Ryan’s search for investors

Doncaster Rovers 4 November 2006''Rovers' chairman John Ryan (left) introduces new club directors Terry Bramhall and Dick Watson to the Belle Vue crowd.
Doncaster Rovers 4 November 2006''Rovers' chairman John Ryan (left) introduces new club directors Terry Bramhall and Dick Watson to the Belle Vue crowd.

DICK Watson might yet continue to support Doncaster Rovers financially despite stepping down from the board, according to Free Press sources.

Watson (pictured) resigned as vice-chair last week on health grounds, along with his son Andrew, daughter Sarah Kell and fellow former Keepmoat man Terry Bramall.

The resignations of mega-rich Watson and Bramall - who between them are worth more than £700m - has cast a major shadow over Doncaster’s bid for Championship survival.

There was no surprise about the resignation of Bramall, who had become a peripheral figure at the club in recent months.

Ryan and Watson, on the other hand, have each pumped a figure of £1.6million of their own personal wealth into Rovers this season to help cover a £5m shortfall.

Ryan has since described himself as the “last man standing” and there are now major question marks over how long the club can sustain its current wage bill, believed to be in the region of £7.5m.

But Ryan, who will chair his first board meeting since the exodus tomorrow, told the Free Press this week that Watson and Bramall do not want their exits to be the beginning of the end for Doncaster Rovers.

Watson could still be persuaded to have an input financially - but any such investment will not come close to the amounts he has ploughed into the club since his appointment in 2006.

A shell-shocked Ryan said: “I’ve spoken to Terry and Dick and they’ve not indicated as yet if they want to sell their shares.

“They want to leave the club - but they don’t want to leave the club in dire straits.

“Hopefully we can negotiate something that will suit all parties.

“The last thing that Terry and Dick want is to see the demise of Doncaster Rovers.

“I’m looking for new investors to come on board, but I’ve been doing that for a while now and it’s not easy,” he added.

“Everything now is about trying to make sure we finish fourth from bottom.

“Then we can sit down and reassess things in the summer.”

Ryan was still coming to terms with the boardroom departures when Rovers also lost prized asset Billy Sharp to Southampton on Monday evening.

Ryan said: “It’s very sad that Billy has gone but these things happen.

“Billy was always going to go at some stage and there wasn’t a lot we could do about it.

“I thought he might stay till the end of the season and it all came a bit out of the blue, I expected Reading to come in for him and not Southampton.

“Obviously it’s a big blow to lose Billy - but his departure gives someone else an opportunity.”