Gary McSheffrey on 'towelgate' during Doncaster Rovers' clash with Wigan Athletic

Gary McSheffrey insists Doncaster Rovers never agreed to Wigan Athletic being able to use towels before long throws during the clash at the Keepmoat, which he labelled ‘borderline cheating.’

Saturday, 15th January 2022, 8:31 pm
Wigan's Max Power. Picture: Howard Roe/AHPIX LTD
Wigan's Max Power. Picture: Howard Roe/AHPIX LTD

There were bizarre scenes in the second half of the game as towels took centre stage in ill-tempered exchanges.

Rovers staff felt the presence of towels around the pitch were giving Wigan’s Max Power license to use up time drying the ball before his long throws as the visitors sought to protect their lead.

McSheffrey sent a member of the youth team to retrieve one of the towels from pitchside but received a stern telling off from referee Alan Young before Wigan coach James Beattie returned it to its place.

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Gary McSheffrey

Moments later a Rovers fan ran out of the stand and snatched the towel before escaping back onto the terrace. Young halted the game and called the head of stadium security in a bid to prevent it from happening again.

Much of McSheffrey’s annoyance over the issue came from being told Rovers had agreed to the use of towels during the game - which he insists was not the case.

“Apparently it was agreed in the referee’s room when we exchanged teamsheets before the game that both teams can use towels, which Wigan brought themselves,” he said.

“Wigan brought half a dozen towels and they plopped them around the ground.

“Frank Sinclair did the teamsheet exchange and not once was it mentioned that both teams can use towels for long throw-ins but both teams can use them.

“I don’t want to use towels. Why would I want to use them?

“A throw in is a throw in.

“I wasn’t aware of it until the referee ran over and said we had agreed to it. No we haven’t.

“I don’t want to use it because we don’t have anyone with a long throw so why would I want a towel?

“Wigan have come into our dressing room because they haven’t got enough towels to shower now. They spotted about six towels around the stadium. We’ve just lent them a few towels to get a shower. That’s a joke by the way.

“As an away team, to bring your own towels and spot them around the stadium, and the opposite manager not have a clue about it, I just think it’s borderline cheating.

“They’re a good team and they don’t need to do it.

“They obviously use every ounce of game management and every bit of edge they can to try to get promoted. And they’re up there for a reason.”


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