The Inquest: Blunted by Sharp exit

Billy Sharp, Doncaster Rovers new record signing pictured with manager Sean O'Driscoll and John Ryan, Chairman. Picture: Marie Caley D1046MC

Billy Sharp, Doncaster Rovers new record signing pictured with manager Sean O'Driscoll and John Ryan, Chairman. Picture: Marie Caley D1046MC

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ASK Dean Saunders for the main reason why Rovers were relegated and he will point to the departure of Billy Sharp.

The statistics speak for themselves.

With Sharp, Rovers won six out of 20. Without him they won two in 26.

But did things start to go wrong for Doncaster when they signed Sharp in a record-breaking £1.15m deal in the summer of 2010?

Sharp’s goal every two games ratio kept them afloat last season but as a team they became over-reliant on their popular talisman.

When Billy was unveiled as Doncaster’s biggest ever buy you could almost sense that Sean O’Driscoll felt uncomfortable about the size of the cheque involved.

It was a marquee signing that John Ryan hoped would cement the club’s Championship status and add a few more thousand on the gates. Sadly, it did neither.

Even sadder, Rovers got nowhere near market value for their prize asset when Southampton hit the £1.8m release clause in January.

A few months earlier Rovers had rejected a £3.25m bid for Sharp from the Saints.

Now Doncaster are left to count the cost of relegation.