Doncaster Rovers new boy gets helping hand from ex-Keepmoat favourite

In public he was sending jibes about his lack of travel up north.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 12:30 pm
Ben Close

But John Marquis has been a helping hand for Doncaster Rovers new boy Ben Close as he settles into life in town.

Close has joined Marquis’ former club after leaving behind the striker and his current employers Portsmouth earlier this summer.

The ex-Rovers forward posted a congratulatory message on social media but urged Rovers to look after their new signing as ‘he has never been north of the M25.’

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“I saw that from John and it did tickle me,” Close told the Free Press.

“He obviously didn’t realise I’ve got family up in Manchester!

“John texted me and sent me some great messages.

“He said he’d help me as much as he can if I ask.

“He’s helped me look for areas to live and told me about the good people at the club and how much he loved his time here.

“He’s wished me well.

“I really appreciate it from John, and it’s been really helpful.”

Marquis himself enjoyed great success with Rovers, initially firing them to promotion from League Two before being a major driving force in the run to the League One play-offs two years later.

Developing during his time at the Keepmoat, Marquis established himself as one of the division’s top strikers before joining Pompey.

And Close is hopeful his time at the club will prove equally beneficial.

He said: “I haven’t joined Doncast to float around League One for a few years. I’ve come to help the club get promoted.

“It’s going to be an incredibly competitive league with so many big clubs and good teams.

“But if I didn’t think it was possible, I wouldn’t have joined Doncaster because I’m sure everyone’s goal is to get promoted.”

Close will meet up with some of his new team mates for the first time next week when the squad reports for pre-season testing on Thursday.

In the meantime, he is currently trying to settle into life up north, having been born and raised in Portsmouth as well as playing for his hometown club.

“It’s a big thing,” he said.

“It’s different and a new experience for me.

“The last couple of weeks have been extremely busy and then next few are going to be pretty manic for me but I’m looking forward to it.

“I’ve got quite a lot of family up in Manchester so that’s not too far and I’ll be able to see them a lot more often now.

“In the season it’s hard to travel that sort of distance to see family but now I’ll be able to see a lot more of them and spend time with them.

“It’s nice to have a fresh start and to experience living somewhere new is exciting.

“It’s number one for me. As soon as I can get all that sorted and we can settle in, I can focus on the football and that’s something that’s really important for me.

“It’s just me and my partner, the two of us.

“I think she’s even more excited about moving away than I am. She’s looking forward to getting into somewhere new and experiencing that, and getting into a project.

“She’s been great on that. There’s been no arguments, it was just plain and simple that we both wanted to do it.”

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In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.