Terry Bramall is '˜excited', pre-season tours and squad depth - what did we learn from Meet The Owners?
The mood around Doncaster Rovers is a positive one if this week's Meet The Owners event is anything to go by.
The bi-annual question and answer session with the board is typically a useful gauge of the overall feeling of supporters.
If there is dissatisfaction, it will be reflected in the questions asked.
On this occasion, barring one or two grumbles largely about individuals’ matchday experience, there was plenty of praise offered and a desire for greater insight sought rather than criticism given.
Manager Grant McCann continued the tradition of Rovers bosses starring in the spotlight of such a stage, demonstrating real honesty as he addressed questions.
Both McCann and chief executive Gavin Baldwin took centre stage with co-owners Terry Bramall and Andrew Watson and chairman David Blunt enjoying less scrutiny.
Here, we bring you some of the major talking points and highlights of an interesting evening.
The quiet owner speaks
It is not often these days that we get to hear from co-owner Terry Bramall.
And while he was hardly probed on Monday night, he did speak about his continued involvement at the club.
Addressing a question over whether he enjoys contributing to the club, he said: “The Bramall family is only represented at the club by my wife and myself.
“Our children and families don’t get too inspired by football.
“It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone to know that my pleasure is in actually building things.
“At the moment the biggest focus is building Club Doncaster.
“I don’t think I’ve come to the start of a season being so excited about the prospect of it.
“When Dick [Watson] was here, what we wanted to achieve for Doncaster Rovers was sustainability.
“I’m pleased to say we’re making great headway down that road.
“We want it to continue and to not just depend upon the Watson family and the Bramall family.
“We want it to be able to stand on its own and supporters to feel that they are a real part of it.
“It’s not just people here that are supporters, it’s people that are joining in the other activities.
“Carl Hall and the Dons, the Fit Rovers, the great players we have.
“Everyone here is important and a greater team than the one just on the pitch.
“But the biggest thrill of all comes, even for me, when we win a game, we win it well and the goals are flying in.
“I suppose it’s the same for every football supporter in the land.
“Even those that support the greatest teams know that is not a 100 per cent record and there are difficult days.
“I believe that Rovers’ difficult days are behind us now and we’re going to get more good days.
“And that really excites me.”
disappointment on Pre-season tours
Since the carrot was dangled, some supporters have been unable to get out of their minds a potential pre-season trip to Thailand – or anywhere abroad for that matter.
But it seems the chances of that are as far away as ever.
When asked about the possibility of an international tour, Gavin Baldwin said: “I’ve just had word from the manager and he doesn’t mind.
“What we have done in the past is take the advice from the manager because everything about pre-season has to be about preparation of the first team.
“It may not be what people are hoping to hear but that will be the prime goal for any decision we make.
“We start planning for pre-season tours as early as December so we will communicate as early as we can what our thoughts are.”
Grant McCann offered his thoughts on the issue.
“I think the difficulty with it is that the pre-season trip is quite early,” McCann said.
“Fans always want to come and see a game when we’re abroad.
“Sometimes in the first two weeks or so it’s way too early for a game.
“It’s something we’ll speak about in terms of when we do go on a pre-season tour but ideally I would prefer to go away the first week of pre-season, which is too early for a game.”
strength in depth
One of the lighter moments of the evening came, ironically, when a supporter questioned whether Rovers have enough strength in depth to make a promotion challenge this season.
Supporter Rick suggested he was confident in the players which had started against Peterborough United the previous weekend plus three or four others.
McCann asked him to name the others and Rick proceeded to name Matty Blair, to the delight of the player himself who was sat at the back of the room, having been on hand to greet fans.
Blair gave a loud cheer and hinted at leaving the room, such was his satisfaction.
McCann then went on to disagree with the sentiment of the question.
“To answer your question, I think we’ve got a really good squad, I really do,” McCann said.
“I’ve only been here for a short while, just about ten weeks, and I think everyone deserves a chance.
“I back myself and my coaching staff to improve them. If you see me talking about myself at Peterborough last year, the players that left the club, that we had coached, went for a combined £10 million.
“It’s important that the boys get the opportunity to show what they’ve got.
“I disagree with you to say that there’s only 13 or 14. I think we’ve got a group of 18 or 19 that can play in our team.
“Maybe that isn’t all at the same time. I think you saw against Blackpool in the Carabao Cup.
“But if you add one or two that weren’t in the team on Saturday, it wouldn’t stretch the group.
“We see them every day in training. There’s some really good young boys there who want to do well, want to work.
“I think as a manager and a coach that is what you want.
“You want them to improve, get better for the club and ultimately have successful careers.”
n For more from Meet The Owners, visit www.doncasterfreepress.co.uk