NO-ONE in Doncaster was more delighted that the Dons clinched the Championship One title with a 48-8 win at London Skolars on Sunday than legendary winger Stewart Piper.
“I’ve been involved with the Dons for over 60 years at various levels,” said Stewart, who had to miss the game due to a family 21st birthday party.
“My dad Isaiah was one of the founder members of the club in 1950-51 and he used to take me when I was as boy and, of course, I later played for the club for many years - including the ‘Another Bloody Sunday’ era -and more recently I’ve become honorary president.
“It is terrific news that we’ve won the title and I think we can go on and win the Grand Final at Warrington at the end of the month,” said the 64-year-old,
“I know that this season it is the team which finishes top of the league who are crowned champions, and not the play-off winners. But it would still be nice to win the play-offs as well; it would be the icing on the cake.
“It is ironic that we failed to win anything when we had wealthy benefactors - though we were promoted to the top flight when John Desmond effectively bankrolled the club in the early 90s - and we also won promotion to the Championship via the play-offs as well as reaching the Northern Rail Cup final during John Wright’s time in charge - but we have done so operating within a strict financial structure.
“We are now on a steady footing, and financially disciplined, and it has started to pay off.”
The local businessman is also a member of the club’s advisory board which is comprised of local businessmen who provide limited financial support and other forms of help
Said Stewart: “The idea is to have a few people paying a modest amount rather than, as has happened in the past, the club being reliant on just one benefactor - and it’s working well. It’s also proving to be a double-edged sword in that not only am I helping the Dons but my involvement is also helping to promote my car business.
“We could probably do with a few more people on board now that we will be playing in a higher division and I would urge anyone interested to give chief executive Carl Hall a ring at the Keepmoat Stadium.
“The club has been run on a very business-like footing since Carl and the new board took over three years ago and they don’t spend money they haven’t got. I think the fact that we have not only won promotion but done so by winning the title and playing some very entertaining rugby along the way, will make a lot of people sit up and take notice.
“It shows that we mean business and that we’ve got a good foundation in place to move forward. If we can consolidate next year then who is to say that in a few years’ time that we can’t become a Super League team - especially with Doncaster Rovers now running the stadium and hoping to make money by doing so.
“Rovers want us to do well because we’ll be proving summer income for them at the stadium and the bigger crowds we attract, the better it will be for them. Hopefully now that we are going to have greater links with Rovers there are likely to be more incentives for their supporters to attend Dons matches and I’d like to see more of them give the game a try. I’m sure they’d enjoy it.”