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Doncaster Rovers

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Title: Doncaster Rovers  
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Subject: Tottenham Hotspur F.C., Football League Trophy, Pontefract, Guisborough, Molly Malone, Birmingham City F.C., Penalty shoot-out (association football), Newton Aycliffe, Billy Bremner, Football League One
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Doncaster Rovers

"DRFC" redirects here. For other uses, see DRFC (disambiguation).
Doncaster Rovers
Full name Doncaster Rovers Football Club
Nickname(s) The Rovers
The Vikings
Founded 1879
Ground Keepmoat Stadium
Ground Capacity 15,231
Chairman John Ryan
Manager Paul Dickov
League Championship
2012–13 League One, 1st
Website Club home page
Home colours
Away colours
Current season

Doncaster Rovers Football Club is an English football club based in Doncaster, South Yorkshire. On 27 April 2013 they became Champions of Football League One, gaining promotion to the Football League Championship, the second tier of the English football league system.

The club was founded in 1879 and turned professional in 1885.[1] Doncaster have spent the majority of their playing history between the third and fourth tiers of the English football league system and are one of four clubs to win the Division 3/League Two title three times.

The club's colours have traditionally been red and white. Their home strip is red and white hoops which has been the main design of the club's home shirt since 2001.[2]

The associated Doncaster Rovers Belles L.F.C. are one of the most successful women's clubs in English football.

Following promotion in 2012–13, manager Brian Flynn moved to become director of football at the club,[3] with Paul Dickov becoming manager a few weeks later.[4]


Early years

The club was formed in 1879 by Albert Jenkins, a fitter at Doncaster's Great Northern Railway works. He gathered together some friends to play a match against the Yorkshire Institute for the Deaf and Dumb in September 1879. On walking back from the game, the team took a rest at the Hall Cross, and had a discussion in which they decided to play more and called themselves Doncaster Rovers.[5][6][7]

The first match under the name was on 3 October 1879, a draw away against Rawmarsh.[7] Gradually, they became the main team in the town, and appear to have had their first professional players in 1887–88.[7]

Rovers first entered the FA Cup in 1888–89, losing 9–1 to Rotherham Town at home.[5] Season 1890–91 was to be a significant move forward. The club were a founder member of the Midland Alliance League and came second.[8] The following season, saw them enter the Sheffield and Hallamshire FA Challenge Cup, beating Sheffield United 2–1 at Bramall Lane to win the final.[9] That same season, they also moved up to the Midland League, becoming Champions in 1896–97 and 1898–99.[10]

They were first elected to the Football League in 1901, as a replacement for New Brighton Tower. Their first season in the League was precisely the one when Doncaster achieved their highest position ever (7th in the Football League Second Division).[8] They only lasted two seasons in the league before being voted out in favour of local rivals Bradford City due to finishing the 1902 season in the bottom three.

They spent the subsequent season in the Midland League, only managing 11th place out of 18 but were elected back to Division 2. This time, in 1904–05, Doncaster finished bottom with W3 D2 L29, adrift by 12 points, gaining only 8 points – an unfortunate still standing record. They were voted out once again. The following several seasons saw them finish lower midtable of the Midland League, till between 1910–13 they had greater success. The last few years before the war mediocrity returned,[10] and in August 1914 debts run up over the years led to voluntary liquidation. However, a new club was formed in time for the 1914–15 season and was accepted into the Midland League to continue where the old club had left off. The outbreak of World War I meant the club closed down, and the army took over its ground using it as a depot.[2]

Inter war period

The Club reformed as a limited company after the war in 1919,[6] rejoining the Midland League a year later playing at their new temporary Bennetthorpe Ground. The first two seasons Rovers finished lower-mid table. The third season they moved to Belle Vue, finished runners up and were accepted into the Football League Division 3 North for 1923–24 to replace Stalybridge Celtic.

The first match back in the Football League was a 0–0 draw against Wigan Borough at Belle Vue on 25 August 1923,[11] with Rovers playing in red tops with white shorts.[2] One of the players in that first match was Rovers legend Tom Keetley[8] who went on to become the Clubs highest scorer with 186 goals in 241 appearances. Doncaster ended the season in 9th place.[12] The next few seasons saw them rise towards the top of the table, then decline towards the bottom, before in the early 1930s finishing consistently near the top and finally becoming Champions in 1934–35.

Rovers spent two seasons in Division 2, relegated in 1936–37. However, they did well in the following two seasons before the outbreak of war, being runners up in Division 3 North, with only the champions being promoted at that time.

Post war−late 1990s

Doncaster Rovers were involved in the longest ever football match, against Stockport County at Edgeley Park on 30 March 1946. The match was the second in a Division Three (North) two-legged cup tie and, after 30 minutes of extra time the match was deadlocked at 2–2 (also the score in the first leg). After the referee had sought advice from the authorities, it was decided that the game would carry on until one team scored. However, after 203 minutes, and with darkness closing in, the game was finally stopped. Stories abound of fans leaving the game, going home for their tea, and coming back to watch the end of the game. The replay, at Doncaster, was won by Rovers 4–0, goals coming from Steven Bain, Billy Mortimer and a late double from Graeme Dunne.

In 1946–47 Doncaster set a record for the most games won in a league season (33), when they won the Third Division North title. The following season saw them relegated from the Second Division, but two years later with Peter Doherty as player-manager, they won the Third Division North again. This time they stayed in the Second Division for eight seasons, their most successful period to date.

