‘Match-off’ headaches of the programme editor

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DONCASTER Rovers’ media manager Steve Uttley has more reason than most to hope that Tuesday’s home game against Blackpool goes ahead.

Steve was forced to shred the Rovers’ programme for last Saturday’s postponed Championship game against Reading, after three days’ work putting it all together.

But he managed to salvage several items for inclusion in the Blackpool programme.

However, if that game is also called off, as is a distinct possibility unless there is an improvement, then the likelihood is that they too will face the shredder.

What Steve will not be doing is putting out a sub-standard programme when the Reading game is eventually played.

“It will be a whole new programme on the night,” he told The Star.

In his first full season of being responsible for editing the programme, Steve takes great pride in the quality of the publication and is keen to ensure that it remains value for money every game.

Steve took over the programme midway through last season and although he was able to add one or two new ideas into the format agreed with the printers pre-season, he had to wait until the summer before making the changes that he wanted.

In addition to his own thoughts, Steve picks up ideas from other programmes and tries to incorporate them into Rovers’ publication.

He also speaks to the supporters and asks for their input on what they’d like to see.

Perhaps it is because he has taken their views on board that his efforts have been generally well received by the people who buy it.

“It’s one of the few things that we don’t get hammered on much,” joked Steve.

But, echoing the thoughts of many a journalist, myself included, in a time when there are any number of ways in which information on the club can be obtained, Steve says: “It’s not easy trying to find stuff that has not been elsewhere.

“For instance, what questions can you ask a player that he’s not been asked a dozen times?

“Yet somehow we generally come up with an interesting interview and that is one of the most popular sections of the programme.”

Despite Steve’s efforts there has been no real surge in sales. Not that he expected that to be the case in the toughest economic climate for decades.

If sales hold up on past years - as they are - then that is all he can realistically hope for during a time when gates are also down.”

Like many older supporters, Steve used to collect programmes in his youth but he says today’s younger generation are far less likely to buy one these days.

“A lot of younger people tend to read the website before they set off for the match and don’t see the need to buy a programme,” he said.

“Most of the people who buy a programme these days are of a particular age group and it is something that they’ve always done.”

For those fans who do buy programmes, and I for one think it’s a good read, Steve plans to introduce a few new ideas and promises an even better read next year.

Ryan the rock of Rovers

I WISH Doncaster Rovers’ chairman John Ryan the best of luck in trying to attract new investors to help him meet the costs of running the Championship club.

He did a good job in persuading Dick Watson and Terry Bramall to join his crusade to steer the club to the heights of the Championship when he last sought financial backing five or so years ago.

Both men in their differing ways did a great job for the club before stepping down recently and Ryan will find it hard to attract people of similar calibre.

I hope he does, not only to help share the burden, but because it would reduce the possibility of some anonymous businessman getting his hands on the club at some future date.

Ryan may have his critics, though he hardly deserves them given what he has done for the club over more than a decade, but there has never been any doubt the priority in life that he has given the club.

I just hope that he is never put in a position to make a decision on the future of the club where his hand is being forced by a lack of suitable options.

I’m not saying that all wealthy overseas owners of clubs in this country are doing a bad job. That is clearly not the case.

But I just think that most Doncaster fans would prefer a man like Ryan at the helm for as long as possible

Time to trim Premier wages

GIVEN what has happened to perceived ‘fat cats’ bonus payments in recent days, I wonder how long it will be before football supporters - particularly those who follow Premier League clubs - start calling into question the money being paid out to star players, particularly those who under achieve over a season?

It can’t come soon enough as far as I am concerned. The money many of the players in the top flight are on is obscene - especially in such economically difficult times.

I’m not calling for a return to the days of the maximum wage. But there needs to be a drastic pruning of players’ contracts to more realistic levels.

Given the comparable levels of responsibility between the two, it is ridiculous that a Premier League footballer earns more in a week than the Prime Minister earns in a year.

Dons can be in the promotion mix

DONCASTER Rugby League Club, weather permitting, will kick-off one of the most important seasons in their history at Gateshead on Sunday in their opening Northern Rail Cup pool game.

Welcome though a good run in the NRC competition would be, as is the case with the Rugby League Challenge Cup later in the season, the absolute priority this season is winning promotion to the Championship.

In a one-off to accommodate several new clubs from outside the sport’s mainly northern base in 2013, four teams will be promoted from Championship One.

But with none of the established clubs wanting to be involved with what will look more like a development league next season, competition to fill those spots will be fierce.

But the Dons look to have recruited well, and within budget, and given luck with injuries, I see no reason why they shouldn’t be in the mix.