As news of Paul Dickov’s sacking by Doncaster Rovers broke, I casually cast my mind back to the number of managers I’ve seen take up the hotseat since I first set foot on the Belle Vue terraces way back in 1981, writes Darren Burke.
With Rob Jones currently taking temporary charge, my personal total, including caretaker and permanent bosses, stands at a pretty impressive 23.
During that time there have been some true greats - Dave Penney, Billy Bremner and Sean O’Driscoll spring to mind - and some downright awful too - the despised Mark Weaver from the calamitous 1997-98 relegation season anyone?
Paul Dickov, sadly, falls into neither camp.
He is unfortunately destined to become one of those names that will become blurred in Rovers folklore in years to come.
And to be honest, I feel sorry for him.
I’ve met him a few times. He was a decent guy who understood what Doncaster Rovers was all about. He understood the club’s valuable place in the community. He seemed a likeable and friendly sort with football flowing through his veins. A picture of him celebrating a Rovers win at Elland Road over Leeds United encapsulated the passion he seemed to share with the fans.
I wanted him to succeed, I wanted his visions for Rovers to come true.
But the sad fact of the matter is, that under much of his rein, Doncaster Rovers have become a truly turgid watch.
I can count on one hand the number of enjoyable fixtures I’ve sat through at the Keepmoat in the last 12 months. As a season ticket holder, I’ve rarely missed a game in recent years. Last year, I missed a few. Then this season, I’ve skipped a few too.
As a Rovers diehard for more than 30 years, I suddenly realised that the truth was I wasn’t really missing the games either. The spark had gone. Going to the Keepmoat under Dickov felt like a chore rather than a fun experience.
The football was dull, the excitement low and with dwindling crowds, the atmosphere, despite the best attempts of the Black Bank, was like a mortuary.
Seeing home defeats and scorelines beginning “Doncaster Rovers nil...” was becoming the norm.
There’s always some surprise when a manager is shown the door, no matter how bad they have been so when I came back to the office following my lunch break on Tuesday afternoon to discover Dickov had been given the push I was surprised, but not surprised, if that makes sense.
Poor results, growing resentment from fans and dull performances sealed Paul Dickov’s fate. He joins a long line of Rovers managers for whom history will not judge them kindly.
However, I will always have a soft spot for him and hope that it works out elsewhere in the future. He deserves that success. It just wasn’t meant to be with Doncaster Rovers.