rovers recent past, Cramb, Heffernan, Sharp, Hayter and Marquis….

I better go and do something productive now…

Doncaster Rovers video – Rovers v Kingstonian Conference Cup final 2000

Doncaster Rovers Video

Some cup finals, regardless of the level of the competition are glorious events, full of fast end to end football and punctuated with fabulous goals.  The Macmillian cup final of 2000 was… well, not one of these.

I remember it well, and following the success of the previous year (the fabulous 3-0 win over Farnborough which I will feature over the next few weeks too) this game was much anticipated but in truth it wasn’t a good game and the two goals which won the day were two of the most scrappy goals you will ever see.  Jason Minett’s opener looks like it was scored by mistake with Dave Penney’s prod from a yard out spectacular by comparison.

Regardless, we won and got a trophy at the end of it.  Lots of familiar and forgotten names including Dino Maamria, Neil ‘Goals’ Campbell and most unusually – footage of Andy Warrington looking like a relatively young man.

Rovers; 1.Warrington  2.Marples  3.Shaw  4.Foster  5.Walling  6.Barnard  7.Watson  8.Penney  9.Campbell  10.Maamria  11.McIntyre.  12.Minett 16.Duerden

Doncaster Rovers video – Rovers v Kingstonian Conference Cup final 2000 :

Retro Rovers Video – Rovers v Bristol City 1983

Found this video from the 1983-84 promotion season. We finished runners up to York City that year in Division 4 and this was an excellent win against a useful Bristol City team.

Terrific strike from Andy Kowalski and a goal from David Harle, which he follows up with a bizarre but terrific ‘running on broken glass’ celebration.  Good to see Ernie Moss in action also, running clear before being dragged down by the keeper.  Moss got 17 goals that year and was joint top scorer with Duggie, but was robbed of one here.

Rovers:  1.Boyd  2.Russell  3.Harle  4.I Snodin  5.Lister  6.Humphries  7.Miller  8.Moss  9.Douglas  10.Kowalski  11.G Snodin.

Retro Rovers Doncaster Rovers v Halifax Town FA Cup 1999 Match of the Day

Doncaster rovers v halifax townWith another FA cup journey about to begin this week, I dug out some old footage of one from the past.  I found our ‘Match of the Day’ debut from 1999 when the BBC cameras got us all excited by turning up to feature our first round tie with Halifax Town.
Watch out for a shocking miss from Mike Newell (that phrase became all too common), delightful views of a 5,000 strong Belle Vue crowd and a host of familiar players, including Jamie Paterson, Steve Gaughan and Lee Butler who were in the visitors side.
Just to make it more authentic, I used some really clever editing techniques to make the footage look and sound like it is on an old vhs tape being shown on an old telly…
Enjoy.

Doncaster Rovers FA Cup 1st Round, 30th October 1999 vs Halifax Town.

Rovers Diary Archive

 

Selection of the Diary Archive:

…………………………………………………..……

Doncaster Rovers league tableHmm. Never do things the easy way, that should be on the club badge somewhere. 3-0 up at half time at Stevenage (Butler, Mandeville and a cracker from Blair) and cruising. But we knew, we all knew it is never plain sailing. Cue some poor defensive lapses allowing the home side back in. A Marquis header (given as an own goal following a ricochet of a post then a keeper on its way in) made things a bit easier but once again we let them back in. Only difference to what history might suggest would’ve been, is that we held on and won. 4-3, maybe it’s a good sign that we still won the game… and a win is a win. Top of the league. Highlights below..

27th November 2016

Better, much better. We should’ve been ahead already by the time Orient went in front thanks to a thunderous 30 yard free kick. I questioned at the time, the starting position of Rovers keeper Marko Marosi which allowed the ball to travel all that way past him, and seeing it again on the telly still leaves a nagging doubt but maybe I’m just overly critical…

Jordan Houghton’s goal just before half time settled everyone down and meant the sides went into the break level. The least we had deserved, despite some ponderous build up play (we really do need to move the ball through midfield quicker) we fully deserved the goal having hit the bar 3 times in the opening 45minutes.

The second half was better, and a very poor Orient back four which struggled with a lack of pace were exposed on a number of occasions, not least the two runs into their box which led to penalty awards for the Rovers, both expertly converted by Liam Mandeville, who to his credit looks to have done enough to keep his place in theside, despite the returning fitness of Andy Williams.

Coppinger was again at the heart of most things which were of real quality, Butler and Baudry dealt with most things well and Craig Alcock looked like a proper full back (the first such exponent this season). Rovers 3 – 1 Leyton Orient.  

15th November 2016

Out the FA Cup again, away at Oldham, again. The highlights from the game look like a blooper reel from a “Danny Bakers Crap defending” VHS. All our highlights need is some strategically placed sound effects and a laughter track and we could have the number 1 selling DVD this Christmas.
Still, i fondly remember a spell during the early 90’s when we didn’t win a single FA Cup tie for 9 years. This sort of thing is depressingly normal.

