An emotional James Coppinger has officially launched his testimonial year at Doncaster Rovers.
The 34-year-old - who stands second in the list of Rovers’ all-time appearance makers - struggled to hold back the tears as he reminisced about the last decade with the media at a launch event yesterday.
Speaking to the Star, Coppinger said his happiness at Doncaster had acted as his motivation over the years and that he had never felt the need to move on.
He said the club’s ambition had been a key reason why he remained at Rovers.
Coppinger has made 440 appearances for Doncaster since joining on a free transfer from Exeter City in 2004. Only Colin Douglas (468) has made more appearances.
Flanked by his agent Sean McDaid and mentor Terry Gormley, the Guisborough-born winger yesterday unveiled plans for his testimonial year - which include a Rovers Legends game and pre-season friendly with Middlesbrough.
Coppinger, reflecting on his Rovers years, told the Star: “It’s been a very successful time; a time I’ve enjoyed immensely.
“It’s something I never thought would happen - to be at a club for ten, eleven years was a thought that never really entered my head when I signed for Doncaster.
“But looking back it’s been an amazing experience.
“The ambition of the club always matched my ambition - that’s why I stayed.
“So as I was progressing, the club was progressing. We got promoted to the Championship probably when I was playing my best football.
“It felt like what motivated me was being happy. I was settled with my family and I was always rewarded with new contracts when I was doing well, so there was no reason for me to leave.
“Everything about the club is special to me,” he added. “The general atmosphere when I first signed was that the people here love their football and love their club.
“The club was on the up, they’d just got promoted and there was a feel-good factor about the place. That progressed every season and the club progressed with it.
“I’ve always felt at home here. I know it’s a cliché but I’ve always just felt there’s no reason for me to go anywhere else.”
One Direction star Louis Tomlinson has agreed to play in a Rovers Legends game on April 19 to kick off Coppinger’s celebrations.
Doncaster are pencilled in to play Boro in Coppinger’s testimonial game in July, but that fixture is dependent on both sides being in different leagues next season.
Plans for a golf day in May and Sportsman’s Dinner in August were also unveiled.
For more information visit www.jamescoppinger.co.uk