DONCASTER ROVERS: New chapter for Rovers

Step forward: John Ryan
Step forward: John Ryan

DONCASTER Rovers’ chairman John Ryan makes no secret of the fact that he was sorry to see the club’s four-year spell in the Championship come to end last May.

But he has put the disappointment behind him and is ready to start a new chapter, in what has been a remarkable story since he, and Peter Wetzel took charge of the club at the lowest point in its history 14 years ago.

“Relegation is consigned to the history books and it is all about what we do next season,” he said.

“Being in League One was something I used to aspire to when we were in the Conference. I think we’ve made a big step forward by acquiring the stadium and the training ground on a 99-year lease.

“The deal hasn’t yet been completed but we are virtually there now and everything is moving towards that sort of situation and we can start the season with great hopes.”

Rovers kick-off their League One campaign against Wallsall at the Banks’s Stadium much to Ryan’s disappointment - he had expressed the hope that the club would be at home on the opening day of the season.

“It’s the fifth year in a row we’ve been away on the opening day. You know that the FA don’t love me,” he quipped -a reference to the fact that he was fined £3,000 and warned as to his future conduct, for comments made about the referee in charge of the club’s penultimate home game against Portsmouth.

“There are some strong teams in League One but I am looking forward to it.

“It would be nice to win more home games. We only won four last season because I’d like to drive home with a smile on my face.”

Crowds were generally disappointing last season, but Ryan says he is hoping for better things next season despite the fact that the number of visiting fans will drop: “If we have a winning team in League One we’ll probably do better than a losing team in the Championship in terms of home support,” he said.

Despite the promise of a ‘new start’ for the team next season as manager Dean Saunders looks to put his stamp on the squad, little has happened since the end of last season with just out-of-contract defender Sam Hird moving on, and Bradford City midfielder David Syers being signed.

“There will be changes,there are bound to be,” said Ryan. “A lot of the deals are done from July 1 onwards because that is when contracts run out. Dean is busting a gut, is on the case and there will be players coming in in the next few weeks.”