20th November 2016

Injuries to ‘Keepers, dodgy penalties, a Coppinger assist, a late winner… Its all getting nicely familiar this.  Rovers beat Hartlepool 2-1, deservedly so, but allowing them back into it needed another late winner.  Mandeville and Marquis both developing a pleasing habit of finding the net.

30th October 2016

Doncaster rovers v Wycombe2-2 draw with Wycombe. Good first half, fought back from 1-0 down thanks to an error from re installed keeper Ross Etheridge to lead 2-1 with Marquis scoring the kind of goal Messi thinks about in idle hours. Finished 2-2 thanks to another keeper error. Why do things the easy way?

24th October 2016

"I know I'm supposed to do something...?"

“I know I’m supposed to do something…?”

Ferguson tells reporter Liam Hoden “One or two of them, I keep giving them chances but enough is enough” with the only surprise being he has narrowed it down to only 2 – presumably the players will draw lots to see who is dropped this week, along with Cedric “what’s that round thing” Evina.  Playing without full back every week is becoming very tiresome.

 

22nd October 2016

blackpool badgeHaving spent all week encouraging young striker Liam Mandeville to step up and take his chance, manager Darren Ferguson proceeded to drop him for the next game against Blackpool.  Rovers were once again crap, went 1-0 up after a few seconds via an own goal and then played with the kind of speed of thought and defensive nouse you would expect to see on a primary school playground.  Interesting enough, because of the own goal, we went into the second half having scored, but without a having a single shot on goal.  Tommy Rowe scored a penalty, then missed one (4 missed this season by 3 different players) and we got beat 4-2.

 

18th October 2016

liam mandeville doncaster roversDarren Ferguson is in the press today encouraging 19 year old Liam Mandeville to step up and take his opportunity given Andy Williams is out for at least 2 months.  This appears manager speak for “I’ve got nothing else to suggest? lets cross our fingers”.  Mandeville has showed promise and application recently, but also he has displayed he is badly lacking in experience.  There appears to be a lot of pressure headed for those young shoulders.  Saturday showed some inexperience by a making a number of first half forays into offside territory, the regularity of which hasn’t been seen Prince Moncrieffe donned a Rovers shirt.  Second half he didn’t – he was too knackered to get past the last man.  Lets hope he comes good, he was neat on the ball and offered enough to be encouraged.

15th October 2016

Doncaster Rovers 1-0 Colchester.  Wow, how that happened I will never know.  Rovers had all the possession but offered precious little in advance of the middle third.  Vulnerable every time the ball entered our own box the visitors could have been out of sight before we stumbled to a breakthrough with the only piece of quality on offer all game.

The most alarming thing of the afternoon was that in order to turn around his teams fortunes, Darren Ferguson opted to introduce Ricardo Calder to the action.  I can only assume Calder is mesmerising day in, day out during training as there must be a reason he is still in a Rovers shirt.  Usual match day service resumed as his introduction was so spectacularly incompetent it invited further trouble onto an already shaky back four.  Mental note, when your left back is already suspect, don’t put a man who appears to be running through treacle in front of him and then appear surprised that the opposition begin to drive a bus through the freely acquired space.  How we won is anyones guess.  Refreshing and a nice change, but still astonishing.

…………………………

5th May 2016

Perfect finish to the season with a crap performance at home, live on Sky, to promoted Burton (who will struggle badly next year based on today). My Dad summed it up perfectly “I taped the game too, but when I get home I think I’ll just rub it off”. Once was enough.

3rd May 2016

Doncaster rovers v leicester cityLeicester are the Champions of England. A great story which will rightly be told for years to come. Somewhat apt that exactly 2 years ago today we stood shoulder to shoulder with the foxes. Both Championship sides we stood off on the final day of the season in 2014. Leicester won 1-0, got promoted to the premier league and we went down to league one. Now two years on, Leicester are the number one side in the country, we are in the countries bottom league. Two short years ago we were peers, now we couldn’t be further away.

30th April 2016

FullSizeRenderThat’s that then. I’m more annoyed with myself really for starting to think things might be different and we might still have a chance.
1-0 up against Crewe, the 2016 vintage showed its true colours to slump to a comedic, incompetent 3-1 defeat.  Cedric Evina got the ball rolling with a “charlton away esque” lesson in how not deal with a cross in your own 6 yard box, and things got worse from there on in.

“We’ve lost too many games. But I see a clear pattern. If I was to be asked ‘why?’, I think I’ve got a very clear idea of why and I have to fix it.”
Was the managers reaction. Presumably the ‘why’ being because the manager and players have been utter sh*te.  Not sure that’s exactly what his thoughts are, or that he knows what to do about it.  League 2 then, barring a 12 goal swing and a win against Burton on Saturday. League 2 it is then.

24th April 2016

Another win! 2-0 against Coventry. Much improved performance and a deserved win.  Tommy Rowe excellent again as Rovers start to show some signs they are a team. 3 points behind, 6 to play for and the next game is at already relegated Crewe…
Ferguson told the free press:
“We thoroughly deserved the win. We’ve just got to maintain it now against Crewe and Burton.
“As a team we’ve got a bit of momentum now. You can see the belief.

