The founding father of Doncaster Rovers was Albert Jenkins, who was employed as a fitter at the Great Northern Railway Engineering works (“the Plant”). In September 1879 Albert was asked to raise a team to take on the Yorkshire Institute for the Deaf and Dumb. Following the game, which finished 4-4, Albert and his team-mates decided to form a football club, which they called Doncaster Rovers. Their first match as Rovers took place on 3rd October 1879, when they played at Rawmarsh.
Albert Jenkins was born at Eastwood Vale, near Rotherham, on 8th January 1861. His family spent time in Leeds and Middlesbrough before they settled in Doncaster towards the middle of the 1870s. Albert found work at The Plant and it was from there that he gathered up the players who formed the first Doncaster Rovers XI.
In the 1880s Albert served the club in a variety of roles. For the 1882-83 season he was both club secretary and captain. As a player he usually appeared in one of the full-back positions. For the 1883-84 season, Albert relinquished the captaincy to John Mitchell, who went on to play for Newton Heath and Bolton Wanderers, but remained as secretary. For 1884-85 he was both secretary and treasurer. However, thereafter his influence within the club, which had by then become firmly established as the town’s biggest football club, diminished. For 1886-87 he was assistant secretary, and by 1888 his involvement with Rovers appeared to have ceased.
Albert continued to live in Doncaster until his death on 22nd October 1940, at the age of 79. He married, in 1890, Sarah, the sister of William Salmon who was one of his early team-mates with Rovers. However, the couple had no children, so tracing any surviving relatives has proved difficult, to say the least. He will always be remembered as the man whose initiative led to the formation of Doncaster Rovers and for that we are all in his debt. Albert Jenkins is a worthy addition to our Hall of Fame.