The men behind the man: Darren Ferguson’s praise for Doncaster Rovers backroom team

Darren Ferguson enjoys a celebratory drink with analyst Adam Ridgewell, assistant Gavin Strachan and goalkeeping coach Paul Gerrard. Picture: Phil Ryan
Darren Ferguson enjoys a celebratory drink with analyst Adam Ridgewell, assistant Gavin Strachan and goalkeeping coach Paul Gerrard. Picture: Phil Ryan

Behind every great manager is a great support staff.

They see far less of the limelight and far less of the praise when things go well.

Yet every successful manager will always credit his staff for their largely unseen work.

Darren Ferguson is no different following Doncaster Rovers’ promotion to League One.

Whether it is long time colleagues such as assistant boss Gavin Strachan or much less familiar figures like goalkeeping coach Paul Gerrard, Ferguson speaks with immense pride at the strong backroom team he has assembled and cultivated in 18 months at the club.

“I can trust them,” Ferguson told the Free Press. “It’s one big team.

“They’re better at certain things than what I am.

“I’m fully aware of that and I wouldn’t want to stand on their toes.

“I let them get on with it.

“I want them to have opinions. Obviously I’m the one that makes decisions in the end.

“There’s a good trust, a good relationship between us. That takes time as well.

“They’ve certainly enjoyed how it’s gone so far and enjoyed the working environment.

“I think that’s important.”

In helping to deliver the success which has enabled them to enjoy their jobs, Ferguson’s staff each bring their own skills to the table.

Unsurprisingly, Strachan is his closest confidant.

“Gavin Strachan in particular, he knows how I work,” he said.

“I’ve worked with him before.

“He’s very organised, very good on the training ground.

“He’s got a good imagination with the sessions if I tell him what I want and need.

“We’re bang on the straight line in how we want to play.”

Ferguson inherited some members of staff when he arrived at the club in October 2015.

Gerrard was one, along with the medical staff.

And with high standards from the boss, there was more than a slight need for them to prove themselves.

“Paul Gerrard has come on leaps and bounds,” Ferguson said.

“I’ve let him do a bit more in terms of goalkeeping but also in defensive sessions because I think it’s important they do more.

“The video analyst, Adam Ridgewell, is outstanding. He’s very good.

“The physio Alex Dalton is good. The fitness people as well, headed by Ben Rome.

“They’ve been outstanding for us this year.”

For all their individual skills, it is one shared charateristic which Ferguson demands from his staff, and one he shares himself.

“As long as they’ve got the same work ethic and same desire to succeed, then we’ll always have a chance,” he said.

“If they haven’t got that, they wouldn’t be here.

“And they certainly do have it.”