Against my better judgement, I’m allowing an air of optimism to circulate my thoughts. I know it’s a mistake.

19th April 2016

img_3413 First time in months and months I actually felt a pang of excited optimism about the Rovers, as my phone sent a joyous notification that Tommy Rowe had bundled us in front at Chesterfield. ‘it’s back on.. is it? Yes it is.. well, wait what??’ I tried desperately to convince myself. By the time I had decided that it was, it wasn’t anymore. Some less than decisive goalkeeping allowed Ariyibi to equalise for the Spireites 12 minutes later, and despite chances falling to Butler, Coppinger and (a by all accounts an almost customary glaring miss from) Williams it ended 1-1. The gap is now 5 points with 9 to play for. Ferguson tells the press it was ‘a lost opportunity’ and that we ‘have a chance, maybe not a good chance, but we’ve got a chance’. I’ve got a lottery ticket for Wednesday night’s draw, I think my odds are better.

16th April 2016

Just when you think you know about life’s constants, taxes, the sky being blue, grass being green etc, something happens that throws everything into doubt. Today was just such an occasion as Doncaster Rovers won a game. Not just a game, but a game against the league leading, form table topping Wigan Athletic. All after going behind and actually scoring 3 (three) goals in the process (that’s 3 in one game, not the total for the month).

Much improved and much deserved was the general consensus following thedays frivolities at the Keepmoat, where, to fit in with the other incredible feats, Andy Williams found the back of the net (his first goal in 16 games) to add further optimism to proceedings. The win (still feels odd to type that) means that we are now 6 points behind with 12 to play for. Still a big ask, but you never know.

9th April 2016
“Whatever happens errm, I…I…I’m gonna be…sort of…convinced…that..I’ll get this right” was the battle cry from Darren Ferguson following the sides defeat at Bury.

For what it’s worth Darren, I’m about as convinced as you are at the moment.
Wednesday 6th April 2016

IMG_2445Same old story at Spotland during the first half as Rovers conceded what was one of the softest and most bizarre goals of the season. Remi Matthews seemed to forget he was in goal during a game of football and seemed to see something sparkly in the crowd which merited closer attention. By the time he came round he was almost off the pitch but recovered just in time to see a suspicious looking Rochdale forward roll the ball into a unguarded net.
Crazy scenes then erupted as the Rovers scored, and unbelievably then scored again! Two goals in one game at Rochdale allowed a brief departure from recent travails, though the surprising upturn in fortune didn’t last as 10 man Rovers conceded an equaliser deep into stoppage time. The goal was a scruffy, frantic mess of thing but worryingly there appeared too many blue shirts left to their own devices in the Rovers six yard box. Anyway, everything points to a much improved performance from the Rovers, with a modicum of pride and spirit creeping into the display and the start of a new, unbeaten run – 1 game without defeat. From little acorns and all that.

Manager Darren Ferguson couldn’t help but bemoan events leading to the finale as defender Craig Alcock had been sent off somewhat harshly for a second yellow, prompting the Rovers boss to angrily remonstrate with anyone who would listen, and a couple of people who wouldn’t. The decision undoubtedly made the last seconds of the game more difficult than they might’ve been, but hopefully Ferguson’s rant may serve to galvanise some spirit among his charges for the remaining games.

Friday April 1st 2016

Doncaster Rovers Doncaster Free PressEnjoyed the BBC sport ‘April fools’ joke for an hour or so this morning, before I realised it was actually the genuine League One table.

The aftermath of an embarrassing Easter weekend has hung around for most of the week with manager Darren Ferguson insisting to the Free Press that he is the right man for a “long term project”.  Ferguson doesn’t provide any specifics as to the details, so having seen his side play recently, I can only assume he is volunteering to take on the lengthy task of painting my house.  I’m happy for him to provide me a quote, though only if his competence with gloss and masking tape is greater than with a piece of chalk and a tactics board.  It may be his best chance of paid employment come the summer.

Further blow to Rovers hopes this year is reported in the news that midfield shadow boxer Paul Keegan is likely to miss the rest of the season with a knee injury.  Unfortunate, though if the Irishman represents our best hope of getting out of this then we might as well call it a day now and save everyone from further inconvenience.

Gary McSheffrey blasted the quality of his hotel during his loan spell here by telling the local press “clean sheets are a priority” whilst new goalkeeper Remi Matthews has told of his surprise that the Rovers are struggling at the wrong end of the table.  I presume by the time he picked the ball out of his net for the fourth time against Colchester he had a better understanding of who, what, why and when.

On a happier note, I did secure tickets to the ‘Evening with Peter Kitchen‘ event the supporters club have arranged for mid April.  It promises to be a good evening, get your tickets via the link below.

The build up to Saturdays game at Rochdale gently mentioned that Rovers last 12 games represent the clubs worst ever run of form (1 point from 36) and by contrast Rochdale have won six out of their last eight games.  Things may well get worse before they get better.

Peter Kitchen Event