During this time, several high class players were with Doncaster including Harry Gregg who kept goal, and was sold to Manchester United in December 1957 for £23,500. At the time, he was the most expensive goalkeeper in the world. He went on to help save lives in the Munich air disaster and was a regular goalkeeper for Northern Ireland. Another player, lesser known outside Doncaster, was Alick Jeffrey. Matt Busby, manager of Manchester United, had lined him up to be bought, however in October 1956 Jeffrey badly broke his leg playing for England under−23s. This ended his move and any chance of what was seen to be an almost certain glittering international career to come.[7]

Billy Bremner, who achieved fame for his playing career with Leeds United and Scotland, managed Doncaster twice, his final spell ending in November 1991 – six years before his death.

Richardson era

During the early 1990s, Ken Richardson, who was later described by detectives as "the type that would trample a two-year-old child to pick up a 2p bit"[13] took over as the majority shareholder of the club. He ploughed a lot of money into Doncaster Rovers with one thing on his mind, a new stadium. When he was refused a new stadium by the council he soon lost interest. Richardson hired three men to torch Belle Vue and planned to sell the ground to developers. The attempt put Richardson in jail for four years, ruined Belle Vue and Rovers were edging closer to relegation. In 1998 Rovers dropped out of the league with a −83 goal difference. He withdrew his financial backing and as a result the club was subject to an administration order. The better players left to ease some of the financial burden but unfortunately, the players who were left at Rovers were just not up to the task. The fans blamed Richardson for effectively destroying Rovers and even a funeral was held at Belle Vue on the last game of the 1997/98 season complete with coffin along Carr House Road. Just weeks after Rovers were relegated, Richardson was found guilty of trying to set fire to the Rovers ground, apparently hoping to pay off the clubs debts with the insurance money.

The rise

The Westferry Consortium took over the Club just before the beginning of the 1998–99 season[14] with a commitment to invest heavily in the club. They also brought in John Ryan as a non-executive chairman and he took over at the end of this season. Having aspirations of returning it to the second tier where he had seen them when he was a boy, he stated he would build a new stadium within ten years,[15] both of which he went on to achieve within the ten years. Doncaster found their best form in 50 years in the 2000s.

After five seasons in the Conference League, under the helm of manager Dave Penney the club returned to the fourth tier (known at the time as Division Three) after winning the 2003 Conference Play-Off final. In 2003–04, the first season they were back in the Football League, Rovers achieved promotion to the third tier as Champions. Doncaster were the first team to win the Fourth Division/Third Division (fourth level) Championship three times, 1966, 1969, and 2004. Football League rules state that any team who wins a trophy three times can keep it. When Rovers tried to retain ownership of the actual Third Division trophy, the Football League claimed that Rovers could not keep the trophy because the league names had changed from Fourth to Third Division, and so they had not won that particular league three times. Doncaster were the last team to win Division Three before it was renamed League Two.

In 2005–06, Doncaster beat two Premiership teams in the League Cup – Manchester City[16] and Aston Villa.[17] They reached the quarter finals of the competition where they met Arsenal. They went ahead in normal time and Arsenal equalised, and in extra time Rovers went up for a second time but Gilberto Silva equalised in injury time and the North London side went on to win on penalties.[18]

Penney left in August 2006 feeling he had taken the club as far as he could and was swiftly replaced with former AFC Bournemouth manager Sean O'Driscoll, with Richard O'Kelly as assistant manager.

A new stadium was completed in December 2006. Doncaster's first game at the new Keepmoat Stadium was against Huddersfield Town on New Year's Day, 2007[19] and the first goal scored at the Stadium was by Mark McCammon.


On 1 April 2007, Doncaster Rovers travelled with their new manager to the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff to play Bristol Rovers in the Football League Trophy final. Playing in front of over 59,000 people, this was Rovers' first major cup final in the club's history. They got off to the perfect start when a tap in from Jonathan Forte and brilliant finish from Paul Heffernan put Rovers 2–0 up within the first 5 minutes. However, after a brave fight back from Bristol, the game finished 2–2, so it went to extra time. In the second half of extra time a Sean Thornton corner was headed home by skipper Graeme Lee who had come forward from his central defensive position. Doncaster held on to claim their first major trophy.[20]

2007–08 proved to be one of the most exciting seasons in Doncaster's history. After a slow start they were in serious contention for a top-six finish for much of the second half of the season. Defeat away at Cheltenham Town on the final day of the season cost them automatic promotion and they finished third, with Nottingham Forest taking 2nd place. After a 0–0 draw away to Southend United in the playoff semi-finals first leg, Rovers beat their opponents 5–1 at home in the second leg including a James Coppinger hat-trick to advance to the League One play-off final at Wembley on Sunday 25 May 2008 where they beat Leeds United 1–0 to move into Football League Championship after a half century absence. A James Hayter headed goal in the 47th minute was enough to secure victory in front of over 75,000 fans at Wembley.[21]

The first half of the 2008–09 season saw Doncaster struggling to adapt to the Championship despite a promising start with an away win over newly relegated Derby County.[22] A long run of bad results saw them bottom of the Championship on 20 December 2008 following a narrow 1–0 defeat to Wolves at home. Rovers managed to turn things around soon after and enjoyed an undefeated run of 8 Championship games, starting with a thrilling 4–2 win at relegation rivals Nottingham Forest on Boxing Day. The win against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday 14 February was especially memorable considering it was the first time Doncaster had defeated the Owls in any league competition.[23] The streak ended at the hands of Swansea City on Saturday 21 February after a 3–1 defeat at the Liberty Stadium. Doncaster Rovers secured their place in the Championship for the 2009–10 season after an emphatic 3–0 win at Home Park against Plymouth Argyle. Doncaster ended their first season in the Championship comfortably in 14th position, finishing above 8 former Premier League teams, including Charlton Athletic, Watford, Crystal Palace and Derby County. The survival was also a major feat, as before the start of that season, they were tipped by many as strong favourites for relegation.

