On Wednesday evening Doncaster Rovers season ticket holders were invited to an exclusive free meet the Chairman and manager night.
Taking place in the Jibba Jabba Restaurant just short of 200 season ticket holders attended the evening. In a question and answer session that lasted 90 minutes, Rovers Chairman, John Ryan, First Team Manager, Brian Flynn, and Chief Executive, Gavin Baldwin took questions on a host of subjects.
The night started with John Ryan addressing fans to thank them for their continued support of the club. He shared his confidence about the upcoming fixtures and that Rovers would return to the Championship at the first attempt.
Once into the question and answer session the first topic of discussion was the pitch, which has suffered criticism in recent weeks.
Gavin Baldwin addressed the question and explained that the board had allocated £42,000 to pitch renovation this summer. This decision had been taken following advice from the top groundstaff at the FA who had assessed the pitch recently. Gavin also confirmed that The FA had said that the Keepmoat Stadium pitch was not on its own in suffering and believed Senior Groundsman, Andy Thompson and his team could have done no more with the pitch, particularly due to the particularly cold February, March and even the snow at beginning of April.
The Club had built a great relationship with The FA during the past twelve months. Due to the success of the England U19 fixture, The FA has hired Keepmoat Stadium for the FA Women’s Cup Final in May. The FA had were providing equipment to be based at the stadium to help with the upkeep of the pitch and to help other local sides if they need to use it.
Another hot topic of discussion was the lack of a reserve team. Brian fielded the question and said that he was extremely excited about the possibility of building a development side next year. Detailed discussions had been held at Board level regarding a “reserve” side but some decisions still had to be made, including a venue for fixtures, so as to ensure a further burden is not created for the main pitch.
Following on from the development side, Brian then fielded questions regarding the youth team and several players had been offered contracts by the club. The youth set up has once again had a successful season finishing second in the Youth Alliance league. One of the ways supporters can help ensure more local young talent breaks through into the first team is through supporting the Rovers Alliance. For full details click here
Season ticket holders were very interested in the plans for the stadium. Gavin explained that when the club secured the management of the stadium, it was budgeted to lose £750,000. During the past 8 months the backroom staff at Rovers has turned this around into a £350,000 contribution to the club.
As part of the business plan for the pitch and the stadium, he explained that the club would try and preserve the pitch by having less events but of a bigger size.
As part of the stadium plans when the current contract with EMC for the concourses fell through, the club sourced a new provider Lindleys who have guaranteed to expand and invest in the infrastructure plus the club get revenue from all sales. As part of the restructure of the concourses Lindleys are looking at having Domino’s Pizza, Coffee franchises and fish and chips in place for next season which will give a better match day experience for all fans.