The Verdict: Rovers Dons deal is a whole new ball game

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Last week we revealed that Doncaster Rovers are about to take over the running of the town’s rugby league team.

We understand a deal between Rovers and Dons could be announced imminently. If you pardon the pun, the knock-on effects for sport in Doncaster could be huge.

If Rovers want to expand their business and brand beyond football, the borough’s other sports teams - all equally keen for a share of the spotlight and/or any spare resources - are likely to form an orderly queue at the Keepmoat Stadium to be part of a Rovers revolution.

In essence it’s an innovative, exciting idea. In a town where apathy rules, it might just help create the kind of sporting identity and togetherness that Doncaster so desperately needs.

In reality, a lot of it is to do with scaling back behind the scenes, sharing resources and saving money. It’s the way of the world. Rovers’ major shareholders have made it clear to chief executive Gavin Baldwin that they expect the stadium to continue to run at a profit.

In practice, Rovers could face some awkward questions from their most ardent supporters. They might just question why a football club, and one ran on a very tight budget as it is for the level at which it now finds itself, wants to burden itself with another wage bill and the costs associated with Championship rugby league?

If fans see extra money being spent on Dons’ playing squad and not Rovers’, it could cause no end of problems. It did at Newcastle when Sir John Hall dreamt up the Toon Army’s version of the Sporting Club. It needs to be managed very carefully and transparently.

In fairness, however, Rovers’ hierarchy could not have chosen a better local club to sidle up to.

After all, the Dons have just achieved exactly what Rovers hope to do - stabilise in the Championship.

They did it with relative ease too, basing their success on genuine hard work, organisation and team spirit.

I just hope this exercise is not simply about cost-cutting. It could be the start of a mutually-beneficial relationship that will help Rovers get where they want to be, whether that’s Championship safety, the Premier League, or indeed the Super League - we’ll find out pretty shortly I’m sure.