Opinion: Why Darren Ferguson deserves respect on his Doncaster Rovers return

Darren Ferguson will be braced for a bit of banter from Doncaster Rovers supporters - and banter is perfectly fine.

By Paul Goodwin
Friday, 8th February 2019, 8:48 pm
Updated Friday, 8th February 2019, 8:52 pm
Darren Ferguson
Darren Ferguson

But the Scot also deserves respect on his unexpectedly quick return to the Keepmoat Stadium

Rovers will certainly not be rolling out the red carpet for a man who caught them totally off guard by resigning last summer.

Admittedly, the way he left wasn’t great and there’s bound to be the odd sarcastic remark from his old friends in the West Stand.

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But Doncaster fans should be careful not to over-step the mark - because Ferguson laid the foundations for Rovers’ renaissance under Grant McCann.

And it wasn’t just his recruitment which turned the tide either.

When he was unveiled as Peterborough United’s manager for a third time, Ferguson insisted he left Rovers because he wanted a break.

But that was at odds with his initial statement which said he had been looking forward to the new season and had ‘no alternative’ to quit.

The split wasn’t particularly amicable apparently.

When Rovers released a video to celebrate James Coppinger’s 600th appearance earlier this season, featuring ex-managers and players, Ferguson was a notable absentee. He had not been asked to contribute.

Such a stance would be very harsh if he had left purely for family reasons.

Ferguson may have rewritten history somewhat, while some Rovers fans have displayed very selective memories about their former manager.

It’s very easy to forget what Ferguson walked into back in 2015: an ageing, underperforming squad which seemed to lack motivation and accountability, a situation not helped by his predecessor’s shortage of man management skills.

Rovers were a club on a downward spiral.

Granted, he made mistakes and failed to prevent that woeful relegation.

But, with the board’s backing, he made amends immediately thanks to strong leadership and excellent recruitment – exactly what Rovers needed at that time.

He erased a growing sense of apathy and notably raised standards.

Yes, last season might have made for uninspiring viewing but consolidation was achieved.

And in lowering the age of the squad he also increased its value by signing Joe Wright, Ben Whiteman and John Marquis.

Rovers have since gone from strength to strength under McCann. 

But Ferguson’s work, in getting the club back on an upward trajectory, deserves respect.