WELL the season has soon come around again, with the European Championships and the Olympics, our appetite for the new football season should be well and trully wetted.
After punching above our weight for the past couple of seasons, I really enjoyed pitting our witts against the so called big boys and the privileged who got paid 35 million for failure and getting relegated from the Premier League.
I pity the clubs who make that drop down from the Championship who are not afforded the same parachute payment, but that’s football. The rich get into more debt, whilst the true teams in the lower leagues are left to fight for the scraps.
The close season has seen us have the North Lincolnshire tour of Cleethorpes and Grimsby, lots of “Yorkshire friendlies”, a trip to the New York Stadium and last Saturday we welcomed our old foes York who won there way back into the promised land, making up for their last visit to town, when we sealed their relegation to the Conference. York bought a sizeable following to the Keepmoat, but Rovers managed to put a threadbare team out and won on penalties.
Talking to some of the players after the game, and also Dean Saunders, they had hoped their would not have been extra time. Our penalties were perfect, perhaps we could give lessons to England and the GB teams, on how to take the perfect penalty.
Dean has not been able to really finance a team thus far, as the drop in revenue means we have had to offload the high earners in the team. Only James Coppinger, Neil Sullivan and Martin Woods remain from the play off winning side now, but even they could be gone come the end of August.
Although Dean signed six players from last season’s highly succesful youth team, most of those will be shipped out to get match time at local non league sides.
It is not all doom and gloom though as last Saturday the club celebrated taking over the stadium reins from the council, so now everything that we sell ie food beer etc goes back into the club. The Lakeside Bar was re-branded “The Belle Vue Bar”, and with that win, we now play Hull City in the second round.
Saturday’s opener against Walsall, will bring us up against Richard O’Kelly, who now works as assistant manager at the Banks’s Stadium.
Richard is one of the nicest people in football and he will want to get one over us so it’s not going to be an easy ride, as they have built a good squad there.
We have a great following going so far, nine coaches of supporters that I am aware of, and all those coaches are now full.
Rovers could potentially have a potent strike force in the shape of Billy Paynter and Robbie Blake and if we can keep them both fit, we could well see the goals popping in regularly.
I still think there could be some last minute deals. At the back, we have the former Scunny Bunny duo of Rob “own goal” Jones and Jamie McCombe, who will probably be our tallest ever centre half pairing.
Welsh international David Cotterill and David Syers are like busy bees in midfield so roll on Saturday.
Buses for Walsall depart : Retford 10.15pm Harworth 10.20pm Bawtry/Rossington 10.30pm, Hare and Tortoise 10.35pm, Infirmary 10.45pm and Keepmoat 11.00pm. Fares £14 adult members. £13 oap £12 under 16s.