Fans’ Forum: Seeking fairness in football - Jay Baker

Retro: Rovers fans, pictured in 2004.
Retro: Rovers fans, pictured in 2004.

For all we endure the complaints of fans of other South Yorkshire clubs, us Doncaster Rovers supporters can’t help but roll our eyes at the idea of feeling badly done to through spending seasons ‘only’ bouncing around the Championship and Premiership like our local rivals.

It wasn’t too long ago a few hundred of us Donny fans were standing in what was left of our old Belle Vue ground watching our team play non-league football in the midst of the Ken Richardson travesty, making a vow to get together to protect our club from any further such corruption, promising ‘never again’, and the Viking Supporters Cooperative (VSC) was born.

With the spirit of our club taken care of, we needed the investment, the financial backing to help us recover and thrive in the money-dominated world of modern football. Thankfully John Ryan provided just that, attracting additional investors in the process to secure our future, men who tell us they believe in democratic fan engagement and influence in the club, and hopefully that will be realised.

As a relatively recent addition to the elected VSC board of directors, this is something important to me, as I know it is to every fan who cares about their own club.

We enjoyed brief experiences in the Championship in recent years, but the last two seasons, as we know, takeover speculation helped nobody. I’m sure Paul Dickov would agree, given he’s been left with days to prepare following summers of uncertainty. While there are now no excuses for the manager, he would want it no other way.

However, Rovers must remember the importance of democratic supporters’ input into the workings of the club.

Lest we forget the heart and soul of our ‘local team’ and be lost to the ruthlessness of the business world that Dickov himself warned of when he told his players to let Bury equalise in this season’s opener.

Fairness in football is important, and that means more, not less, fan engagement. Our voices shouldn’t just be reserved for the stands.