Being born and bred in Doncaster, I’ve always supported the Rovers – and still do, despite now living so near to Sheffield’s Bramall Lane that away games there feel like home games for me.
However, Sheffield United are such a laughing stock for many people – even around Bramall Lane itself – because of the club’s culture of impatience and petulance when it comes to managers. One week they’re praising Nigel Clough, the next they’re grumbling about how he apparently has to go.
While some say this is nothing out of the ordinary for a club whose supporters quite liberally boo their own team off the pitch at the sound of a whistle, I blame the Blades’ board of directors for actually disposing of managers so easily over the years. This is something Doncaster Rovers don’t do – and something that makes me proud to be a Donny supporter and season ticket holder.
In the modern game, we’ve all seen the horror stories of the likes of Portsmouth who, thankfully, were brought back from the brink of extinction by their own fans, again demonstrating the importance of initiatives like the Viking Supporters Cooperative at Doncaster Rovers. Operating without major losses is important to those in control of our club, and that’s something we can be grateful for in an era of boom-and-bust football finances.
The plans for sustainable growth with a view to long-term success are something we can put our faith in as far as the powers that be at Doncaster Rovers go.
As mentioned before, the Club Doncaster project, and the links to supporters’ groups, keep the club grounded firmly in the roots of Doncaster as a town, and the youth movement is something that creates a healthy investment for the future. Despite the difficult summer he was subjected to, Paul Dickov needs stability to contribute to that sustainability on his part. No, Sheffield United we are not.
Young people are impatient, I realise that. But I still remember the days on the dilapidated remains of Belle Vue with a few hundred hardcore supporters still standing firm, and I don’t ever want to go back to that. Without patience and sustainability, younger fans would risk knowing such dark valleys just over the lofty mountains of fleeting glory.