Doncaster Rovers: Ryan gives Dons reassurances

John Ryan
John Ryan

John Ryan admits he might one day become a rugby league convert after reaffirming Rovers’ commitment to the Dons and the Club Doncaster project.

When Ryan resigned as Rovers chairman last November, he criticised the club’s decision to buy Doncaster RLFC under the Club Doncaster banner.

So when Ryan mounted his takeover of Rovers alongside One Direction star Louis Tomlinson last month, some Dons supporters were left concerned over the future of their club.

But Ryan is in no mood to change things for the Dons and has pledged to continue Rovers’ support for the rugby league club.

“We’re not making any changes to any of that,” Ryan told the Star. “I’m not really a rugby league fan but I do respect what they’ve done this season and all credit to them.

“We’ll do our best to support them.

“I’ve started to watch for their results. Who knows, they might even convert me.”

Ryan’s assurances will come as a welcome boost to the Dons, about whom he was far from complimentary when he quit as Rovers chairman.

“I was annoyed that we shelled out nearly £100k to buy the rugby club,” said Ryan in November.

“Really? Rugby in Doncaster? No one’s interested.”

Rovers chief executive Gavin Baldwin – who has overseen the Club Doncaster project from its inception – offered his reassurances over the Dons.

Baldwin said: “Absolutely nothing changes. John is committed to Club Doncaster. We’ve talked about it at length.

“We’ve explained the business model because John had reservations about the Dons at the start, but the Dons are absolutely fine.”

In another show of commitment to the Sporting Club model, Doncaster Rovers Foundation is set to be rebranded as Club Doncaster Foundation later this month.

Doncaster Rovers and the Dons are currently the only fully-fledged official members of Club Doncaster, which also includes a link-up with all council-owned gymnasiums.

But Doncaster Knights - who for the first time played host to a Dons game on Sunday while renovation work continues on the Keepmoat Stadium pitch - and Doncaster Belles remain open to further discussions about their involvement under the Club Doncaster umbrella.