Doncaster Rovers Meet The Owners: Board members defend cordial relationship

L-R: Gavin Baldwin, Andrew Watson, David Blunt, Dick Watson and Darren Ferguson. Picture: Phil Ryan

L-R: Gavin Baldwin, Andrew Watson, David Blunt, Dick Watson and Darren Ferguson. Picture: Phil Ryan

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The Doncaster Rovers board insist they are constantly challenging each other after being questioned at the bi-annual Meet The Owners event this week.

Scrutiny of board members, the manager and playing staff was almost inevitable at Tuesday’s supporter event at the following relegation to League Two.

But the tone of the evening was largely positive in anticipation of an expected promotion push next season.

President Dick Watson, chairman David Blunt, vice chairman Andrew Watson, chief executive Gavin Baldwin and manager Darren Ferguson comprised the top table on the night.

One of the most intriguing questions of the evening from the gathered supporters turned the spotlight firmly on the gathered board members.

Fan Jo asked the typically cordial board believe they are showing enough grit, fire and passion or challenging each other enough.

Boss Ferguson was quick to respond first and insists actions have spoken louder than words following relegation.

Ferguson said: “We’re not going to be fighting among each other on the top table at things like this.

“I personally think we can sit here and talk, saying we’re going to do this and that.

“But we’ve done it.

“We’ve signed nine players already.

“At the board meeting at the end of last season we said we had to have a positive impact amongst the football club.

“I genuinely believe that we have gone from having a real negative feeling about this club to having a real positive one very quickly.

“To do that on the back of a relegation is hard to do, but we’ve done it.

“Results will be key obviously. We know we let you down and we have to make sure we don’t let that happen again.

“To sign nine players of the quality we have, to be able to sign Tommy Rowe who had eight Championship clubs in for him, sets the right tone.”

CEO Baldwin confirmed the supporter’s belief the board do not rant and rave at each other during meetings.

But he said reasoned questioning delivers much better results than fiery confrontation.

Baldwin said: “I’ve sat in a few boardrooms and I would say this boardroom is a lot more challenging than others.

“I’ve sat in rugby boardrooms and the easy option is to shout a lot and blame the manager.

“It’s the easy option but it’s not always the right option.

“How this board operates is to question themselves, ask what can we do and how can we be more supportive.

“That is far more searching and hopefully comes up with better answers than just changing the manager every four weeks.

“For instance, is it the pitch or the atmosphere that needs looking at?

“Let’s tick other boxes. Blaming the manager doesn’t really change anything.

“The board, you can be challenging using a calm voice and it’s probably more productive than everyone shouting at each other.

“These guys will criticise themselves first and see what they can do better before they bring it to the table.

“It’s far more challenging and it’s done in a controlled matter.”

Recently appointed vice chairman Watson said accusations the board do not care about whether or not the football team is successful are completely wide of the mark.

Watson: “We are fans of the club as well as sporting people.

“We love Doncaster and the football club and we want to win.

“There’s nothing worse on a Saturday evening after you’ve lost and you’re out and people are asking you what is going on.

“We’re doing everything we can to make it work.

“People say we took our eye off the ball last season. I don’t think we did.

“There’s a lot going on around Club Doncaster at the moment but certainly at the end of last season it hurt.

“There was a real drive to make sure it couldn’t happen again. Hence, the new signings who we wanted to get in early for a good planned pre-season.

“You can rest assured that it hurt us.

“I think sometimes people see us sat up there and think we don’t care.

“We’re not like that. We want to win, we want to be successful. We have pride in the club.

“We’re going to do everything in our power to try to get us up there this season.”

Other topics discussed on the night included transfer targets, why Rovers were relegated, standing at away games, why the board kept faith with Ferguson and the importance of the Black Bank.