Doncaster Rovers: The day Doncaster felt FA Cup ‘euphoria’
Ahead of today’s fourth round tie against Oldham Athletic, we have turned the clock back to arguably Doncaster Rovers’ finest FA Cup moment.
It was January, 1985, when Rovers, mid-table in Division Three and managed by Billy Bremner, dumped top flight Queens Park Rangers out in the third round on a famous afternoon at Belle Vue.
In the team that day was 22-year-old winger John Buckley, who can still picture David Harle’s 80th minute winner against a side that finished fifth in Division One the season before.
“It sounds a bit daft but we all believed we were going to win,” reminisced Buckley this week.
“We had a good team and Billy would drive that into us - that despite the fact they were a Division One team we could be just as good, if not better.
“That was the thing about Billy, he was brilliant at making you think you were better than what you were.
“He told us all before the game we were all capable of playing at the top level and we just needed to get our act together and be more consistent.
“Well, it worked a treat because we were the better side on the day.
“It wasn't one of those games where QPR came and battered us and we won 1-0. We played well. We gave them a lot of problems.
“I can remember Harle's goal as if it was yesterday.
“The euphoria after the game was just phenomenal. We couldn't get off the pitch!
“And the support in the town that night was brilliant too.
“We were all out celebrating. I don't think we'd have been allowed not to.
“That was another thing Billy drummed into us, a one for all and all for one approach.
“The celebrations continued when the fourth round draw was made and we landed Everton away.
“They were a top side, with the likes of Andy Gray, Peter Reid and Neville Southall.
“We went to Goodison Park and, although we lost 2-0, gave a good account of ourselves.
“The magic of the cup was certainly evident that day at Belle Vue, though.
“As a 22-year-old lad it was a great feeling to beat a top side. Those celebrations in the bath and the euphoria of the fans, it was something else.
“You don't see as many big shocks now.
“The gap's grown bigger between the teams at the top of the Premier League and the rest.
“It’d be fantastic if Rovers could get through this tie on Saturday and land one of the big boys in the next round and pack out the Keepmoat Stadium.
“They’ve done well this season and I’ve enjoyed watching them.
“It’d be a nice little reward to get maybe a Manchester United or a Tottenham Hotspur down here.
“And who knows? Grant McCann is a very positive guy. Maybe he could inspire his team like Billy did with us.”