Doncaster Rovers ‘were never going to match my ambitions’ claims former boss Darren Ferguson

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Former Doncaster Rovers boss Darren Ferguson claimed his decision to resign was influenced by the club's failure to match his ambition.

Ferguson quit in June 2018 following discussions with the board, which he said left him feeling he had ‘no alternative’ but to move on after overseeing a 15th-placed finish in League One.

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He previously led Rovers to promotion from League Two in the 2016/17 season after they had been relegated under his stewardship one year prior.

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Darren Ferguson has spoken about how his spell at Doncaster Rovers came to an end.Darren Ferguson has spoken about how his spell at Doncaster Rovers came to an end.
Darren Ferguson has spoken about how his spell at Doncaster Rovers came to an end.

In an interview with Coaches’ Voice published this week, he claimed he wanted to wanted to try and win promotion to the Championship as soon as Doncaster returned to League One ‘but the club had other ideas’.

Reflecting on his time at Rovers, Ferguson said: "Just when I was feeling ready to get back in, the Doncaster Rovers job came up. A really good club. When the chance to join them came along, I was really up for it.

“They were in League One at the time, and the ambition was to get into the Championship. That was where I wanted to be, having achieved what I had done with Peterborough.

“But things didn’t turn out as I’d hoped. After a run of 16 games without a win towards the end of my first season there, we got relegated. All of a sudden, I was back in League Two.

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“I could have been sacked, but the club stuck by me. I didn’t want to be down there at all, but I felt largely responsible for the relegation and felt a duty to get Doncaster straight back up. The board were great, and backed me, and there was no way I was letting us hang around in the fourth tier. We got straight back up at the first attempt.

“In my mind, then, it was time to look at going again. I had the Championship in my sights.

“For them, the next campaign was all about consolidating in League One. We did just that – that was my one season in which I didn’t go through a promotion race or relegation battle – and at the end of that season I was ready to kick on.

“The club weren’t keen, though. The owners didn’t want to go for it. They were happy with sticking where we were in League One.

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“It was also around that time that my dad fell ill. That was taking up some of my attention, and I just decided I couldn’t deal with a battle with the club over my transfer kitty. There were more important things to think about, and I could tell they were never going to match my ambitions. So, I resigned.”

Ferguson was replaced by Grant McCann, who led Doncaster to the play-offs the following season after overseeing a sixth-placed finish.

They then finished ninth on a points-per-game basis under Darren Moore during the 2019/20 campaign, which was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ferguson is currently looking for work after resigning from his third spell in charge of Peterborough United in February with the club winless in three months and heading towards relegation from the Championship.

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The five-time promotion-winner added: "Unfortunately, we didn’t establish ourselves in the Championship this time. We underestimated it as a club, and we weren’t ambitious enough with our investment.

“I want to go somewhere with real potential; a project I can get my teeth stuck into.”