Reunion with Rovers legend brought back great memories

I’d not seen former Doncaster Rovers legend Ian Snodin since attending his book launch in the city over a decade ago until bumping into him at the Parklands Social Club recently.
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Ian was the guest of former UK leader Nigel Farage, who now has his own prime-time show on GB News four nights a week, in the ‘Talking Pints’ section of his show which is occasionally broadcast live from various parts of the country under the banner of Farage At Large.

I managed to have a brief chat with Ian as the credits rolled and would have liked to spent a bit longer at the venue but my wife had to be up at 4.30am the next morning so we had to head home.

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During his ten-minute chat with Farage, Ian recalled making his debut for Rovers at just 16; playing alongside manager Billy Bremner; being made captain at 18 and later returning to the club as player-manager.

Ian SnodinIan Snodin
Ian Snodin

He detailed the club’s first game in the Conference, at Dover, and how he and older brother Glynn had played their part in restoring credibility following the Richardson era.

His recollections brought back memories as I was present at most of the situations he discussed.

I certainly remember the game at Dover and the reaction from the visiting fans when Rovers turned out in the only kit they had – one sponsored by Ken Richardson.

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I enjoyed working with the two men and having known them both as players I had a relaxed relationship with them.

I remember one occasion when I organised a pop quiz to help pass the time on another long coach journey.

I recorded snippets of songs on a cassette tape (remember them?) from my collection of CDs aimed at the 25-35 age group.

I gave each player and member of staff a questionnaire and then retired to the top deck of the coach to make myself a coffee,

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Just when I was about to congratulate myself on what I thought was proving a good idea I heard Ian yell out: ’Where’s Hossack?’

“What’s all this about?” he asked as I made my way to his seat. “I don’t know any of these……songs!”

He ignored my argument that I had chosen the songs to fit the age of the people I knew would be on the coach and that they were all well-known songs, yelling out to the driver to stop as soon as was safe to do so that I could be kicked off the coach.

Thankfully, that didn’t happen and we had a good laugh about it at the team hotel over dinner.

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Ian brought some big name players to the club during his time in charge including striker Mike Newell.

He brought along an Ali G video which was shown on the team coach.

It was the first time that most of us had ever seen Ali G and it proved so popular that it was shown again back-to-back.

I remember that my jaw was aching from laughing when I got off the coach.

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Unfortunately for the two brothers, some of their results during their 18 months in charge were no laughing matter and the board, who I felt at the time panicked, decided on a change of management and brought Steve Wignall in.

I’d got a tip-off about what was going to happen and caught Ian as he left the ground for the last time.

Although he conceded that mistakes had been made as he and Glynn learned on the job, he was adamant that the club wouldn’t have gone down had they stayed in charge and I agreed with him.

*Harry Potts gets closer to the action at Castle Park than most people on a match day when Doncaster Knights are at home.

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Despite being in his mid-70s Harry still operates as a ‘fourth official’ standing just a few feet from the touchline providing details of substitutions and red and yellow cards required by the Rugby Football Union after Championship games.

After the match I have to get all the details to Twickenham within an hour,” he said. “If you get anything wrong they are straight on the phone so you have to get your facts right.

Harry also helps kit manager David Poole around the changing area on match days.

Harry first got involved with Doncaster RFC, as they were then known, when stationed at RAF Lindholme in the late 60s.

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He was one of six men to answer the call when the club coach contacted the base to enquire whether anyone fancied a game.

The prop spent three years at the Armthorpe Road club before being posted to Germany.

He subsequently worked for the prison service representing it on occasions against the Police and Fire Brigade – as well as continuing to play for the club’s Dragons (vets) side whenever he could.

He played his last game for the team just two year short of his 60th birthday.

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Although he looks back on his playing career with fond memories, he admitted: “I used to hate the early-season games because I could hardly turn my head the next day and it often took until the end of October for my body to get used to it.”

Reflecting on his involvement with the sport, Harry said: “The game has changed a lot since I first played and so has the club coming all the way up from Yorkshire Two to the Championship and reaching the promotion play-off final a few years ago.

“There have also been massive improvement to the complex during that time thanks to the likes of Tony De Mulder and Steve Lloyd.”

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