RTID caught up with player coach, captain and fans favourite Rob Jones ahead of the game against Hartlepool United to see how he views the changes in his role.
How have things changed for you Rob in your new position?
I have more responsibility now but I am just going with the flow. I have a bit more input now with things off the pitch but on the pitch nothing’s changed and I’m as vocal as I was before.
For me it’s like starting an apprenticeship because when I finish playing I would like to become a manager or team coach. The last six weeks have given me a massive insight into what goes on behind the scenes, whereas before I did this, all I did was turn up, train and go home.
Although I did have an inkling of what went on, it was not to the magnitude of what I know now. It has been a big eye opener for me but one that I have thoroughly enjoyed. I have learnt a lot over the last six weeks about myself and my philosophy towards football, the players and how things are done. It’s been good for me.
Do you have to plan things at home now before you get to training?
Yes, I do as I took on that extra responsibility in and around the club that came with the role. I’ve got my coaching role and I’m a big voice in the dressing room and around the pitch, although I always have been.
Whenever you take on more responsibility to the extent that I have, your role has to change. You can’t just continue the way you did before as a player as it doesn’t work; you’re expected to put more work into the role and I’m quite willing to do that.
For me it’s all positives apart from finances and results but in football terms that happens sometimes and its how you come out in a positive manner at the end of it that matters.
It’s been a bit of a roller coaster over the last few games. Has that been testing now you are a coach?
Yes, of course it is. When it’s all going your way, it’s quite easy and plain sailing but when things don’t go your way things become a bit more difficult. First of all, you’ve got to keep the players focussed on what the job in hand is; you’ve got to give them the tools to go out and do the job and you’ve got to break things down so everyone understands what’s going on.
There’s an awful lot of work that goes on behind the scenes. It was an easy role when we won two on the bounce but now we’ve lost two and drawn three so we’ve had a mixture. That mixture has brought more characters out in the dressing room.
I’ve always said that you find out more about a person in difficult times than in easy times and that’s no different in this game. Everybody knows what their role is within the club and team so it’s time now to move on and get back that winning streak to move the club forward.
You said you want to be a manager in the future. How do you take that plan forward to become a manager?
I need to learn what goes on over the other side of the white line. As I said earlier, I haven’t been this side before so it’s been a big eye opener for me.
I think the worst thing for me would be to go into being a manager blind without knowing the ins and outs of the role. I’m now learning from a distance what this entails and that bodes me well for the future.
I’m getting a lot of experience from not just the manager here, but from other managers and coaches I speak to that I’ve worked under.
This is not an overnight plan; it’s a plan I’ve had for some time. I’m only 33 so that’s very young but I’m looking to the future. First and foremost I’m a player and I want to continue playing football until I can no longer play so it’s a fine balancing act between the two.
Do you have to go back to college to study again?
At the moment I’m currently working through a module as I’m doing a degree. I’ve got an awful lot going on so it’s balancing it all that’s the priority.
I have also got a very young family who I like spending a lot of time with but if something gets on top of me and affects my football, I will stop it and concentrate on football. Thankfully, at the moment, it hasn’t really done that.
I’ve got to put things in place for that day when I can’t play anymore or I’m given an opportunity I can’t turn down. As long as I’ve given myself the chance to do well in my new role, I can look at myself in the mirror and say ‘yes, you tried your very best’.
I need to learn the trade of how to become a good manager as it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years of experience and the help of people around you who you get on with and trust.
I think the biggest thing I’ve learned so far is to delegate; don’t take too much on yourself as you can’t do everything.
To be a manager of a club is a fantastic role to have and it’s something for me to look to in the not too distant future.
I’ve seen you getting involved in a lot of things going on in the community like the school visits. Do you think this is important?
I think to showcase our brand of Doncaster Rovers as the family football club that it is, it’s vital to get out in the community and schools to help with things.
We expect them to turn up every Saturday afternoon to cheer us on for ninety minutes, so we can surely give back once a week or fortnight to put a few smiles on people’s faces and get involved in the community.
We are all one big family who are in it together to do their best for Doncaster Rovers. If we can put a little bit back into the community, that’s great.