Chief executive's message to Doncaster Rovers fans ahead of new season
Chief executive Gavin Baldwin is confident Doncaster Rovers ‘will have more highs than lows this season’ but has reminded fans that the club’s main goal this term is to rebuild.
Rovers have had yet another summer of huge upheaval after last season’s woeful collapse saw them finish 14th in League One.
Richie Wellens will take charge of his first competitive fixture this weekend after succeeding interim boss Andy Butler.
From the matchday squad that faced Peteborough United on the final day of last season, only Louis Jones, Tom Anderson, Omar Bogle and possibly Branden Horton are in contention to start against AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.
In an update to supporters on the eve of the new campaign, Baldwin admitted that a challenging pre-season has been complicated by injuries and a brush with Covid.
But he says he has been heartened by the impact of Wellens and says there is a sense of excitement as fans prepare to return to the Keepmoat Stadium for the 2021/22 season.
"As pre-season comes to a close, it is obvious to everyone that it has not been a smooth ride, with large parts of the squad also having to isolate in recent weeks or picking up injuries,” said Baldwin.
"It has not been ideal, but as we said a few weeks back, this season is about rebuilding and becoming Doncaster Rovers once more.
"It will take time and there will be ups and downs, but I am sure we will have more highs than lows this season. Not least the return of fans this weekend.
"As Richie gets set to mark his official return to Doncaster Rovers in a competitive match, I’m sure you’ll all join me in wishing him well for the new season.
"In the short time since his arrival, he has been a complete breath of fresh air with his attitude and desire and his focus on ensuring his long-term objectives do not get side-tracked by short term challenges.”
Meanwhile, Rovers have asked supporters not to congregate next to the West Stand reception before this weekend’s game as they look to limit player interaction with supporters for safety reasons.
And he has urged all fans to respect each other’s rights to enjoy the game as they please.
"The main feeling as we come to Saturday though is one of excitement and both staff and football personnel cannot wait to see and hear the Black Bank in action and the sounds of the crowd this weekend,” he said.
"We are aware that Saturday will bring supporters mixed emotions too. There will be some who are desperate to get back to the stadium, have their pre-match pint and sing and shout through 90 minutes of action but there will be others who for Saturday is an apprehensive occasion. It may be one of the first times they have been out in a crowd for over a year, and we will respect everyone’s right to enjoy the matchday on their own terms.
"We will have a dedicated Red Zone area near the West Stand reception and the guidance we have been given is to try and limit player interaction with fans, due to risk of transmitting the disease.
"We ask fans to support us with this and not congregate around the players’ reception pre-match. We are desperate to avoid players self-isolating.
"We will of course respect everyone’s right to wear a facemask if they choose and have created social distanced seating for those that want to separate from crowds.
"We ask everyone to respect and support fans’ rights to enjoy the match on their terms.”