No substance in reports linking Doncaster Rovers with investment from Sports Direct businessman

Reports that the Doncaster Rovers board are in talks with businessman Michael Murray over investing in the club are wide of the mark, the Free Press understands.

Sunday, 24th October 2021, 12:14 pm
Doncaster businessman Michael Murray. (Photo: Frasers Group).

A national newspaper reported on Sunday that Doncaster-born Murray - who will become the chief executive of Sports Direct next year - is being ‘strongly considered’ for a role within the club.

But we understand no conversations at all regarding potential involvement for Murray have taken place among the Rovers hierarchy.

Nor is there a feeling among the ownership that additional investment is required at this time.

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It is highly unlikely that the current Rovers owners Terry Bramall and David Blunt would be open to adding additional major shareholders due to their strong belief in how they have structured the club and its business operations, with the focus being on running a self-sufficient, break-even organisation. Outside investment would likely break that dynamic.

But there is a willingness to listen to offers to buy the club outright - though only from parties they believe have Rovers’ long term future in their best interests.

Speaking to the Free Press last month, Rovers CEO Gavin Baldwin addressed the potential for outside investment.

He said: “I think Terry and David would rather us improve commercially than bring someone else in because they’ve worked together all their lives, they know how each other work.

“I’m not sure bringing someone in from the outside would sit comfortably.

“As for the club changing hands, Terry has always said that if someone better comes along, with a better vision and can fund that vision, the door is open.”

On the chance of a sale of the club, Baldwin said: “Despite what people may think, there is not a queue of people seriously looking to buy football clubs.”

Murray - who is said to be a Rovers fan - is the son of property and business magnate Mick Murray, who set up Lazarus Properties with Lloyd Nicholson in 1997.

The 31-year-old is engaged to the daughter of Mike Ashley, the head of the Sports Direct empire, who will hand over the reins to Murray next May which could see him land a £100million bonus.

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In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.