Doncaster started the 2009–10 season away at Vicarage Road with a 1–1 draw against Watford. Their first win of the season came at home against Cardiff City 5 games into the season when they won 2–0. Doncaster finished the 2009–10 season marginally better than their first season back in the Championship, finishing two places higher in 12th and earning two more points than the previous season finishing on 60 points. This was despite a promising period towards the end of the season which saw Doncaster close to the play-off places, thanks in part to Sheffield United loanee Billy Sharp who scored 15 goals for Doncaster during his stay. The 2009–10 season's success became a football league record. Having become the first team to be bottom of the table at Christmas, but still managed to survive the drop.

The 2010–11 season proved to be Doncaster's most trying season in the Championship thus far. Despite a club record signing of £1.15 million for Billy Sharp, the season was plagued by injuries to key players, as well as poor form. Doncaster did however manage to ensure their Championship survival, finishing in 21st place, 6 points clear of relegated local rivals Sheffield United and Scunthorpe United. This meant Rovers would spend a fourth successive season in the second tier of English football.

Doncaster Rovers struggled in the 2011–12 season; seven games into the season, Rovers failed to win a game (W0,D1,L6). This led to the sacking of manager Sean O'Driscoll and assistant manager Richard O'Kelly. On 23 September 2011, Dean Saunders was unveiled as the new boss, leaving Wrexham.[24] His reign started unbeaten in three games, with a 1–0 win at home to Crystal Palace followed by an away win at Peterborough and a draw against local rivals Hull. With the controversial help of football agent Willie McKay, Rovers brought in several players in on loans and short term contracts, and on low wages,[25] including El Hadji Diouf, Pascal Chimbonda, Herita Ilunga, Carl Ikeme, Frédéric Piquionne, and Habib Beye.[26] There were even discussions with Robert Pirès and the ex-Real Madrid midfielder Mahamadou Diarra. However, Doncaster were relegated to League One with three games still to play.[27] Many supporters blamed the failure to stay in the Championship on McKay's involvement, others felt it was worth the try. At the end of the 2011–12 season, chairman John Ryan deemed the McKay "experiment" over as it "didn't work" and "wouldn't work in the third tier" anyway.[25]

The squad was rebuilt for the 2012–13 season with 19 players leaving.[28] Expectations were low,[28] but after an average start, Saunders' team ended up firmly in the promotion positions by the end of 2012. On 7 January, Saunders was chosen to fill the vacant managers position at Wolves[29] and on 17 January caretaker manager Brian Flynn was given the permanent managers job till the end of the season with Rob Jones as player coach.[30] In an incredible finale to the season at Griffin Park, they beat Brentford 0–1 when James Coppinger scored in the last seconds of 5 minutes of added time, only seconds after Brentford's Marcello Trotta had hit a penalty against the crossbar. If Brentford had won, they would have been promoted and Doncaster would have to compete in the play-offs. As it was, the goal put Doncaster one point above Bournemouth as Champions.[31]

Following promotion to the Championship for the 2013–14 season, Brian Flynn was moved to become Director of Football[32] and overseeing the newly formed development squad[33] which would be playing competitive games. Paul Dickov was brought in as manager with Brian Horton as his assistant.[34] The club also signed Louis Tomlinson of boy band One Direction. Tomlinson will train with the squad and appear for the club's reserve team as part of a campaign to raise funds for Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice.[35]

League history

Doncaster Rovers have played their football in the following leagues:[36]

Midland Alliance League

Midland Football League:
1891–92 to 1900–01, 1903–04, 1905–06 to 1922–23

Football League:
1901–02 to 1902–03, 1904–05, 1923–24 to 1997–98, 2003–04 to Present

2nd Tier – Division 2, Championship:
1901–02 to 1902–03, 1904–05, 1935–36 to 1936–37, 1947–48, 1950–51 to 1957–58, 2008–09 to 2011–12, 2013–14 to Present

3rd Tier – Division 3 North, Division 3, League 1:
1923–24 to 1934–35, 1937–38 to 1946–47, 1948–49 to 1949–50, 1958–59, 1966–67, 1969–70 to 1970–71, 1981–82 to 1982–83, 1984–85 to 1987–88, 2004–05 to 2007–08, 2012–13

4th Tier – Division 4, Division 3:
1959–60 to 1965–66, 1967–68 to 1968–69, 1971–72 to 1980–81, 1983–84, 1988–89 to 1997–98, 2003–04

