As part of the 2019/20 celebrations of the club’s 140 year history, Rovers are inducting one legendary player from each of the 14 decades into the Hall of Fame.
Supporters will have the chance to vote for the player they want from a shortlist of four which will be compiled between the club and John Coyle. In this first vote, we are heading back to the 1880s with four giants of the decade – Albert Jenkins, John Mitchell, Sam Hunt, and Billy Bridgewater - vying for a well-deserved spot in the Hall of Fame.
The four options are as follows:
The founding father of Doncaster Rovers. It was Albert Jenkins, who was employed as a fitter at the Great Northern Railway Engineering works (“the Plant”) who was asked to raise a team to take on the Yorkshire Institute for the Deaf and Dumb in September 1879. Following the game, which finished 4-4, Albert and his team-mates decided to form a football club, which they called Doncaster Rovers. Albert served the club as secretary, treasurer, and captain, holding the positions of secretary and captain for the 1882-83 season. He usually played at full-back.
Another full-back, who often partnered Albert Jenkins, Mitchell was Rovers captain in 1883-84. The following season, after a game against Newton Heath Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway (the team which formed the basis of Manchester United), Mitchell was offered a job in Newton Heath’s railway carriage shop. He therefore became the first Rovers player to be transferred, although no fee was involved. Mitchell later had a spell with Bolton Wanderers and played in their first Football League game in September 1888.
Signed during the 1887-88 season from neighbouring Mexborough, centre-forward Sam Hunt was almost certainly Rovers’ first professional player. Over the next two seasons, Hunt contributed over 36 goals for Rovers, probably nearer to 50 as a lot of goalscorers in those friendly games are unknown. Hunt also had the distinction of scoring for Rovers in their first FA Cup tie against Rotherham Town on October 6 1888, although Rovers lost the game 9-1.
A forward from Rotherham, Bridgewater had three spells with Rovers, two of them in the 1880s, and contributed at least 23 goals. He also had spells with Newton Heath, Rotherham Town and Sheffield United, amongst others. He was also a professional boxer and, after retiring from sporting action, he owned a boxing gym in Doncaster and promoted boxing and wrestling, managing two British boxing champions.
Vote for the player you want inducted into the Hall of Fame below:
The winner will be announced at half-time during Rovers home Sky Bet League One match vs Gillingham FC.
Tickets for this game are available online at tickets.clubdoncaster.co.uk or in person at the Club Doncaster Box Office or by calling (01302) 762576