Paul Dickov has fronted up to fans’ criticism at his final pre-match press conference of the season.
With Rob Staton from Radio Sheffield, Paul Goodwin from the Doncaster Free Press, Leon Wobschall from the Yorkshire Post and Trax FM in attendance, Dickov stated he retains the full support of the board and expects to remain as manager of Doncaster Rovers.
He also spoke excitedly about the club’s plans for the summer and the opportunity of an uninterrupted pre-season for the first time as Rovers boss.
Here’s what was said:
RS: It feels like we’ve gone over the issues of last summer so many times but given that that is there, do you think that some of the criticism that have you personally received is a bit unfair?
PD: No. I can take criticism on the chin. I know the fans aren’t happy when we’re not winning games. I’m not happy as well. I’m there to be shot at, I’m the manager. But what I will say is that we’re working ever so hard to put it right.
If we win on Sunday we finish top half, which was an aim at the start of the season. That’s not to say that the recent months have been good enough because they’ve not.
The plan this year was to finish in the top half of the table and push on next year.
RS: Because that is a realistic aim isn’t it? And while you would’ve wanted to do more than just finish in mid-table, was perhaps top six a bit unrealistic if you were being honest?
PD: I think at the start of the season. I think we raised expectations a few months ago by going on a decent run and getting into sixth place and in around it for a little while. I’m not going to sit here and say I’m happy with just a mid-table finish or a top half finish because I’m not, because I’m ambitious and the club’s ambitious and we want to move forward but we did say at the start of the season it wouldn’t happen overnight.
We’ve got a plan in place that wasn’t just for ten months, it was for two, three, five years. We’re working to that plan and there has been some success, with the youth system and the development squad. But going into next season there’s no excuses and I’m looking forward to it.
RS: What would you say to some of those fans that have perhaps called us up or voiced their opinions and said ‘I’m not satisfied with the performances this year, maybe there has to be a change of manager’?
PD: I don’t think there will be a change of manager. In fact I’m pretty sure there won’t. The board, as I say, have been really receptive about what I want to do next year. They’re fully behind me and I don’t think I should have to justify that because I think people within the club know that. From my point of view it’ll be great for me because there’ll be no excuses for anybody next year, and I include myself in that. I’ve got broad shoulders if criticism comes. I’ve played for 25 years and I’m a strong character. If anything it gives me a massive desire to prove people wrong.