5th Tier – Football Conference
1998–99 to 2002–03

Last 11 seasons

Doncaster Rovers: League Standings for last 11 Seasons
Season League Pos P W D L F A GD Pts
2012–13 League 1 1st 46 25 9 12 62 44 18 84
2011–12 Championship 24th 46 8 12 26 43 80 −37 36
2010–11 Championship 21st 46 11 15 20 55 81 −26 48
2009–10 Championship 12th 46 15 15 16 59 58 1 60
2008–09 Championship 14th 46 17 7 22 42 53 −10 58
2007–08 League 1* 3rd 46 23 11 12 65 41 +14 80
2006–07 League 1 11th 46 16 15 15 52 47 +5 63
2005–06 League 1 8th 46 20 9 17 55 51 +4 69
2004–05 League 1 10th 46 16 18 12 63 60 +3 66
2003–04 Division 3 (Now League 2) 1st 46 27 11 8 79 37 +42 92
2002–03 Conference* 3rd 42 22 12 8 73 47 +36 78

Pos = Position; P = Played; W = Won; D = Drawn; L = Lost; F = Goals For; A = Goals Against; GD = Goal Difference; Pts = Points

∗ Denotes promotion via the Playoffs.

Managerial history

Below is a list of all the permanent managers that Doncaster Rovers have had since the appointment of Billy Calder in 1920.[7] In the 41 years prior to Calder, the team was selected by club committee, a standard practice by football clubs at the time. After Brian Flynn was appointed Director of Football, Paul Dickov became the clubs 40th full-time manager.

Name From To Notes
Scotland Paul Dickov May 2013 Present
Wales Brian Flynn Jan 2013 May 2013
Wales Dean Saunders Sept 2011 Jan 2013
Republic of Ireland Sean O'Driscoll Sept 2006 Sept 2011
England Mickey Walker Sept 2006 Caretaker manager
England Dave Penney Jan 2002 Aug 2006
England Steve Wignall May 2000 Jan 2002
England Dave Penney/
England Mark Atkins
Apr 2000 May 2000 Player/caretaker managers
England Ian Snodin Aug 1998 Apr 2000 Player/manager
England Mark Weaver/
Uruguay Danny Bergara
Dec 1997 May 1998 Bergara was appointed Director of Football and worked alongside general manager Mark Weaver as the "management team"
Uruguay Danny Bergara Nov 1997
England Dave Cowling Oct 1997
England Colin Richardson Sep 1997 Caretaker manager
England Kerry Dixon Aug 1996 Aug 1997 Player/manager
England Sammy Chung Jul 1994 Aug 1996
England Ian Atkins Jan 1994 June 1994 Atkins made seven appearances during 1993–4 but was not a "player-manager"
Jamaica Tony Cunningham Dec 1993 Jan 1994 Player/caretaker manager
England Steve Beaglehole Nov 1991 Dec 1993
Scotland Billy Bremner June 1989 Nov 1991
Republic of Ireland Joe Kinnear Mar 1989 June 1989
Scotland Dave Mackay Dec 1987 Mar 1989
England Dave Cusack Oct 1985 Dec 1987 Player/manager
Scotland Billy Bremner Nov 1979 Oct 1985 Bremner made 5 appearances for the club between 1980 and 1982
England Cyril Knowles Nov 1979 Caretaker manager
England Stan Anderson Feb 1975 Nov 1979
Scotland Johnny Quigley Nov 1974 Feb 1975 Caretaker manager
England Maurice Setters June 1971 Nov 1974
England Lawrie McMenemy Nov 1968 May 1971
England Jackie Bestall Nov 1968 Caretaker manager
England George Raynor June 1967 Nov 1968
England Keith Kettleborough Dec 1966 May 1967 Player/manager
England Jackie Bestall/
England Tom Garnett
May 1966 Dec 1966 Garnett (secretary) and Bestall were in charge of team affairs until December 1966
England Jackie Bestall/
England Frank Marshall
Feb 1966 May 1966 Joint caretaker managers after Leivers resignation
England Bill Leivers Aug 1964 Feb 1966 Player/manager
England Oscar Hold Apr 1962 Apr 1964
England Frank Marshall Mar 1962 Apr 1962 Caretaker manager
Scotland Danny Malloy Aug 1961 Mar 1962 Player/manager. Malloy's title was "player-coach", but he was in charge of team affairs
England Norman Curtis Aug 1960 Jul 1961 Player/manager
England Jackie Bestall Apr 1959 Aug 1960
England Jack Crayston June 1958 Apr 1959
England Syd Bycroft/
England Jack Hodgson
Jan 1958 June 1958 Joint managers
Northern Ireland Peter Doherty May 1949 Jan 1958 Doherty retired as a player after the 1952–3 season. From 1951 he simultaneously managed Northern Ireland.
England Jackie Bestall Feb 1946 May 1949
England Billy Marsden Apr 1944 Feb 1946 Part-time manager
England Fred Emery Mar 1936 Jul 1940 Emery was appointed "manager" while still a player, but ceased playing after the 1935–36 season
England David Menzies June 1927 Feb 1936 Secretary-manager
England Dick Ray June 1923 May 1927 Secretary-manager
England Arthur Porter May 1922 Mar 1923 Secretary-manager
England Harry Tufnell May 1921 Mar 1922 Secretary-manager
Scotland Billy Calder June 1920  ? Honorary manager



Like most of the early English football clubs, the original crest adopted by Doncaster Rovers was that of the local coat of arms. The coat of arms of Doncaster at the time was of two lions holding Yorkshire roses in their mouths as well as a red shield depicting the old medieval Doncaster Castle. The coat of arms is primarily red and white which explains the teams decision to adopt red and white as their colours. The club stop using Doncaster's coat of arms in 1972 when the Viking crest was introduced.

