James Coppinger responds to fans' concerns after taking on key role at Doncaster Rovers

James Coppinger says it is understandable that some Doncaster Rovers fans wanted the new head of football operations to offer a ‘fresh pair of eyes’ on the club’s ailing fortunes.

By Paul Goodwin
Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 1:03 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 6:00 pm

But the 41-year-old is confident that his knowledge and understanding of the club will bear fruit.

Rovers legend Coppinger, who joined the club back in 2004, was appointed to the newly-created role on Friday.

Despite Coppinger’s unwavering popularity among supporters, the appointment received a mixed reaction on social media.

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The James Coppinger banner at the Eco-Power Stadium. Photo: George Wood/Getty Images

Several fans had hoped for an external appointment following Rovers’ rapid slide down the League One standings over the last year, culminating in relegation to the fourth tier.

Coppinger addressed the matter in an in-house interview with Rovers’ media team.

“That’s understandable,” he said. “Everybody is entitled to their opinion.

“I believe I know how the club works. I know how important this football club is to the community.

“Ultimately it’s about putting out a football team that represents the town.

“I’ve been part of that.

“Having somebody come in with a fresh pair of eyes can be a positive but it can also be a negative.

“There’s two ways of looking at it. I don’t think there’s any sort of right or wrong but from my perspective I genuinely feel like I know what needs to happen to make this a success.”

Coppinger’s storied career at Rovers went from the golden years under Sean O’Driscoll to the infamous ‘Experiment’ under Dean Saunders which briefly saw him loaned out to Nottingham Forest.

At Doncaster he also played under Dave Penney, Brian Flynn, Paul Dickov, Darren Ferguson, Grant McCann, Darren Moore and Andy Butler before moving into a backroom role under Richie Wellens and then Gary McSheffrey.

"I’ve been in football for 24 years and there’s more than just what you see on a Saturday,” he said.

"It’s ultimately about putting all the right things in the right places to make sure that you perform.

"I’ve been part of arguably the best culture and best identity that this club has ever had.

"And also I’ve been part of some bad ones as well.

"So I believe that I was able to identify and understand why they were successful and why they weren’t successful.

"It wasn’t just about getting the best players in. There’s so much more to it than that.

"It’s about making sure every department is aligned, that the same values are there and making sure everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet. That’s a big thing for me.”