Paul Goodwin: Fans need clarity from Doncaster Rovers’ hierarchy following Darren Ferguson’s resignation

Darren Ferguson and chairman David Blunt
Darren Ferguson and chairman David Blunt

It’s there in black and white in the job advert...

“The club’s objectives for the 2018-19 season are to challenge for the play-offs, the successful candidate will be expected to demonstrate how they would achieve this aim.”

The aim is clear. The gauntlet has been laid down to the next manager of Doncaster Rovers.

But it’s one thing saying it, another thing entirely achieving it.

And following the unexpected resignation of Darren Ferguson - and the alleged reason why he walked away - Rovers fans deserve some clarity on exactly how the club intends to mount a top six challenge and where they currently see themselves in a broader sense.

By unexpectedly quitting Ferguson inferred, at least to a certain degree, that he felt he was being asked to turn water into wine.

He might have decided to get out while the going was still good to protect his own reputation.

But his actions clearly suggest he felt he had taken the club as far as he could with the resources available to him.

This is a man who, before his mood turned towards the end of last season, had shown no indication at all that he was unhappy in his job.

He enjoyed working with a group of players he had largely assembled and he could see the club making progress on and off the pitch.

Ferguson’s actions implied that not everything is hunky-dory.

And therefore Rovers fans need reassuring about the club’s short and long term objectives and the strategy in place to achieve them.

Is the five-year plan to be a sustainable Championship club by 2022 still active?

Ferguson felt he had “no alternative” to resign. So does the playing budget marry with the overall aim? And will the new manager be given a budget in line with those objectives?

Do the board feel the current squad is experienced enough to challenge for the play-offs? And is there enough depth to the squad?

Indeed, is it realistic to challenge for promotion when you don’t have two senior players for each position?

Because for all of the potential at Rovers, they currently have five senior midfielders on their books, not one natural right back and just one proven League One striker.

The last time Rovers won promotion from this division, in 2013, their budget was notably bigger and the squad contained considerably more players who had been there and got the T-shirt. Times have changed.

Of course, supporters should realise by now that the club’s owners are not prepared to simply buy their way out of League One.

Terry Bramall, Andy Watson and David Blunt also prefer to keep low profiles.

So does chief executive Gavin Baldwin, despite his excellence in handling supporters’ queries.

That is their prerogative. That’s their style of doing things.

But the communication vacuum that exists between the club’s hierarchy and supporters only serves to create an unhealthy amount of innuendo, suspicion and speculation.

No one really knows the answers to the aforementioned questions because no one knows what the top table is thinking. It’s a total contrast to the reign of an outspoken John Ryan.

The club’s actions over the next month or so, in terms of who comes in, should speak volumes about their intentions.

But being more open about the direction the club is going in, and also the timescales involved, would potentially align people’s expectations and get everyone singing from the same hymn sheet.

In light of recent events, the fans need more information in black and white.

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There was a theory going round on the internet that Darren Ferguson had been backed into a corner by the board.

That they apparently refused to loosen the pursestrings and, in effect, ultimately forced the Scot out.

But I’m just not buying it.

Let us not forget that this is the same board of directors that appointed Ferguson and stood by him following one of the worst win-less runs and most disappointing relegations in the club’s history.

There was nothing at all to suggest that Ferguson had lost the confidence of his employers.

Just days before he departed they were sanctioning contracts for James Coppinger and Tom Anderson.

Yes, there might have been some disappointment in the corridors of power at last season’s 15th place finish.

Not finishing in the top half was probably considered below par.

But the board were quite content with the building blocks Ferguson was putting in place and they were not expecting to be in this position this summer.