In the sixties Doncaster council denied Rovers to use the coat of arms and therefore a competition was held which the best design would be selected as the clubs new badge. Named "the Viking" which was designed by a group of local students which is now today's crest.

When the new crest was introduced it included a monochrome Viking image overlaying a red and white circle, which denoted the club's colours, along with the year of the club's formation 1879. The Viking image would become known as "The Turk's Head". Also included on the crest was a shield with the club's initials – D.R.F.C as well as the Yorkshire white rose in reference to the club's location. The inset shield was also coloured red and white to denote the teams colours. In the early 1990s the crest was altered, omitting the red and white circle background and the Viking image was coloured gold.

A further modification to the Doncaster Rovers' crest was introduced in 2006 and is the one currently in use today. The new adaptation includes a new Yorkshire rose design on the shield as well as a slightly different Viking image in dark yellow. [2]

Kits and sponsorship

This was the first strip worn by the club when they were elected to the football league in 1901.
This was the first strip worn by the club in 1879.

From 1879 to 1885 Doncaster played in blue and white, and since then red and white. The club's first strip was a navy blue and white strip with a yellow diagonal cross. The kit uniquely included a blue Tam o' Shanter with a red toorie at the centre. A solid red shirt with a black collar was the first design adopted when the club first entered the English Football league in 1901. Since 2001 the club have played in a red and white hooped home shirt.

The home shirts, in order of frequency, have been either a solid red, red and white hooped, solid white, or red and white striped.[2]

Season(s) Shirt manufacturer Main sponsor
1879–1977 none none
1978–1979 Umbro
1979–1981 Sereena
1981–1982 Lynx
1982–1984 Gertroot
1982–1984 Hobbott CIL
1984–1987 Pilkington Glass
1987–1988 Spall St. George's Car Centre
1988–1990 Doncaster Free Press
1990–1992 Ribero
1992–1993 Matchwinner
1993–1994 European Car Rental
1994–1995 Doncaster Star
1995–1996 Hayselden Motors
1996–1997 Patrick East Riding Sacks
1997–1998 Olympic Sports
1998–1999 Asics Beazer Homes
1999–2001 Viking Leisurewear
2001–2002 Vandanel One Call Insurance
2002–2003 Ledger Mobility
2003–2006 Carlotti Streetwise Sports
2006–2007 Streetwise Sports Carlotti
2007–2008 Carlotti Wright Investments
2008–2010 Vandanel
2010–2013 Nike One Call Insurance
2013 – present Avec


1885–1915 – Intake Ground

For the first six years the club began playing their games wherever they could, on playing fields at Town Moor and the Racecourse. They gained a permanent ground in 1885 when they started playing their games near the Institute for the Deaf and Dumb and so was known as the Deaf and Dumb Ground. A year later the stadium was officially named as the Intake Ground. A few months after completion, the roof blew off the stand, and the same happened in 1994 on the press and team officials stand after a gale.[6] They played their football there until August 1914 when the club went into liquidation. A new company did take over the club soon after but all English league competition was suspended in 1915 due to the First World War and the club was closed down and the ground turned into an Army depot.[8]

1920–1922 – Bennetthorpe Ground

When the Club was reformed after the war in the summer of 1919, the Army were still occupying the old Intake Ground as a depot. They had wanted to move to Low Pastures but restrictions set by the local council meant this wasn't a viable option.[38] The Club didn't join the Midland League until 1920–21, by which time and as a temporary solution, a field was found on the south side of Bennetthorpe for which they were given a two-year lease.[6] On the first day of the second season (1921–22) there, in the Midland League, the Bennetthorpe Ground saw 7,219 people watch Rovers against Gainsborough Trinity.[38] The ground consisted of a small stand on one side and small organised terraces around the pitch. Some of the fencing/gates on Town Moor Avenue remain.[39]

1922–2006 – Low Pasture, Belle Vue

Main article: Belle Vue (football)

With council restrictions on the six acre[40] Low Pastures site having been satisfactorarily negotiated, the Club moved there for the beginning of the 1922–23 season. Large amounts of ash from nearby coal tips was laid as a base for the pitch, serving it well throughout its years of use with superb drainage. Initially, there was a stand for 4,000 seated fans with terracing in front for another 3,000. The ground had a unique feature in that home and away teams had separate entrances.[38] The stadium was opened in 1922 by Charles Sutcliffe, a representative of the Football League when it was named Belle Vue.[41] The first match there was against Gainsborough Trinity in the Midland League with an attendance of 10,000.[38] After two years, shelter was added for standing spectators on the "Popular Side". A few years later in 1927, the stand from the Bennetthorpe Ground was jacked up and moved to the new venue providing a sheltered stand at the "Town End".[39] The "Popular Side" was extended in 1927 and concreted in 1928. Turnstiles, gates and fencing were added in 1935,[38] and in 1938 the "Popular Side" stand roof was replaced and put further back increasing the capacity of Belle Vue to 40,000.[39] In 1947 the stadium recorded its highest attendance of 37,099 against Hull City, although apocryphal accounts refute this and claim that many more gained entry to the ground by climbing over walls and thus avoided having to pay.

