COMMENT: Is this really Ryan’s Rovers ending?

John Ryan
John Ryan

Perhaps down to the manner of his departure, it does not really feel like the end of the road for John Ryan with Doncaster Rovers.

Surely, the man at the helm during the club’s remarkable resurrection would bow out with more positive fanfare, website and programme articles eulogising his 15 year spell.

Instead, there are increasingly bitter verbal back and forths, rushed and confused statements about Ryan’s future and the general sense we have entered the unknown.

Given his contribution to the club, Ryan deserved to go out in the same manner as Sir Alex Ferguson, a man for whom he holds a great deal of admiration.

But looking beyond what would be the correct way to honour Ryan, it still does not seem as though that is it for his time at the club.

For all the turbulence generated at Oakwell and in the days which followed, there has never been the feeling that we have witnessed the explosive end to a storied era.

If anything, one could be forgiven for thinking we have instead reached the beginning of the end of something else entirely.

Few would expect this is the last Rovers have seen of Ryan, not merely on the level of a supporter.

Sequentia Capital and their hopes of taking control of the club continue to loom in the background, despite the loss of their biggest supporter within the Rovers ranks of power.

Though outside the boardroom door, Ryan remains firmly within the sphere of influence at the club.

He knows that. Sequentia know that.

Which makes Ryan’s departure feel much more like a power play, an act of calling the bluff of his boardroom rivals.

His action meant the spotlight which he has been happy to stand in for the last 15 years now points squarely at Terry Bramall.

Doing so raised severe doubts over the long term assumption that Bramall’s hesitancy over the Sequentia deal boiled down to concerns over safeguarding the future of the club.

Bramall has since admitted his main issue centred on the timing of payments for his stake in the club. You don’t make hundreds of millions of pounds by not showing care with monies owed.

Ryan and his friends in Sequentia will now be looking on with keen interest to see to what extent Bramall flinches now he has been thrown out of his comfort zone when it comes to running a football club.

And in a way, the construction magnate already has with his declaration that he is ready to do a deal over the sale of the club. Would this have happened had Ryan not forced the issue in such dramatic fashion?

This is not to say Ryan’s motivations were entirely related to helping to ease Sequentia through the door at the Keepmoat.

As he sat in the sardine tin of a press room at Oakwell, Ryan displayed genuine world-weariness, frustration, even anger as he laid bare the last few months at the club.

It is clear that Ryan is done with Rovers, but only one aspect of it.

He is done with wrestling for power and influence in a two-on-one handicap match in the boardroom, battling for supremacy with two closely aligned men who do not share his ‘dare to dream’ attitude.

But he is not done with Rovers as a club, and has already hinted at a potential return. Remove the boardroom battle, bid goodbye to the man who has frustrated him so much in recent months and a Rovers return looks so much more appetising to Ryan.

The excitement of the dream would be back, and so would be the John Ryan we are all so familiar with.

* This article originally appeared in the Green Un which is available to read, along with our other digital publications, on the following link: Digital Editions