FORMER striker Billy Sharp, now on loan at Nottingham Forest, may have gone but he’s not been forgotten by Doncaster Rovers’ fans.
Saturday marked the first anniversary of the birth of his son Jacob Luey, who sadly died several days later, and the 1,200 Rovers’ fans at the League One game against Notts County at Meadow Lane, chanted Sharp’s name for over a minute as a mark of respect at 3.10pm.
I thought it was absolutely tremendous,” said Supporters’ Club chairman Len South. “It would be interesting to know if Billy has heard of it and if so what he thought about it.
“Rovers fans still love Billy to bits and they’d love him to come back here. They still want him to do well even though he is no longer playing for us.
“I don’t know what happened at Southampton, but after helping them to win promotion to the Premier League, after they signed him from us for £1.8m in January, he didn’t seem to get much of a chance to show what he could do at that level before being loaned to Nottingham Forest where is starting to score again.”
As well as being proud of the fans’ tribute, Mr South was also pleased with their behaviour and praised the club’s swift action following trouble last month.
“I think the club were absolutely right in banning four or five people after the trouble in the crowd at Hartlepool,” he said.
“It has sent a message out to people that we don’t want hooligans associated with the club.
“I’m hopeful anyone thinking of causing trouble in future will think twice as a result of the club’s actions. We don’t go to places to cause trouble, we go there to make friends and enjoy the football. Obviously we hope the team wins but if they don’t it’s not the end of the world; no-one has died.”
Although Mr South couldn’t make the game he was upset to learn that one of the Supporters’ Club coaches had been attacked after the 2-1 win at Tranmere last Tuesday.
“That was disappointing and I don’t think it was anything to do with our fans.” he said.
He said he hoped that Doncaster fans wouldn’t go looking for revenge in the return fixture.
“The way I look at it, two wrongs don’t make a right,” he said. “We will welcome all Tranmere fans to the Keepmoat in the return game. I’m sure the true Tranmere fans themselves aren’t trouble-makers.
“It was like the incident at Hartlepool, it was just a tiny minority of people who were responsible. Rovers fans earned themselves a tremendous reputation for the way they conducted themselves at away games and for making the Keepmoat Stadium such a welcoming place for visiting fans during the four years in the Championship and we don’t want to lose it.”
Having helped the campaign for a new athletics stadium in the town, I am delighted with what Doncaster Athletic Club have achieved since moving into the track at the Keepmoat Stadium complex in 2007.
The club’s progress has far exceeded my hopes with membership more than trebling, rapid progress being made through the respective leagues in which they compete and the emergence of international quality junior athletes. The facilities have undoubtedly helped, but the club’s success owes more to the talent in the town, the quality coaching and a progressive board.