Following the Bradford City stadium fire disaster, in 1985 the wooden "Cow Shead", as the old Bennetthorpe stand was known, had to be removed for safety reasons. Mining subsidence in 1987 meant much of the "Pop Side" was removed, drastically reducing the grounds capacity to around 10,000.[39] Further safety conditions imposed after the Hillsborough disaster led the capacity to fall to 7,294.[38]

When the Westferry Consortium took over the club in 1998 one of the first guarantees was to help establish a new stadium for the club. Belle Vue had never been upgraded heavily since 1938 and despite minor cosmetic changes and the addition of some seating was really showing its age by the time Westferry took over. Despite this, some improvements were made in the last few years of its use as the Club rose out of the Conference, through Division 3 and into League 1. The Town End terracing was made safe and usable with portacabins added as executive stands behind it. The Rossington End was also extended and updated, with the capacity in its final years rising to around 11,500.

In 2003 it was renamed the Earth Stadium after the Rotherham-based finance company Earth Finance started sponsoring the ground. Belle Vue was Doncaster's home for 84 years.

2007–present – Keepmoat Stadium

Main article: Keepmoat Stadium

A new 15,231 all-seated stadium owned by Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council and rented by the club, was completed in December 2006. The first game at the new Keepmoat Stadium was against Huddersfield Town on New Year's Day, 2007.[19] The game also saw the first three red cards in the new stadium. Doncaster Rovers' centre forward Mark McCammon was the first player ever to score on the new pitch in a football match. The official opening of the Keepmoat Stadium was on 3 August 2007, with Doncaster Rovers playing a Manchester United XI in front of a crowd of 13,080. United won the game 2–0 with Anderson making his debut for them.[42]

On 19 June 2012 it was confirmed that Doncaster Rovers F.C. had secured a 99 Year operating lease from Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council to lead the management of the Keepmoat stadium with a view to improving operating results. The change placed the Club back in charge of its home Stadium after the period of renting since its move from Belle Vue (also leased from the Council) in 2007.[43]

On 11 August 2012, the stadium was officially handed over to chairman John Ryan in a presentation before the League Cup tie with York City.[44]


Role Name
Company Patienceform Limited
Chairman John Ryan
Directors John Ryan, Terry Bramall, Gavin Baldwin
Chief Executive Gavin Baldwin
Significant Owners

John Ryan
Dick Watson
Terry Bramall


Management team

Role Name
Director of Football Brian Flynn
Manager Paul Dickov
Assistant Manager Brian Horton
Coaches Paul Butler
Rob Jones
Goalkeeping Coach Paul Gerrard
Fitness Coach Ben Rome
Physiotherapist Alex Dalton
Club Doctor Dr. Tim Douglas

[47] [48] [49]


For players who played before the end of First World War, see List of Doncaster Rovers F.C. players (1879–1918).

First-team squad

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 England GK Ross Turnbull
2 Scotland DF Paul Quinn
3 England DF James Husband
4 South Africa MF Dean Furman
5 England DF Jones, RobRob Jones (captain)
7 England MF Duffy , MarkMark Duffy
8 England FW Paynter, BillyBilly Paynter
9 England FW Brown, ChrisChris Brown
11 Wales MF Cotterill, DavidDavid Cotterill
12 Northern Ireland DF McCullough, LukeLuke McCullough
13 England GK Maxted, JonathanJonathan Maxted
14 South Africa DF Khumalo, BonganiBongani Khumalo (on loan from Tottenham Hotspur)
No. Position Player
15 England DF Wakefield, LiamLiam Wakefield
16 England DF McCombe, JamieJamie McCombe
18 Republic of Ireland MF Keegan, PaulPaul Keegan
19 England MF Wellens, RichieRichie Wellens
20 England MF Harper, JamesJames Harper
21 Spain MF de Val, MarcMarc de Val
22 Jamaica FW Robinson, TheoTheo Robinson
25 England MF Forrester, HarryHarry Forrester
26 England MF Coppinger, JamesJames Coppinger
27 South Korea DF Suk-Young, YunYun Suk-Young (on loan from Queens Park Rangers)
32 England DF Wabara, ReeceReece Wabara (on loan from Manchester City)

Out on Loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
6 England MF Syers, DaveDave Syers (at Scunthorpe United until 4 November 2013)
23 England MF Bennett, KyleKyle Bennett (at Crawley Town until 22 November 2013)

Reserve Squad

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
28 England DF Tomlinson, LouisLouis Tomlinson
England DF Binns, JordanJordan Binns
Republic of Ireland DF Finnegan, EvanEvan Finnegan
England MF Meade, JoshJosh Meade
No. Position Player
England MF Middleton, HarryHarry Middleton
30 England FW Peterson, AlexAlex Peterson
England FW Winchop, ChrisChris Winchop

Notable players

The following is a list of players who have made at least 50 appearances and either:

  • hold a significant Doncaster Rovers record
  • have achieved significant football honours whilst at, or after playing for Doncaster (not before)
  • have some other notable characteristic e.g. significantly famous outside of football
Name Nation Position Year League
Langton, WalterWalter Langton England LB / CF 1887–1905 45 28 48 48 Doncaster's longest serving player

Appearance stats don't include seasons 1887–1901 nor 1903–04 which are likely to put his total appearances well over 200

Keetley, TomTom Keetley England FW 1923–1929 231 180 241 186 Record all time goalscorer.

