Doncaster Rovers to aid ‘Super’ Dons?

BIG PLANS: Rovers chief executive Gavin Baldwin will help the Dons pursue any aspirations of a return to Super League.
BIG PLANS: Rovers chief executive Gavin Baldwin will help the Dons pursue any aspirations of a return to Super League.

DONCASTER Rovers would “actively support” any move to get the Dons into Super League, the Free Press can reveal.

Rovers and Dons are poised to work closer than ever before in 2013 as Doncaster’s new ‘Sporting Club’ continues to revolutionise sport in the borough.

The two clubs have already held talks about scheduling fixtures back-to-back at the Keepmoat Stadium, while ‘joint tickets’ allowing fans to watch both teams look set to be available from next year.

And a blossoming relationship between Rovers and Dons could take a much more significant twist in the longer term.

Rovers chief executive Gavin Baldwin has told the Free Press that the football club would support the Dons if they had an opportunity to join the Super League.

Baldwin said: “I would actively seek to support the Dons to be promoted to the highest possible league - if funds were available to us.

“If the Dons are in the Super League, for instance, then we have got a lot more people using this stadium on matchday.

“It’s very early stages.

“At the moment we have agreed that no conversations are off the table.

“For the moment we have signed an agreement that we’ll support each other, wear the same branding and work with both sets of fans to make it an easier experience to watch both games.

“We have talked about joint tickets and joint season tickets. Who knows for the future?

“If we can help Carl [Hall] get the Dons into the Super League then it’s a complete win-win scenario.”

Dons co-owner Carl Hall guided the club to its first ever league title this year and they go into Sunday’s Championship One play-off at home to Barrow with an eye on next season.

Typical of the Kiwi’s stringent and sensible regime, Hall has already outlined a new three-year plan to stabilise Doncaster in the second tier.

It is a stark contrast to the boom and bust days in the Dons’ recent history which put the club at risk of going under.

But a bid to bring Super League rugby to Doncaster is not as far fetched as it initially sounds.

The RFL are big admirers of the Keepmoat Stadium, which has hosted an England international and Challenge Cup semi-final in recent years.

The game’s governing body are also in the process of reviewing the current Super League licensing system, and a possible return to promotion and relegation between the top two divisions was mooted earlier this year.

Rovers and Dons remain financially independent of each other but under the ‘Sporting Club’ model there is scope for change.

Baldwin explained: “At the moment the governance of each club is completely independent of each other, but we have signed up to a spirit of ‘this is how we will operate’.

“In the future there may be different discussions.

“The current arrangement is that Rovers get a fee for Dons playing at the Keepmoat and that basically covers the stewarding on a matchday.

“Dons take the gate receipts and we take the money spent on food and drink.

“So you can see it’s in both of our interests that the Dons get promoted and play at the highest level possible.”