Doncaster Rovers: Latest from Gavin Baldwin on five-year plan, improvements to Cantley Park and sponsorship

Andrew Watson, Gavin Baldwin and Terry Bramall
Andrew Watson, Gavin Baldwin and Terry Bramall
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Expanding the presence within Cantley Park is key to the five-year plan drawn up for Doncaster Rovers and Club Doncaster, Gavin Baldwin has revealed.

Only a small number of features of the plan have been revealed to date, with owners planning a grand unveiling in the coming months.

Dons general manager Carl Hall revealed the aim is to have the rugby league club in Super League and Rovers in the Championship within the five-year period.

But significant improvement of facilities is a key driving force behind such ambitions, with the existing Cantley Park training ground at the centre.

“We’re informally talking to the council about expanding our training facilities,” Baldwin told the Free Press.

“The Soccer Centre on the Keepmoat site is virtually full at night.

“We’re looking to move the Development section of the club down to Cantley, making the borough’s biggest youth club but also be developing players for the future.

“If they’re not going to be players, they will be fans of the club in the future, or business people that want to sponsor Doncaster Rovers.

“But at the moment, the Soccer Centre is virtually full which is not a great position to be in.

“The council is being great.

“It’s only conversations at the minute but the question is can we do more at Cantley?

“That is one of the big discussions.

“A lot of the plan is to do with raised revenues through improving our facilities.

“That includes adding Pitch Four at the Keepmoat and we’ve talked about a partnership with the XP School on the site to look at their leisure facilities.”

The five-year plan was also a topic of conversation at the first Meet The Owners event of 2017 on Monday.

Answering a question on the five-year plan, Baldwin said: “It will be useful at the right time to reveal our five year vision which the board have led.

“I’ve acted as a servant to put together a document, which is mostly their thinking, which will demonstrate how we drive revenue for the next five years and hopefully fund us in the Championship.

“Liam Scully [COO] along with his team have led on a bid with the Football Foundation on Pitch Four, another Astroturf pitch which will secure tens of thousands more a year because the Soccer Centre is virtually full.

“The commercial team has driven it over the last couple of years but more significantly moving forward, that will take us into different territory.

“We’ll be talking very soon about new commercial partners that come with a value.

“From my point of view there has been significant improvement over the last 36 months. We’ve acted as a management team to pull together the board’s expertise in business and that has formed the five-year plan, which we will reveal to you when we are able.

“There’s commercial sensitivities with negotiations over sponsorship at the moment. That will demonstrate significant revenues that perhaps aren’t available to other clubs and give us the edge that will put us in the Championship.

“We’ve got advantages of a board with vision and a staff that act to drive that vision through to help Doncaster Rovers have commercial opportunities and work with partners that are punching far above our weight.

“I hope, at the start of next season, you will be proud of the commercial deals we’ve done because you will know that as a club we are operating at a level far above League One and therefore that will help us drive to the Championship.

“But whatever job as a staff we do, it still needs significant investment from the owners.”