Paul Dickov opens up about his time at Doncaster Rovers and makes interesting claim

Paul Dickov says he was approached by ‘four good Championship clubs’ while he tried in vain to keep Doncaster Rovers in the second tier.

Friday, 1st October 2021, 10:13 am
Paul Dickov managed Doncaster Rovers from 2013 to 2015 and hasn't worked in management since. Photo by Robin Parker/Getty Images

But the offers dried up after Rovers suffered a devastating final day relegation, the Scot has admitted.

Dickov has not worked in football managament since he was sacked by Rovers in September 2015, instead moving into media work.

The 48-year-old former Arsenal, Manchester City and Leicester City striker says keeping Doncaster in the Championship would have been the ‘biggest achievement of his career’.

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"I took over there [Doncaster] in 2013, and faced some huge challenges right from the start,” Dickov told The Coaches’ Voice.

“There was a takeover that dragged on into the start of the season; it meant I couldn’t sign players, because we didn’t know what budget we were working to. Then there were also players already in the squad who I didn’t really want but couldn’t sell.

“Doncaster had just been promoted to the Championship, and I came in to try and keep them there. If the takeover had gone through, I’m sure we would have managed it. But, with the lowest budget in the whole division and those restrictions I mentioned, it was too tall an order.

“We came so, so close to doing it, though. I still feel sick now when I think about how we got relegated.

“On the final day of the season, we were playing away to Leicester – one of my old clubs, who had already been crowned champions – needing to match Birmingham’s result to stay up.

“There was a party atmosphere at the King Power Stadium. The Leicester fans were celebrating promotion and they were also singing my name. “Dicko’s staying up” was being sung in the stands. They wanted us to survive.

“We went 1-0 down in the 75th minute, but Birmingham were losing 2-0 at Bolton so we were looking good. Both sets of fans were singing my name. But Birmingham pulled one back. And, in the 93rd minute, the whole stadium fell silent. I still get a shiver thinking about it now. It was horrible.

“My assistant came out to tell me Birmingham had scored, but I already knew. I could tell. A few seconds later, the final whistle went. We’d been relegated on goal difference.

“There were certainly things I could have managed better, but to take that relegation battle down to the final day – to the final minute, even – was an achievement in itself.

"There were teams like QPR, with budgets of £80m, for us to compete with. We shouldn’t have stood a chance, so for us to come so close was amazing.

“That experience showed me how fickle football is.

"I’d been approached by four good Championship clubs over the course of that season; people who had been impressed with how my little Donny side were acquitting themselves against the bigger boys. They were impressed with the football we were playing.

“Then, after that goal for Birmingham sent us down, I heard nothing. Staying up would have been the biggest achievement of my career.

"Goal difference was all that prevented it, but the offers dried up.”