After a painful season full of discontent, and inconsistency; it resulted in punishment, of relegation to Sky Bet League Two. Meaning a return to the fourth tier for the first time since being promoted out of the league in 2004.
Nobody quite knows, who exactly to blame for this, as events through out the season blew fans minds, with the controversy on the first game of the season by allowing Leon Clark to walk in Burys’ goal, then sacking Paul Dickov 8 games into the new season, and taking over a month to appoint Darren Ferguson. Once appointed go on a run, taking us from the relegation zone to 11th place in the league, only for after new year to plummet back down again.
Through out the season it has probably been more of the blame game than anything as nobody knew who was quite responsible for the turn of events, but one thing is for sure, all parties are now trying to fix it, and that is quite clear.
For example, the board of made, ‘immediate funds available’ for Ferguson to work with, meaning they’re actually investing in the squad, and not waiting to off load transfer listed players, before making signing.
Ferguson is then using these funds to make signings straight away, because we’ve already made five signings, where as this time last year we hadn’t even signed Thorsten Stuckmann, who was our first signing last season. This shows we mean business this year, and really want to bounce back.
I hope that this isn’t just a one off, because IF we do get promotion back to league one next season, then I want the same start to that season, because we’ve proved we can do it now, so why not again in the future? Although, granted, we shouldn’t require a big clear out like this season, but I hope this becomes our new regime of making signings this early on in the pre-season.
This has proved great with the fans, as some have said, due to how things are being run, i.e, signings, and the high caliber of signings fans are now beginning to buy season tickets, after vowing not to after relegation.
So, where do we stand? I think we have the second best chance of promotion next season; which is acceptable, because there are three automatic promotion spots to play for next year. I think Portsmouth are going to be the same as us, strength wise, because they also have a cleaver manager, and a lot of experienced players on board; I was surprised they didn’t go up this year.
One thing I hope for sure is that, we don’t end up like Portsmouth this year, because they also looked like favorites at beginning of last season, and also signed a lot of players from the divisions above, so I hope we don’t follow them in getting so far, but losing out on promotion through the play-offs. But then again, we’re Doncaster Rovers, and we like to be unpredictable, so nobody can really predict how things will go next season, can they?
Something that is going to be a massive factor in next season, too, is that there is going to be no more emergency loan windows through the season, which is something we relied heavily on last season, because we made the second most loan signings last season, in league one.
With that in mind, I think it’s pivotal to continue to sign players, to get some great amount of depth in our squad, and make sure that we’re not signing injury prone players, and that we keep their fitness up, because the last thing that we want is to have a paper thin squad, like last season (but then again you could just say that was Dickov being naive last season, and hopefully this season Ferguson won’t take after that).
Doncaster are second favorites to get promotion this season on 2/1, alongside Luton, however Portsmouth are the actual favorites on 5/1. These are subject to change, however.
Overall, I think if we continue to make signings – similar to the ones we’ve already signed – I think we’ll stand a good chance of bouncing to league one at the first time of asking, but I also think we need to get off to a good start on the first game of the season, to set the standards and raise moral from the go.