James Coppinger determined to repair 'disconnect' between Doncaster Rovers and their fans

James Coppinger has admitted there is a disconnect between Doncaster Rovers and their fans.

By Paul Goodwin
Monday, 23rd May 2022, 8:22 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 10:09 am

But the Rovers legend – now the club’s head of football operations – has made it a priority to get disillusioned supporters back onside.

And he says he will do everything in his power to get relegated Rovers moving in the right direction again.

Coppinger is a month into his new role of overseeing the club’s entire football operation.

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Doncaster Rovers fans have seen their side win just 17 of their last 77 games in all competitions.

It has been a baptism of fire for the 41-year old having been handed such an all-encompassing job on the back of one of the worst seasons on record for Rovers – and without any previous experience as a sporting director.

Coppinger says he is acutely aware of the angst among supporters and is determined to build a team that will reconnect with fans.

"I understand people’s frustrations because I’m in the same boat,” Coppinger told Rovers’ YouTube channel. “I’m a fan, I’ve been with the club for 18 years.

“There’s definitely been a disconnect between the players and the supporters and the staff. Covid’s played a huge part in that. But I want to get that back.

“This club means so much to people.

“I was invited to a funeral recently and to stand outside the Eco-Power Stadium and pay my respects to someone genuinely showed how much this club means to people.

“I’ve experienced it with my grandad and Middlesbrough. He was a supporter for 60 years.

“Having that connection with the players and the fans, especially at a football club like this, is one of the most important things.

“That is one my main objectives and responsibilities and I’m really looking forward to getting that back.”

Coppinger’s success in the role, at least in the short term, may well hinge on the authority and funding granted by his superiors.

"It’s a new role and a new position,” said Coppinger. “I’m not coming into this naive to think that I’m going to be able to do this, this and this, and that I’m going to have the power to make all the decisions.

"But I genuinely feel working with people that I know that I’ll get the support and they’ll help me find a route for where this will go and for positive outcomes.

"I believe that my experience, my knowledge, my understanding of how things work will help the people above me to make the best decisions.”

He added: “I’m not naive enough to think that I’m going to walk into it and I’m going to get everything that I want.

"But at the same time there’s going to be logic to my decisions and my thought process.

"I’m going to try and present as much information as possible to back up what I think should be done. It’s then up to the people in charge to make the right decisions.”

Since Coppinger was appointed Rovers have parted company with head of talent identification Graham Younger.

A re-jig of the coaching team has also seen Steve Eyre appointed as assistant manager and Frank Sinclair return to the academy.

Rovers made their first signing of the summer last week with the capture of Sheffield-born midfielder Harrison Biggins.

*The Free Press requested an interview with James Coppinger following the conclusion of the season.