As a Doncaster Rovers supporter, when discussing my club, I have to include the caveat that I realise it was saved by John Ryan.
And now that’s out of the way, I can express my frustration at not one but two summers dominated by public relations and politicking, with so many of us fans blinded by our feelings of indebtedness to the entrepreneur to realise that Terry Bramall and Dick Watson were being cautious out of nothing but the same guardianship that we all felt after the days of Ken Richardson - the same rationale for forming the Viking Supporters Co-operative that Ryan criticised for daring to ask questions of the likes of the anonymous and ominous Sequentia Capital.
This summer, Ryan seems to have attempted to harness the celebrity following of One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson to utilise an all-or-nothing crowdfunding campaign that he claims was not key to his takeover attempt. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, the Football League still claimed the rejection, rather than being based on vendetta or conspiracy as Ryan suggests, was simply part of their focus on financial responsibility, added that no appeal was necessary, and he simply needed to demonstrate he possessed the resources to complete the takeover, post-crowdfunding. He didn’t. He’s done, he claims.
But again, if it isn’t broke, why try to fix it?
And Doncaster Rovers are far from broke – the powers that be have so far managed to steer the ship of the Vikings (or Pirates, if you’re a very old fan) through league football’s financial waters, implement a Club Doncaster programme, and introduce a long-term plan for homegrown talent and sustainability.
Paul Dickov must have the patience of a saint. But given the cards he’s been dealt, he’s done a fine job, and his remaining at the club reflects that plan for sustainability.
In a sport increasingly dominated by money and quick-fix solutions, I think we have a club we can be proud of.