Doncaster Rovers: Dick Watson demands more pride in the shirt

Rovers president and co-owner Dick Watson
Rovers president and co-owner Dick Watson

As Rovers reflected this summer on relegation from League One, thoughts turned to what they were lacking last season.

Club president Dick Watson has his own ideas on what was missing in the squad – attributes he thinks have been absent since Rovers won League One back in 2013.

And he says that influenced the club’s shopping list as they looked to build a side capable of returning them to the third tier at the first attempt.

“The one thing that I felt has been missing over the last three seasons is real grit, real team spirit and a real pride in wearing the shirt,” Watson said. “That is what we’re all working towards.

“We’ve recruited players and the character has been as important as anything. We take the ability and fitness maybe a bit for granted.

“But what we’ve looked for above all else is plenty of good character in the new players.

“That is what I’m looking for this season. Plenty of grit and pride in wearing the shirt.”

It was not just the calibre of the playing squad that received plenty of scrutiny in the aftermath of relegation.

Chairman David Blunt revealed the board turned the spotlight on themselves in a bid to avoid the mistakes of last season.

Blunt says the clubs let the fans down as they capitulated from a potential play-off push to relegation fodder.

And he agreed with Watson that an injection of grit was needed throughout the club.

He said: “I think there is no doubt from our perspective last year that we were incredibly embarrassed by relegation last season.

“We actually as a board looked at ourselves to see whether we could do better.

“We’ve engaged with Gavin Baldwin and Darren Ferguson to see if we could do things differently.

“We were in a position where we thought we could get into the play-offs to having a disastrous run.

“We tried to learn the lessons of the issues of last year and one of those changes was the acquisition of players at a very early stage which Darren wanted to embark upon.

“I think there were lessons to be learned and the reality is the buck stops here. There’s no question of that.

“We let the fans down and we don’t want to do it again. Pressure shouldn’t be put on Darren or the players, it’s a team effort.

“We all have to dig in, grit our teeth and perform to the best of our abilities

“We believe with the manager and the players we have we are more than capable of getting promoted.”