FAN PANEL: What went wrong this season and who should be the next manager?
A season that appeared to promise so much only to then fall apart at the seams really does take some explaining.
So we asked our fan panel to share their views on Doncaster Rovers’ dramatic slide down the League One table.
Prior to last night’s draw at Peterborough, we also asked them for their thoughts on Andy Butler’s tenure and who they thought should be the next manager and why.
Here is what they said…
We were all guilty of getting carried away after Andy Butler’s first two games in charge. Almost every kick of a ball since has been turgid.
Yes, the players have to take some responsibility, but I can not understand comments I have seen suggesting Butler is blameless.
To say he was not in any way qualified for such a step up, he walked into a perfect job.
He had control of a club that was in touching distance of the automatic places with games in hand. To now be sat in the bottom half of the table is nothing short of an embarrassment and clearly he has to take his portion of blame.
Whilst I would always purchase a season ticket, there are sections of the fan base which would not if he is given the job.
Given this coming season is paramount to try and recoup finances, I do not believe that the club owners are so naive to appoint Butler on that basis.
Who next? Daniel Stendel is the clear choice for me, if he wants it.
Michael Duff at Cheltenham would also be high up on my list but that would require a move from the current recruitment process.
To be asked where it has all gone wrong for Doncaster Rovers and given a word count to explain is about a thankless task as Andy Butler has at this very moment.
The team has found itself on an ice mountain and the only signs of it stopping is when the referee calls time on the final day of the season.
So who’s to blame?
If results don’t go well the manager cops the flak, I get that, but it is hard - if you don’t scroll down social media threads - not to feel for Butler.
Being called out for a lack of quality is one thing but for his side to be questioned on desire, off the ball basics and a level of organisation will hurt someone who is top of the class in all of those fields.
His reintroduction to the side at least brought a clean sheet at Shrewsbury and then two narrow defeats to Accrington Stanley and Fleetwood after the home horror shows of Wigan and Burton.
Possession is nine tenths of the law but, ironically, trying to help by naming himself on the teamsheet has further demonstrated why a new manager will come in – this inexperienced side needs Butler on the pitch and to combine both roles is surely asking too much.
While talk has understandably focused on a promotion bid going awry there are now longer-term implications in play given the play-off ship has sailed.
The slide is eerily reminiscent of the season where Rovers went 17 games without a win and the saving grace on this occasion is that the team is not on 40 points with 10 games to go.
With that in mind the club is at the crossroads that reminds me of the Bristol Rovers situation – does it appoint someone to try to change the whole landscape or instead opt for a pragmatist who can hear the alarm bells ringing?
When Joey Barton took over at the Memorial Stadium he stated his desire to get the Gas out of the division. When you’re on the slippery slope that can come true for all the wrong reasons.
The former approach would suggest a Richie Wellens type appointment, but if someone like Phil Parkinson is interested, a safe pair of hands may not be the worst shout.
It would take a team of huge characters to recover from losing both their manager and captain at a vital part of the season.
But let’s be honest, we’ve been pathetic over recent months.
We’ve looked hopeless at the back with the number of goals we’ve conceded.
Any team that has shown a little bit of fight against us has managed to walk all over us.
Our attacking spark has also completely faded and we look like we’re playing in slow motion at times.
As much as I’m disappointed that the promotion push has fizzled out, it’s clear that we’re not yet ready for the step-up. We need to press the reset button once again at the end of the season, starting with a new manager.
The longer time goes on, the more we realise just how good Sean O’Driscoll was. He gave Doncaster Rovers an identity and built a team that encapsulated his vision of football.
More importantly, he wasn’t going to abandon what he’d built to go and manage a mid-table Championship club.
We need this kind of manager again. A manager that will truly commit and buy in to the future of this club.
I don’t care if we’re a mid-table League One team for the next couple of seasons as long as we are seeing some semblance of an identity and a path of progression.
Personally, I’d like to see Paul Tisdale as our new manager.
He’s had his ups and downs since leaving Exeter, but he’s proved that he can form a strong identity at a club that’s willing to get on board with him.
He is, however, in an advisory role at Colchester at the moment and he’s also never worked up north, so he might want to wait around for a management job down south.
Whatever the club decides, it’ll be yet another transitional period and the next appointment is crucial.
Us Donny fans are used to end of season slumps. The 2010/11 season, the relegation in 2016, missing out on the League Two title.
However, this one really hurts. For a season that had so much potential to finish like this is a bitter pill to swallow.
Maybe we all got carried away with the January signings and the two hard fought wins against Lincoln and Oxford as since then we've showed no fight whatsoever.
It's hard to put a finger on what has actually happened since February.
Loan signings not up for the fight any more? Out of contract players not wanting to put 100 per cent in as they have moves lined up in the summer?
One thing is for sure, barring one or two members of the squad, they have let Andy Butler down and most of all the fans.
Whatever happens over the next few weeks it’s almost certain the new manager coming in will have to build a new squad almost from scratch, which maybe won't be a bad thing.
The next big question though is who will have that job?
I would like to see us go for Daniel Stendel but I believe if he was to get the job he would need the backing of the board to attract the type of players he brought in at Barnsley.
Neil Harris is another name that interests me – someone that has the experience of getting a team out of League One and getting Cardiff into the Championship play offs.
However, with how we have approached the recent transfer windows, I could see the board going down the route of hiring a former under 23s manager like George Boateng or Nicky Butt.
Both will be wanting to try their hand at a senior level and unfortunately will see the job as a stepping stone for their careers as we have found out with our previous two managers.