Stronger together: Doncaster Knights open to Club Doncaster concept

Doncaster Knights chief executive David Ryall. Picture: Liz Mockler D1155LM
Doncaster Knights chief executive David Ryall. Picture: Liz Mockler D1155LM

Doncaster Knights have not ruled out joining Club Doncaster.

And the Castle Park club want to revolutionise sport in the borough by introducing ‘Super Weekends’.

Club Doncaster was officially launched last week when Doncaster Rovers announced their takeover of the Dons.

And the project should not end there, according to Knights chief executive David Ryall (pictured).

Ryall has warned that Knights, Rovers, Dons, Belles and Doncaster Racecourse will all “suffer” by not working together.

And the former Robin Hood airport boss wants the town’s leading sports clubs to lay on ‘Super Weekends’ - and avoid fixture clashes - in an attempt to increase dwindling attendances.

“Club Doncaster is an interesting concept,” said Ryall.

“The idea of a ‘sporting ticket’ for Doncaster is something we put forward a number of years ago.

“We floated the idea of a ‘Super Weekend’ which might include football and rugby, or racing and football, whatever combinations there might be.

“It’d be something that might appeal to locals and also attract visitors to the town.”

Following promotion in 2008, Rovers’ average attendance in the Championship for 2008/9 was 11,964. This season that figure currently stands at 8,573.

Dons supremo Carl Hall also hit out at a lack of support for his team last season, following the club’s most successful year on record.

Ryall says the Knights have bucked the trend somewhat by increasing their number of season ticket holders despite suffering relegation from the Championship to National One.

But he says now is the time for the town’s sporting bodies to join forces.

“If we continue to ply our trade individually I think we are all going to suffer,” said Ryall.

“There’s a good football club in the town, a good racecourse and we have an excellent facility here for rugby union.

“There’s definitely scope to put our collective weight together and see if we can do things collaboratively.

“One way of doing that is to negotiate the scheduling of fixtures so we don’t have all three sporting activities on the same day, which immediately dilutes the attendance at all three,” he added.

“Simple things like that could be the start of something far more effective for sport in Doncaster.

“The Club Doncaster concept has great merit.”