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Club News


27 November 2013

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It’s now 18 months since the In Rovers We Trust project first began and with the publication of the results of the club’s 5th Fan Experience survey, it’s time to review progress to date, highlight successes and set out plans to ensure Rovers’ pioneering fan engagement partnership continues to deliver benefits into the future.

IRWT: Origins

The project arose from initial discussions between the Club and supporters in the spring of 2012. There was a consensus that falling levels of supporter engagement were not just a result of poor football performances, but also a result of a growing sense that the special values and beliefs that make Rovers special to its community of supporters were not as visible as they once were.

In Rovers We Trust is a consultative process that not only collects supporter feedback on what matters, but also gets fans involved in determining the changes to be made. The results have been very positive. After 5 surveys, there has been a 200% increase in levels of supporter value (in response to the question ‘based on your recent experiences, how valued do you feel as a Doncaster Rovers supporter?). This is clearly a result of supporters communicating their ideas to the Club and then seeing them come to life.

You said, we did

And there have been many changes since 2012. Supporters have asked for changes in certain areas and the club has been able to respond, as the following list shows:

  • •Working in partnership with First to improve public transport services immediately following home matches
  • •Reducing beer prices
  • •Introducing smoking bubbles
  • •Introducing Rovers’ own brand of bitter
  • •Renaming the Belle Vue Bar
  • •Various projects aimed at making the stadium feel more like home
  • •Removed match categorisation
  • •Introducing a family match ticket
  • •Improving the choice of food inside the stadium
  • •Introducing Supporter Liaison Officers (Lee Croft and Mark Hughesman) to work with the club on supporters’ behalf

This list is on going with more plans coming to fruition every month.

It’s been the club’s policy during this period to experiment too. Often the surveys make it plainly clear that an area needs addressing (as we’ve seen with refreshments, beer prices and transport) but where there are challenges that are less easy to overcome (like improving the stadium atmosphere, for example) the club will try out ideas supplied by fans, especially if they’re different or innovative. If they work, they’ll be established and if not, then the club will continue to listen, explore and experiment with new ideas.

Latest Survey Headlines

The most recent survey produced the following results:

  • •Overall supporter sentiment continues on an upward axis with Value and Advocacy much higher than where it was when the IRWT project commenced.
  • •There is appreciation of supporter involvement in decision-making; especially in improving the quality of the refreshments experience where 68% of respondents believe it is ‘much’ or ‘slightly’ better. However further improvements are suggested by the supporter base, which Lindley Catering are looking at implementing.
  • •There is also appreciation of the efforts the club is making to improve the match day atmosphere, but a clearly expressed need for this work to continue.


Making it easier for you to give feedback

The recent survey showed that in general our supporters are happier with off the field activities than before.  When In Rovers We Trust started, a long list of areas to improve were identified, however more recently fans are looking at long term projects or finer details to ask the club to improve upon.

With that in mind we want to make it easier for you to provide your comments on a more regular basis, so a permanent button will be made available on the website for fans to feedback and opportunities to do this will be included in club communications such as e-mail and social media. At regular points this feedback will be rolled up to produce an overview of supporter sentiment and the Club will continue to listen, consult and act.

Into the future with IRWT

The surveys show that fans feel more valued that at any other time in recent history and that will serve the Club well into future: by improving sentiment around the club, creating great ‘word of mouth’ stories about the club and, ultimately, restoring the faith of lapsed fans and developing a match day experience that will appeal to a whole new generation of Rovers fans.

In Rovers We Trust never aimed to be a short term ‘fix’, nor is it solely a response to the disappointments of 2012. On the other hand, it’s fast becoming the ‘way we do things around here’ and its success depends on your continuing enthusiasm for change and experimentation. 

So please respond to our continuing requests for feedback and if you think something needs fixing, tell us and we’ll work hard to make things better.

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