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Ryan On The Record: Rovers chairman on Dean Saunders, David Cotterill and FA Cup memories

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What a brilliant job Dean Saunders and his staff are doing in reviving the fortunes of Doncaster Rovers.

Considering the squad was hastily put together at the start of the season, it is a tremendous achievement to have gone joint top of League One with Tranmere Rovers.

Dean has built a team of battlers that give their all in each game.

Tuesday evening against Oldham could have been a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’ but the players lifted their game midway through the second half.

You just knew something would come with the pressure that was on the Oldham goal.

It was just a pity that the referee saw fit to dismiss the Oldham goalkeeper and then Iain Hume for a bit of a nothing incident.

He could have produced yellow cards but common sense has disappeared out of the game these days.

The game was won by some quick thinking by David Cotterill who has been a marvellous signing and a revelation this season,

How many goals would he have scored had he not missed a handful of games through injury?

He is now working his way back to the form he displayed as a hot young Premier League prospect, and is a key man as we aim to keep this momentum going in the league, FA Cup and Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

LET’s hope our away form continues this weekend at Oldham and we progress into Sunday’s FA Cup third round draw.

My dream is to see the Rovers play Manchester United away.

But if that’s not meant to be, I’ll settle for Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool or Newcastle away! Or even Sheffield Wednesday or Leeds United away!

Rovers had their moments in the FA Cup in the 50s, making the fifth round four times in five years.

That was before my time but I do remember two very special FA Cup ties.

In 1974, the season Liverpool had won every home game in the top flight, we were drawn to play at Anfield.

Kevin Keegan opened the scoring but just before half time Brendan O’Callaghan equalised and then Peter Kitchen put Rovers in the lead before Keegan equalised.

In the last minute, Kitchen beat the late Emlyn Hughes to the ball, headed for goal and lobbed Ray Clemence but the ball hit the cross bar and Hughes got back to clear.

They came to Belle View for the replay and won 2-0 in front of a 22,000 crowd.

That day we turned out in a strip of purple, a rare occasion that Rovers did not play in some form of red shirt.

Liverpool went on to win the FA Cup, beating Newcastle 3-0 in the final, and after the game Keegan said that their hardest games were against Doncaster Rovers.

The other tie was in 1985 when high flying QPR came up against a Rovers side including the legendary Ian Snodin and we succeeded in the third round thanks to a tremendous David Harle goal.

We went away to Everton in the next round - this was the year the Toffees won the league championship and the FA Cup - and we acquitted ourselves very well in a 2-0 defeat.

We took some 10,000 fans with us, a lot of those via British Rail, and the atmosphere on the day was truly great.

Rovers Till I Die

John Ryan

 

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