Opinion: Why Gavin Baldwin's La Manga interview is the type of communication Doncaster Rovers have been crying out for

It wasn't quite panic stations but in some quarters it wasn't far off.

By Paul Goodwin
Monday, 08 July, 2019, 11:16
Gavin Baldwin

A team that came within a whisker of reaching Wembley had been broken up. And then to compound matters the manager who oversaw the exodus suddenly departed himself.

The fretting was understandable.

Step forward chief executive Gavin Baldwin, whose interview from last week's training camp in La Manga doused the flames of panic almost in an instant.

"Fantastic interview from Gavin, that," tweeted @DRFC_ITEN. "We as fans can't ask for any more in terms of clarity and forthright information from the club."

"That interview's made me so much more relaxed, genuinely excited again," commented @RhysDRFC.

"Put my mind at ease," said @EdwardTroth.

Baldwin most notably talked about the 'streamlined' process in place to appoint a new manager, the 'high quality' of the candidates in line to replace Grant McCann and also confirmed that several prospective new signings are waiting in the wings.

He was in Spain to provide the first team squad with confidence and reassurance. His words had a very similar effect on supporters.

But, while the content of the interview was pleasing for fans to hear, the fact he was willing to address them directly was arguably even more satisfying.

This was just the sort of communication from the boardroom that Rovers and their fans have been crying out for!

The owners and chairman keep themselves to themselves and that is their prerogative. They are happy to speak to fans at the bi-annual Meet the Owners events but interviews are not their thing.

But, since John Ryan departed, the sound of silence from the top table has undoubtedly created something of an information vacuum - which has only heightened the amount of rumour-mongering and innuendo that has become so prevalent on internet messageboards and social media.

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There was no louder cheerleader than Ryan but in the end he was probably banging the drum so loudly that a lot of people had their fingers in their ears.

Communication then went from one extreme to another.

The subsequent silence certainly did not do Paul Dickov many favours. Shoved to the front of the shop, during a period blighted by takeover uncertainty, the Scot's lone voice would eventually grate on the most patient of supporters.

A similar thing could be said of Darren Ferguson, whose surprise exit last summer then went without proper explanation from the club. The rumours about the playing budget continue to rumble on.

This is in stark contrast to Club Doncaster brothers Doncaster RLFC, whose chief executive Carl Hall can be heard regularly on local radio and is not shy of fronting up when the going gets tough.

More football club owners are embracing social media too. Accrington's Andy Holt recently told the world his budget on Twitter, while Peterborough's Darragh MacAnthony interacts with fans on a daily basis.

No one is suggesting that everyone needs to know everything about the day-to-day running of Doncaster Rovers. Far from it.

This is a club, after all, that has taken huge strides forward in terms of fan engagement.

But the positive reaction to Baldwin's interview clearly shows that there is a lot to be gained from more up front and honest communication, not least getting people on the same page, fostering unity off the pitch as well as on it.

We live in an age in which football fans crave and demand information - and Rovers followers are no different.

For their sake, hopefully the video interviews from inside the Rovers boardroom will not end there.