Paul Goodwin’s Rovers Verdict: Ban the troublemakers - and time for REAL fans to generate a Keepmoat Stadium atmosphere

It's time for Rovers fans to put all their energy into creating a positive atmosphere at the Keepmoat Stadium, according to sports writer Paul Goodwin.
It's time for Rovers fans to put all their energy into creating a positive atmosphere at the Keepmoat Stadium, according to sports writer Paul Goodwin.

FAIR play to Doncaster Rovers for the swift and strongly-worded statement in response to the ugly scenes that overshadowed Saturday’s draw at Hartlepool.

But actions speak louder than words.

The club should ban for life anyone guilty of an offence. Simple.

What a shame the handful of idiots determined to drag Doncaster’s name through the mud could not channel their macho man behaviour in more positive ways.

One such way would be to use their energy to generate a much-needed atmosphere at the Keepmoat Stadium, helping to get Rovers’ patchy home form off the ground.

That’s, of course, if the troublemakers really care about matters on the pitch.

The timing of this latest off-the-field indiscretion could not have been much worse from a personal point of view.

My mother and father have listened to me rave on about Doncaster’s family-friendly ethos.

They took the opportunity to make the short journey from a little further up the north east coast and lend their support in the away end at Victoria Park.

Thankfully the in-fighting that erupted late in the second half and then escalated when the stewards and police attempted to intervene, did not completely ruin their day.

But it did mine.

Having moved to the area six years ago, this is not the Doncaster Rovers that I know.

The club needs to take decisive action now to prevent the problem escalating.

The only way to deal with these people is to hit them where it hurts; ban for life anyone caught causing trouble in or around a football stadium - and throw away the keys to every football ground in the land.

That would make people think twice about causing bother.

You’d soon weed out the Football Factory brigade.

Let’s not get things out of proportion here, it’s a very small minority causing problems.

But let’s not bury our heads in the sand either.

After four relatively trouble-free seasons in the Championship, during which Doncaster fans were regularly praised for their behaviour, this season has already seen unsavoury incidents at Sheffield United, Leyton Orient and now Hartlepool.

Those four years in the Championship appear to have struck a few individuals down with Big Man Syndrome.

But the sad truth is if these same people put half as much energy into supporting their team as they do into the loutish behaviour that is threatening to tarnish Doncaster Rovers’ reputation, the Keepmoat would not be the atmosphere-less vacuum that it so often is.

Before events at Hartlepool, I wanted to investigate Rovers’ below-par start at home in this week’s column, compared to an impressive record on the road.

And it’s fair to say that the library-like noise levels do very little to help get the best out of Rovers.

So perhaps now is an appropriate time for supporters’ clubs to really get their heads together.

Not only can fan power help Rovers to identify, report and remove the troublemakers, but it can also find new ways of generating a louder, family-friendly atmosphere at home games that in turn should help the team.

The singing section trialled against Chesterfield was hopefully just the start.

‘Togetherness is key’ read the headline on this page last week.

It referred to the team spirit and never-say-die attitude that Dean Saunders’ side again displayed at Hartlepool.

But togetherness is key for you fans too.