Most goals in one game – 6 v Ashington in 1929

Emery, FredFred Emery England WH 1924–1936 417 30 439 32 Record league appearances
Manager of Doncaster 1936–1940
McConnell, PaddyPaddy McConnell Ireland IF 1925–1930 137 20 143 21 The first current Doncaster player to represent his country at international level, Paddy played for Ireland[50]
Bycroft, SydSyd Bycroft England DF 1936–1951 333 2 355 2 Including Wartime League matches, he played 501 games for Doncaster giving him the overall all-time record number of appearances.

Joint manager of Doncaster January–June 1958

Perry, EddieEddie Perry Wales CF 1936–1938? 98 44 102 ? Welsh international whilst at Doncaster
Jordan, ClarrieClarrie Jordan England FW 1945–1948 60 48 67 50 Most Doncaster league goals in one season (42 in 1946/47)
Williams, CharlieCharlie Williams England DF 1948–1959 158 1 174 1 Famous comedian
Doherty, PeterPeter Doherty Northern Ireland IF 1949–1953 103 55 109 58 Ireland international player and manager of Northern Ireland whilst at Doncaster
Manager of Doncaster 1949–1958 (PM until 1953)
Graham, LenLen Graham Northern Ireland MF 1949–1958 312 3 332 3 Northern Ireland international whilst at Doncaster
Lawlor, KitKit Lawlor Republic of Ireland IF 1950–1954 127 47 143 49 Republic of Ireland international whilst at Doncaster
Gregg, HarryHarry Gregg Northern Ireland GK 1952–1957 94 0 99 0 Northern Ireland international whilst at Doncaster.
Hero of the Munich air disaster
Jeffrey, AlickAlick Jeffrey England FW 1954–1956, 1963–1968 262 129 293 140 Youngest Doncaster player (15 years 229 days v Fulham, 15 September 1954).
Douglas, ColinColin Douglas England FW 1981–1986, 1988–1993 404 53 444 62 Record total appearances (not including the Wartime League games).

Forward in his first spell, fullback in his second

Stock, BrianBrian Stock Wales MF 2006–2012 193 18 216 23 Welsh international whilst at Doncaster
Sharp, BillyBilly Sharp England FW 2009–2012 71 34 75 35 Record Transfer Fee Paid: £1,150,000

Football League 100 Legends

The following Doncaster players have been included in the Football League 100 Legends.

FIFA 100

The FIFA 100 is a list of the world-renowned Brazilian striker Pelé's choice of the "greatest living footballers". Unveiled on 4 March 2004 at a gala ceremony in London, the FIFA 100 marked part of the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the international governing body of football.

PFA Team of the Year

The following have been included in the PFA Team of the Year whilst playing for Doncaster.

Player of the Year

The following players have won Doncaster Rovers Player of the year award.

Season Winner
1996–97 Scotland Colin Cramb
1997–98 Jamaica Prince Moncrieffe
1998–99 England Ian Duerden
1999–00 England Simon Marples
2000–01 Scotland Jamie Paterson
2001–02 Scotland Jamie Paterson
2002–03 England Paul Barnes
2003–04 England Gregg Blundell
2004–05 Scotland Michael McIndoe
2005–06 Scotland Michael McIndoe
2006–07 England Adam Lockwood / Graeme Lee
2007–08 England Richie Wellens
2008–09 England Matthew Mills
2009–10 England James O'Connor
2010–11 England Billy Sharp
2011–12 England George Friend
2012–13 England Rob Jones

Centre of Excellence

The role of the Doncaster Rovers Centre of Excellence is to develop players and their abilities to their full potential for the club's first team. Rovers youth team were runners-up of the FA Youth Cup in 1988[51] and the winners of the Youth Alliance Cup in 2012.[52]

The youth team runs 9 teams and has over 100 players from the ages of 8 to 17. The head of youth is Paul Wilson and the head of Technical Development is former York City manager Colin Walker. The youth team annually compete in the Gothia Cup. The academy team plays in the Football League Youth Alliance, North East Conference and is only for players below the age of 18. Home games are played at the club's training at Cantley Park.


Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
Youth England GK Jack McLaren
Youth England DF Ben Askins
Youth England DF Scott Brown
Youth England DF Matthew Davies
Youth England DF Jacob Dawson
Youth Scotland DF Paul McKay
Youth England DF Mitchell Lund
Youth England MF Lewis Ferguson
No. Position Player
Youth England MF Aaron Gordon
Youth England MF Alex Head
Youth England MF Spencer Lund
Youth England MF Jack Steadman
Youth England MF Billy Whitehouse
Youth England FW Ryan Burnyeat
Youth England FW Liam Mandeville
Youth Scotland FW Jack McKay
Youth England FW Callum Terrell


Role Name
Head of Youth Paul Wilson
Youth Team Coach Paul Stancliffe


Notable Youth Team Players

The following are players from Doncaster's youth team past or present who have gone on to play in the top 2 tiers of the Football League, or the top tier in another country with prominent national leagues.



