Stan Anderson, who managed Doncaster Rovers between February 1975 and November 1978 died on June 10 2018 at the age of 85.
Born in Horden, County Durham, Stan played for Sunderland from 1952 to 1963 making over 400 appearances for the Wearside club. Subsequently he moved on to Newcastle United and then Middlesbrough, where he was player-coach before becoming manager in 1966. A tough-tackling midfielder, Stan enjoyed the unique distinction of captaining all of the “Big Three” north-east clubs. While with Sunderland he was capped twice by England and he was also a member of the England squad at the 1962 World Cup finals in Chile.
Stan was in charge of Middlesbrough from April 1966 to April 1973, when he was replaced by Jack Charlton and then managed AEK Athens and (briefly) Queen’s Park Rangers. In February 1975 he was appointed Rovers’ manager, succeeding Maurice Setters. He arrived with Rovers second from bottom in Division Four: by the season’s end the club was in a respectable 17th place after a run of nine wins in 16 games. The highlight was a 4-3 home win over Division Four leaders Mansfield Town, watched by a crowd of over 7,000. Just over a month before only 1,500 had watched a 1-1 home draw with Reading.
Anderson’s reputation was enhanced in 1975-76 when his team reached the quarter-finals of the League Cup before losing at Tottenham. Anderson had sold winger Terry Curran to Nottingham Forest but had acquired goalkeeper Dennis Peacock and another wide man, Ian Miller, in part-exchange. He also snapped up veteran midfielder Chris Balderstone, but many of his players were those who had appeared in Maurice Setters’ struggling sides. Despite playing some exciting football Rovers’ inconsistency saw them finish 10th in a very strong Fourth Division.
For 1976-77, Anderson added another experienced player in the former Carlisle midfielder Joe Laidlaw. The manager’s aim was to bring on some home grown talent, but the progress of the likes of Dave Wignall, Mark Jones, Ian McConville and David Binch was slow, to say the least. Anderson’s key man was striker Peter Kitchen, who scored over 20 League goals in three successive seasons, but at the end of the season he joined Second Division Leyton Orient. Again, it had been a season of excitement but under-achievement: despite Kitchen’s 23 goals and a 10 game unbeaten run between January and March 1977, Rovers could finish only 8th.
With the youngsters showing no signs of coming through, Anderson went for experience at the start of the 1977-78 season. After a poor start to the season Rovers enjoyed a revival up to Christmas, but thereafter they had a run of only two wins from 18 games. The poor form continued into the 1978-79 season, with only four victories from the first 18 games. After a home defeat by York City in November 1979, Anderson decided enough was enough. He resigned and took up an offer to work under Ian Greaves at Bolton Wanderers. When Greaves departed in February 1980, Anderson replaced him as Bolton manager but his own reign lasted only just over a year. Later he worked as a scout for Newcastle United.
Stan Anderson continued to live in the Doncaster area and was a frequent attendee at supporters’ meetings and reunion days. He was regarded throughout the game as a gentleman and those Rovers fans who were fortunate enough to meet him remembered those encounters with great affection. The thoughts of everyone at Doncaster Rovers FC are with Stan’s family.
STAN ANDERSON’S RECORD.
First match: 8th February 1975 v Torquay United (home) won 3-0.
Last match: 18th November 1978 v York City (home) lost 1-2.
Football League Record.
Played 172, Won 67, Drew 46, Lost 59, Winning percentage: 38.9%.
Played 192, Won 73, Drew 51, Lost 68, Winning percentage: 38.0%.