How League One's financial landscape has changed and where Doncaster Rovers rank in budget 'league table'

Gavin Baldwin believes turmoil at clubs such as Bury and Bolton Wanderers have forced some League One clubs to take stock of their spending.

Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 10:08 am
Doncaster Rovers

Baldwin - who revealed Doncaster Rovers continue to pitch their playing budget around the sixth to eighth best in the division - says there has been a noticeable split, with numerous clubs beginning to operate in a more sensible fashion financially.

“The division in my opinion is becoming two leagues,” the chief executive told the Free Press.

“There are teams at the bottom with significantly lower budgets now.

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“Now teams such as Wigan and Blackburn are out of the league with their significant budgets, the top budgets are not quite as high as they were before.

“There's more of a cluster around our budget and where we are and the top two are not quite as far away as they used to be.

“The year of Wigan and Blackburn, they were high, really high and their losses reflected that but they got promoted and that was their business model.

“Now, it's almost squeezing together with the big boys going but the Boltons and Burys have meant others have taken stock and are looking to manage their risk a bit closer. It's made people think.

“Teams may not be taking that gamble. I talked to my peers and they used to have a break even budget but they'd gamble on the cups, attendances and I'm not sure they'd gamble on that now.”

Rovers have approached playing budgets with a philosophy they picked up from Burnley’s previous period in the Championship.

It means they do not break the bank but produce a budget that should deliver a realistic push for a play-off place.

“We still aim for top six and a playing budget to give our manager and squad the best chance of getting in the play-offs,” Baldwin said.

“It was exciting last season and we were unlucky at Charlton. It could have been so different.

“You watch Chalrton right now and how they’re doing and it just hurts a little more.

“For us it remains at one to give us the best chance of a top six finish. It's not top two but a we-stand-a-very-good-chance-of-top-six budget and that is what the owners ask for.”

Asked how the division is split on budget terms, Baldwin says Rovers are towards the top end of the second section.

He said: “There's probably three teams that are higher and there's a clear demarkation.

“Then there's probably eight or nine teams around ours with us being towards the top end of those eight or nine.

“And then there's the rest which will spread from the lower end of our cluster to considerably lower.”