English third tier
Champions: 2012–13
Play-off winners: 2007–08
Northern half
Champions: 1934–35, 1946–47, 1949–50
Runners up: 1937–38, 1938–39

English fourth tier
Champions: 1965–66, 1968–69, 2003–04
Runners up: 1983–84 Promoted: 1980–81

English fifth tier
Play-Off Winners: 2002–03

Midland Football League[55]
Champions: 1896–97, 1898–99
Runners up: 1900–01, 1922–23

Midland Alliance League
Runners up: 1890–91

Yorkshire League
Runners up: 1898–99


Football League Trophy

Sheffield and Hallamshire Senior Cup
1890–91, 1911–12, 2000–01, 2001–02

Sheffield and Hallamshire County Cup
1935–36, 1937–38, 1940–41, 1955–56, 1967–68, 1975–76, 1985–86

Conference Cup
1998–99, 1999–2000

Wharncliffe Charity Cup




  • Record League Appearances: Fred Emery, 417 league matches
  • Record Appearances: Colin Douglas, 444 matches
  • Record Appearances, including Wartime League: Syd Bycroft, 501 matches
  • Longest Serving: Walter Langton, 18 seasons
  • Record League Goal-scorer: Tom Keetley, 180 league goals, between 1923 and 1929
  • Record Goal-scorer: Tom Keetley, 186 goals in all competitions
  • Highest League Scorer in a Season: 42, Clarrie Jordan, Division 3 (N), 1946–47
  • Most Goals in One Match: 6, Tom Keetley in 7–4 win at Ashington, 1928–29
  • Scoring in Most Consecutive Games: 10, Clarrie Jordan 1946–47

Other teams

Doncaster Rovers Belles became the club's official women's team in 1969 as Belle Vue Belles. They currently play in the FA Women's Super League, at the top tier of women's football. Their home games are played at The Keepmoat Stadium.


The team's mascot, previously portrayed by Andrew Liney, is a brown dog known as Donny Dog that wears a red and white Rovers jersey. Before a scheduled appearance during the game against Huddersfield Town at the Galpharm Stadium on 4 March 2006, police prevented Liney from entering the stadium in costume, citing unspecified "police intelligence", and refused him permission to wear any part of the costume within 50 metres of the stadium. Mr Liney later received a full written apology for these unfounded allegations from the head of West Yorkshire Police. The mascot was next portrayed by Tracy Chandler and in June 2011, she was relieved from the position after she posed in her underwear for a Sunday newspaper. Later in the same week she was reinstated back as the clubs mascot.[58] [59]

A second mascot, a yellow haired and bearded Viking with a helmet and wearing the away shirt named Eric the Viking, made its first appearance at the home game against Yeovil on 25 February 2013.[60]


Doncaster Rovers' fanzine is called "Popular Stand" which was first launched in January 1998. Previously there have been two other fanzines "Raise The Roof" and "Keegan Was Crap Really" which are no longer being published. The fanzine sells at £1 which is the same price as when it was first published in 1998. All of its profits of the fanzine are donated to Doncaster Rovers or related causes. Popular Stand is currently edited by Glen Wilson.[61]


I can't think of any other football club that has endured the same traumas as Doncaster Rovers. Thankfully, true fans are now in charge at the Club.
Kevin Keegan

I believe the nightmares of the past are over and only sweet dreams will follow. The club is now on the right footing.
George Best

Mention Doncaster Rovers and I am reminded of a Saturday afternoon at Bramall Lane and my first experience of a sending off. Charlie Williams, as I remember, was dispatched for inserting his right boot in Doc Pace's shorts! I am delighted that the decline in Rovers fortunes has been arrested and that, like Charlie Williams, Rovers seem to be smiling again.
Howard Wilkinson



In a 2003 survey Doncaster Rovers fans stated their main rivals were Rotherham United, followed by Scunthorpe United and Barnsley/Chester City. The Football League clubs whose fans voted Doncaster as one of their main rivals were Mansfield Town, Rotherham and York City.[63]


In 1998 Rovers featured in a documentary on Yorkshire Television. This episode titled "Trading Places" documents and contrasts the 1997–98 season for two of the region's football clubs; Rovers heading out of the Football League and Halifax Town heading the opposite the way as Champions of the Conference.[64] Also in 1998 the club was featured in the 1998 Channel 5 'fly-on-the-wall' documentary "They Think It's All Rovers" in which it showed the fall of Rovers.[65] In the early 1980s there was a documentary about Billy Bremner as the manager of Rovers. The documentary is notable not only for the inside look at the pre-match preparations, warm-up conducted in the dressing-rooms, starting line-up read out as if it's coming to Bremner there and then, but for such rare footage of early 1980s Belle Vue, with a full-size Popular Stand and the Cow Shed still standing at the Town End.[66]


Rovers worked with the NSPCC since the beginning of 2009 with a number of events to raise money. A significant event was the Inca Trek walk which Mark Wilson, James Coppinger and James O'Connor took part in along with other Rovers staff. The 62 mile walk raised almost £50,000 for the NSPCC.[67] Mark Wilson said about the walk "We are doing this challenging trek to raise awareness of the NSPCC and Childline, helping to raise funds to allow them to run this vital service. I have wanted to do something like this for a few years, as it's close to my heart, especially with all the high profile child abuse cases that have been in the news. I wanted to do something to help prevent and put a stop to child abuse, so this is where the idea came from". Rovers have also played a number of charity football matches, playing in green and white hooped football kits, and selling these shirts.

Voted for by the club's supporters, the Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice was chosen as the primary official charity partner for 2012–13.[68] Money has been raised in bucket collections[69] as well as through a charity match initiated by Doncaster born Louis Tomlinson of boy band One Direction.[70][71]


External links

  • Official website
  • Doncaster Rovers club and player records and statistics at
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