Doncaster Rovers can be true family affair, says new assistant coach Noel Hunt

The 18 months Noel Hunt spent at Leeds United were not very successful yet the chance to be a part of Yorkshire football again was too good to turn down when Doncaster Rovers came calling.

By Stuart Rayner
Sunday, 6th June 2021, 2:51 pm
Noel Hunt. Photo: Pete Norton/Getty Images
Noel Hunt. Photo: Pete Norton/Getty Images

Hunt is the new assistant manager to Richie Wellens and says the passion and compassion of football supporters in the region appealed to him.

“Yorkshire’s a special place,” said the former Republic of Ireland forward, who made 22 appearances without scoring in an injury-hit spell at Elland Road from 2013 to 2015.

“I didn’t have a great time at Leeds in terms of injuries and different things but the people were always fantastic to me. I love that friendliness, the people were great to me. Being Irish it reminds me of home.

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“I had an idea what it was like before from coming up north with Reading and seeing how passionate they were and you certainly wouldn’t miss the fans, that’s for sure, because you can hear them nice and loud.

“I remember the days of Doncaster Rovers being a very good football side, a really hard team to play against and proper opposition.”

As well as that edge, Hunt recognised a “family club” and it is clear he and former Rovers midfielder Wellens are going to make a concerted effort to bring supporters closer to it.

“It was just about the size of the club, how it conducts its business and how it gives the perception it does of being a nice club, a family club,” he said when asked what appealed beyond the chance to resume a managerial partnership he started with Wellens at Swindon Town.

“I’ve had that at a couple of places I’ve played and it feels right.

“We want a family club where people can interact with the club and the staff. There’s no divide between players and fans, staff members and fans, everyone’s equal, everyone’s here to do the same thing and have success.”

Hunt and Wellens won the League Two title at the County Ground before the latter left for a short-lived spell at Salford City.

“He’s a typical Manc. passionate, straight down the line, loyal with a good heart,” said Hunt.

“We generally think the same way on the football side of things and how we want to play. We have a little bit of a difference sometimes on players, which is great.

“He’s very good if there’s a decision to be made at half-time, it gets done and we go there. There’s no comeback, there can’t be in football.

“He’ll go with me when he thinks I’m right and it’s important he values the opinions of people he trusts.”