Talking Sport Now & Then: The moment when Billy Bremner did not see the funny side of headline error

Former Doncaster Rovers boss Billy Bremner was a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde character when it came to the press.

By Steve Hossack
Saturday, 7th May 2022, 11:47 am

During my time at the old Doncaster Evening Post I arrived down at Belle Vue around 4pm to link up with the team coach travelling to an away game to be met by an irate Bremner waving a copy of the final edition.

We did three editions in those days to take in the late racing results and breaking news.

I soon found out the reason for his anger with the back page headline proclaiming ‘Rovers striker Derek Nimmo to miss tonight’s game’.

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Billy Bremner

For those of you too young to remember Derek Nimmo, he was a camp comedian and not a very funny one if my memory serves me well.

“You are making the club look like fools!” shouted Bremner, as he blocked my way to the steps of the coach as players looked on.

I explained that I didn’t write the headlines but he was having none of it and pointed to the fact that my name was attached to the story.

He eventually got on the coach and I nervously followed and tried to keep my head down but Bremner made sure I endured one of the most uncomfortable journeys of my life, by regularly firing barbed comments in my direction.

I never minded taking the flak, it comes with the job, as long as I had made a mistake.

But on this occasion I had got the right Nimmo (Ian) in my story and the man responsible had been what was known in those days as a reader whose job it was to check for production errors.

Fortunately, Nimmo, Ian, not Derek, saw the funny side of the story and we had a good laugh about it later.

Nimmo proved a good signing for Rovers and formed a productive partnership with veteran striker Alan Warboys – top-scoring in the club’s 1980-81 Division Four promotion campaign.

*Although the recent policy of appointing former players to key roles has had mixed results, I wholeheartedly agree with Doncaster Rovers’ decision to appoint James Coppinger as head of their football operations.

I can understand those supporters who would preferred to have seen a more experienced head fill the new role, but I think Copps will win them over just as he did on the field throughout his long career during which he proved one of the club’s best ever signings.

I certainly feel that his appointment will go a long way towards lifting the gloom which has hung over the Eco-Power Stadium for most of the season.

He has shown amazing loyalty to Rovers since 2004 and knows the structure of the club and what has worked and hasn’t worked under the various managers he played under.

He also knows that supporters, who he never let down, not only want a winning team but an entertaining one as well as was the case during the Penney and O’Driscoll eras.

I got to know Copps well during my time covering Rovers and I always had a lot of time for him.

He was always prepared to step in at the last minute if a pre-arranged interview with a teammate fell through and without fail always talked a lot of sense.

I wish him well.