Doncaster Rovers: What next for the Rovers? Exclusive Q&A with Gavin Baldwin

Gavin Baldwin
Gavin Baldwin

Last month’s statement - insisting the club will remain in the hands of the current owners - raised more questions about what next for Doncaster Rovers?

This week we put those questions to chief executive Gavin Baldwin. Here’s what he had to say:

DFP: Is the heads of terms agreement with Sequentia Capital signed in June legally binding?

GB: Our clear understanding prior to signature was that the heads of terms were not legally binding and merely formed a framework for a more detailed discussion to facilitate the decision making progress.

We were explicit in our instruction that the heads of terms were not legally binding.

DFP: Why is the deal with Sequentia Capital not ‘in the club’s best interests’?

GB: As per our statement last week, we have rejected all investment proposals in their current formats.

However, the owners are firm in their belief that as the custodians of the football club they will consider any investment proposal seriously.

Their decision making process is based on what they feel is best for the club, its fans and Doncaster in the long term.

It was felt that there wasn’t enough information to make a judgement on this basis with the proposal that was put forward.

DFP: Without new investment, how do Doncaster Rovers move forward as a club?

GB: We are working hard to improve all aspects of the club.

Our focus is on identifying new revenue streams, constantly improving performance and looking at innovative ways of doing things.

This can be evidenced by the almost £1 million turnaround of the stadium as a business unit this year.

DFP: Last week’s statement indicated that the co-owners still have more to achieve. How do you define success for Rovers and what are the current co-owners’ ambitions?

GB: The long term ambitions of the owners are to continuously improve both on and off the field.

We have appointed a young ambitious manager in Paul Dickov who has a wealth of contacts throughout football and is already showcasing his skills, evidenced by the performances of the team to date.

The owners have supported Paul throughout the transfer window by assisting in the recruitment of players such as Ross Turnbull, Bongani Khumalo and most recently Federico Macheda, all of which have experience of playing at the highest level.

Off the field the owners have a commitment to Doncaster with the aim of creating real economic growth and using the club’s position to drive social change. The owners seek to build a sustainable football club with an ever improving football budget.

Since taking on the management of the Keepmoat Stadium we have turned a facility that made significant losses into a profit making facility and any surplus funds will go straight into the first team budget.

We have also identified other significant income streams that would boost the playing budget on a year by year basis and hope to be able to go public with these very soon.

We are also constantly looking at identifying new revenue streams and exploring ways to be creative in our cost saving.

For example, we are the first football club to install solar panels on our roof, which will contribute to the club’s bottom line for many years and significantly reduce our energy bills, which were close to £100,000 last year.

From a community perspective, our Foundation scheme is one of the best in the country. We made a commitment to ensure that the Keepmoat Stadium would become a community facility and have achieved this promise.

Our philosophy is simple, every positive interaction with a Doncaster resident is an opportunity to create a Doncaster Rovers fan.

DFP: Sequentia stated recently that the current playing budget was sufficient only for a lower half Championship finish or relegation battle. What is your response to that?

GB: In Paul Dickov the owners have appointed someone who understands a budget and how to use it effectively for the greater good of the team.

Our performances this season have been outstanding. We were close to beating Wigan, a team on parachute payments. We were denied against promotion contenders Nottingham Forest due to two amazing goals they scored and haven’t been outplayed against any of the front runners so far this season, including Blackpool, Watford, Blackburn and most recently Leicester City.

We have a good squad and arguably one of the best we have seen at the Keepmoat.

So far this season the club have played five of the top six. Had the result stayed the same against Charlton Athletic we would be level on points with Blackburn in ninth, just five points off the top six. We are the highest placed team in South Yorkshire.

DFP: Shareholders Trevor Milton and Michael Garrity have revealed their intention to sell their shares to Sequentia Capital. Is there anything in the club constitution which would give current shareholders first refusal on these shares?

GB: No there is nothing in place to give current shareholders first refusal but any sale or investment would effectively be the decision of the major shareholders.

Our major shareholders will determine the future of the club. They all share one long term goal - a passion for improving Doncaster Rovers and the social and economic improvement in Doncaster.