Before we go any further, welcome to the very first Don Your Way column and what’s going to be a weekly dig under the skin of Doncaster and discussing some of the issues in the town that matter.
Well, to me at least.
Let me get this on record straight from the off.
I love Doncaster. I was born here, I’ve lived here all my life (in the “posh” bits and the “rough” bits).
I’ve worked here, played here and my family has also been brought up in the town.
And while there are many positives to celebrate about our town, I am also not going to pretend its perfect either.
I’ll defend it fiercely and to the hilt but I’ll also freely admit that there’s plenty about it which could be better and which often leaves me feeling a little hot under the collar, plenty of which you’ll be hearing over the coming weeks.
If you are a regular reader of the Free Press Facebook page, you will have some idea of what I mean about the good and bad.
Regular grumbles on there from contributors are that this newspaper isn’t positive enough about Doncaster.
We’re always dragging it down, sticking the boot in and telling our readers there’s nothing to be proud of, nothing to shout about.
Yep, we do write stories which don’t always portray the town in a great light. But we pen many more which do.
And here’s where it gets interesting.
In recent weeks, we’ve written about exciting redevelopment plans for both the market and the railway station, among others.
And so you think the reaction from those readers upset about our criticism of Doncaster would be: “Yay! What amazing news. We’re delighted!”
Not a bit of it.
In come the comments about things being a waste of money, badly designed, facilities which the people of Doncaster don’t deserve, and so forth.
It seems that whatever we write, we’re in a no win situation. Write something that’s good for Doncaster and its written off as something that will fail and go to ruin.
Write something bad and out come the knives and angry mob baying for blood that we should be ashamed of ourselves.
So let’s get things straight between us from day one.
You aren’t always going to like what you read.
You’ll see things in here which might have your blood boiling, things which you massively disagree with, things which will have you reaching for your pen and paper or your phone or tablet to send me an angry missive.
And that’s fine. Everyone’s entitled to an opinion - but you might not like mine and I might not like yours either.
So let battle commence - and together we’re going to take a sometimes turbulent, sometimes unpleasant, but always refreshing tour through the streets, people and places of Doncaster.
You with me?
* Got something to say? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter: @DarrenBurkeSYN