Fan Zone: Tom Biltcliffe - on following Rovers Down Under

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Supporting Rovers is not an easy task, as most people will know.

Supporting them Down Under, with a reliance on technology, is even harder.

The differing emotions encountered during your average Rovers season (if there is such a thing) is exacerbated by the relaying of events via messageboards, radio shows, social media and so on.

Never more so was this in evidence than on that afternoon in west London; a reference point for decades to come, an encapsulation of what it is like to be a ‘Rover’.

As soon as Brentford’s penalty was awarded, the experience of supporting the club told me to look immediately at flights home for a potential Wembley play-off final.

However we know it panned out very differently.

How, after so much devotion, could I have possibly missed one of the biggest moments in our history?

I still have to rely on internet clips to prove it happened, as the stunned spectators I’ve spoken to who were at Griffin Park usually struggle to explain the unforgettable.

And there was more to come.

When asked by Australians – who on the whole have a fairly limited knowledge of soccer – who I support and I respond with Doncaster Rovers, even they seem impressed.

I have my commemorative green shirt from the day, of course I do, but it feels a tad hollow I have to admit.

I wasn’t there, I wasn’t one of the lucky few.

But thanks to the likes of Brian Flynn and James Coppinger (and, dare I say, Marcello Trotta), I’ve been bought a few drinks as a result.

What a tremendous achievement it is to play five seasons out of a possible six in the second tier of English football, perhaps the toughest league in terms of competitiveness in Europe.

It will be tough. Anyone who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves.

While it was a shame to lose fans’ favourite and a stalwart of the last campaign in Tommy Spurr, the re-signing of Richie Wellens looks a masterstroke.

Going ‘cold turkey’ on my first love hasn’t been easy.

But Rovers will be there when I get back. I’m counting down the days already!