Manager Paul Dickov had personally requested the opportunity to meet the supporters having learned of the club’s fan engagement programme #InRoversWeTrust.
The event, which took place in the Jibba Jabba Resteraunt in the Bartercard Stand, was attended by over 350 loyal supporters who got the opportunity to put their questions to Paul as well as Chief Executive Gavin Baldwin.
The evening began with an introduction, from compare for the event Charles Swallow, of our new manager. Charles went on to explain that the meet the fans event was not at the request of the club but in fact at the request of Paul Dickov himself.
There were also introductions for the clubs new SLO’s, Lee Croft and Mark Hughesman, and a brief explanation as to what their roles will entail and the processes that went into their appointments.
Chairman John Ryan couldn’t attend in person; however he did send a special message to those in attendance thanking them for their support.
Following John Ryan’s message was the start of the Q&A session with Paul and Gavin.
Q: How does it feel to be taking on such a challenge?
PD: First of all I’d like to thank everybody for attending, I’ve just said to Gavin sitting up here and seeing the turnout is quite humbling and is really appreciated.
I’m excited, the players are back for pre-season in a couple of weeks and there’s a lot of work already going on behind the scenes. You will be desperate to find out which pre-season games we have got, what signings we will be making and who is resigning and who isn’t but I’m the same. There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes and hopefully we can start on a positive note by re-signing the players that we want to sign. Get some quality additions in and have a good go at the Championship next year.
Q: Will you be bringing in any of your back room staff from your previous club?
PD: I’m in the process of speaking to two people at the minute, what I wanted to do is sit down with Brian Flynn and Rob Jones and let them know how important they are going to be next season. As a manager it is important that you get the right people around you, with the right experience, I think they both have that in abundance.
Q: What will Brian Flynn’s role be?
PD: Brian will be Director of Football, he will be helping me out with player recruitment and he will have a massive input into the Development squad.
Q: What is happening with the out of contract players at the club?
PD: By Friday I will have sat down with all of the lads that are out of contract and their agents. This week we have sat down and cracked on with speaking to them and all the signs are really encouraging.
Q: Will you be looking to formulate a particular style of play?
PD: I’m a big believer that to go out and win games you have to have a philosophy and you have to carry that philosophy through. I want to play football, I’m not a believer in the long ball game it’s horrible to watch; as fans, players and mangers it’s not enjoyable to be involved in.
Q: Can you update us on the situation with the pitch?
GB: First of all it’s far better now than it was half way through last season. After conducting tests on the pitch, the results showed that it was in the best situation possible last season after experiencing extreme weather conditions and also the amount of usage it was subjected to.
The pitch was flatter than any other pitch that was tested, which is testament to Andy Thompson.
After spending £17,000 on the surface, ahead of the Women’s FA Cup Final, we were told that would be sufficient to get it back to its best however went on to spent another £30,000 to get the pitch as good as any other in the country.
We don’t have the need now to take lots of small bookings, which we have done in the past; we are looking at larger bookings such as the Boxing and UCFC event which will decrease the amount of usage.
Season Ticket revenue is at 93% of what was achieved for the whole of last year with three months selling remaining. What that means is the money that supporters have already paid, which is around £800,000) can help Paul in his negotiations with the players. We still want around £200,000 and that will go straight towards the players that we are trying to bring in.
Q: Can you give us an update on the redevelopment of the concourses?
GB: Lindley’s have committed to £200,000 spend prior to the start of the season. For anyone who is coming to the meet the fans event in July will be able to see that the work will have already started.
Work will start on June 7th.
Q: How many players are we looking to bring in and in what positions?
PD: Ideally I would like a squad of 22; I want to bring quality players in. Teams that do well in the Championship tend to have players that have Championship experience but are at a good age. Some of the names that I am trying to bring in definitely excite me and hopefully they will excite you. You will understand that I can’t let any names out of the bag at the minute but we are working hard and are hopeful by the time pre-season starts we will have some exciting news for you.
Q: Do you intend to live in the Doncaster area?
PD: I will be staying over a few nights a week.
Q: How close are we to signing Richie Wellens?
PD: Richie is a player that I know really well, but he is contracted at Leicester City and hasn’t been released like some reports suggest. One thing I will say is Richie is the calibre of player and type of footballer that I want to bring into the club.
The second part of the event will be uploaded onto the website tomorrow.
PD: There’s a lot of good players at Oldham, but going back to what I have mentioned before it has to be the right player with the right mentality and if I think they will benefit us here I will do it regardless of what club it is.
Q: Will you be signing players from your previous club Oldham?
PD: We are close to announcing two of them as we speak which will probably be our first two pre-season games. We are trying to, without getting ahead of ourselves, get at least one if not two Premier League club to the Keepmoat before the season starts. We also have the Bradford game just before the season starts.
Q: How far down the line are you with arranging pre-season friendlies, and will we be playing local lower league sides?
PD: Lots of things. As much as from the outside it looked like it didn’t end well at Oldham, the two and a half years I had there, as a young manager, were fantastic for me. There were a few hurdles to deal with but I’m a stronger character for it.