Doncaster Rovers relegated to League Two - how it happened, context and stats as Rovers drop into fourth tier

Doncaster Rovers have been relegated to League Two following one of the worst seasons in the club’s history.

By Paul Goodwin
Saturday, 30th April 2022, 2:39 pm
Updated Saturday, 30th April 2022, 4:19 pm

Gary McSheffrey’s side concluded a miserable campaign with a 1-1 draw at Oxford United but their fate had already been sealed.

Rovers lost 28 out of 46 games, resulting in relegation to League Two for the second time in six years.

Only three times in their history have Rovers lost more league games during a season (1904/05, 1987/88, 1997/98).

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Photo: George Wood/Getty Images

They also lost 13 of their 23 home games – a number only surpassed during the infamous 1997/98 season when they lost 17 times at Belle Vue on the way to losing their Football League status

Rovers finished 22nd in the League One table. They were the joint second lowest scorers in the division with a paltry 37 goals and had the joint third worst defensive record having shipped 82 goals.

Relegation caps a steep decline after the club looked well placed to challenge for promotion last year until some key departures led to a shocking collapse and 14th place finish.

Richie Wellens was appointed as manager in the summer and tasked with a long term rebuild project and immediate aim of consolidation.

But injury-hit Rovers failed to fire under their former midfielder and he was sacked in early December with the club sat second bottom in the table with just 13 points from 19 games.

Youth team boss McSheffrey was promoted to the top job and wins on the road at MK Dons, Sunderland and Lincoln City offered some hope for disillusioned fans.

However, Rovers were always playing catch-up and a sorry March – during which they failed to score and won just one point – meant relegation became inevitable.

Rovers last dropped into League Two in 2016 under Darren Ferguson but they bounced back to win promotion at the first attempt following some smart signings, including John Marquis and Tommy Rowe.

The determination of the club to right their wrongs was also mapped out in a much-maligned five-year plan document – a blueprint to become a sustainable Championship club.

However, Rovers have since gone full circle and this time they do not have an experienced manager at the helm to guide them back to League One.

Grant McCann took Doncaster to the League One play-offs in 2019 before Darren Moore led them to a ninth-place finish in the Covid-shortened 2019/20 campaign and then had them as high as third in the table in early February last year.

However, Moore’s departure for Sheffield Wednesday and captain Ben Whiteman’s January exit completely destabilised the team and the rot well and truly set in with interim boss Andy Butler unable to halt the slide.

Since February last year Rovers have won just 17 games out of 77 in all competitions.

McSheffrey has won seven of his 27 league games in charge but has told the media he is confident he will remain in charge next season.