Doncaster Rovers chief goes on offensive over blackout

Statistics never lie: Rovers chief executive Gavin Baldwin
Statistics never lie: Rovers chief executive Gavin Baldwin

GAVIN Baldwin has hit out at Doncaster Rovers’ television black-out - and appears to have flicked the Football League’s switch.

After no live game for 15 months, Doncaster will be featured at least twice on television between now and the end of the season.

High-flying Rovers’ trip to Crawley Town next month and now the visit of Swindon Town to the Keepmoat Stadium on Easter Monday will be screened live on Sky Sports, it was announced yesterday.

Last week Baldwin revealed he had complained to the Football League about Rovers’ lack of air time.

With money at stake for live television appearances - £30,000 for selected home games and £10,000 away in League One - Baldwin was keen to ensure fair play.

“We met with the Football League to express our displeasure at the fact we’ve not been on television this season,” said Baldwin, speaking at last week’s fans’ forum.

“If you look at the teams that have come down from the Championship this year, Portsmouth for instance, they have been on a good few times.

“It seems if you go into administration you’ve got a good chance of being on television. We provided statistics to the Football League to demonstrate that we believe that we’re not being treated fairly, and asked if they would do something about it.

“By coincidence, within three days of them getting those statistics, we’re suddenly on the television.

“We’ve got to act appropriately with the Football League but we do need to point out if we think we’re not being treated fairly,” he added.

“We are assured we are up for a televised game at home before the end of the season.

“Let’s see if they can back up their words with actions.”

Rovers confirmed yesterday that their home game with promotion rivals Swindon on Monday, April 1, will now kick off at 12.15pm to accommodate the Sky cameras.

Since the start of the 2010/11 campaign, Rovers have featured just three times live on television, twice against Leeds United and once against Sheffield United.

Rovers’ last appearance came more than a year ago, shortly after Dean Saunders’ appointment, when Leeds won 3-0 at the Keepmoat Stadium in October 2011 in front of the Sky cameras.

A year earlier Sky also broadcast a dour 0-0 draw between Rovers and Leeds at the Keepmoat, a month before the BBC screened live coverage of Doncaster’s 2-0 win at home to Sheffield United in October 2010.

Chairman John Ryan was more phlegmatic about Doncaster’s recent lack of air time.

“For people in London we’re a little tinpot northern team, and they couldn’t care less,” said Ryan. “That’s the reality.

“We’ve got to change their opinion and if we win the league this year that’ll be a good start.”

Rovers’ trip to Crawley, originally scheduled for Saturday, February 16, will now be played on Monday, February 18 (7.45pm) and will be shown live on Sky Sports.