Rob Jones said a squad filled with the burning desire to get Rovers back into the Championship was what drove them on to achieve promotion in the 2012/13 season.
It was a campaign which boiled down to that final minute at Griffin Park against Brentford on April 27, 2013, and Jones felt that the League One title capped off his best season in professional football.
“You can put a whole season on twenty seconds, we’d had our ups and downs that season, but we had such a good dressing room here, one filled with lots of players who had a point to prove and had that burning desire to get back into the Championship,” he said.
“I think that showed week in, week out, the whole team on a match day very rarely changed, we had a couple of good additions late on in Dean Furman and John Lundstram and they were both great, as well as Neil Sullivan coming back from his loan spell at Wimbledon.
“Sully’s experience in those final four games were vital for us I think, you could look at those final twenty seconds but I think that whole season wrote the story.
“For me it was comfortably the best season of my career, playing wise and scoring wise, and I think for most of them, it was probably all of the players’ best season in football too.”
The dramatic ending to the 2012/13 season was perhaps not a surprise to many Rovers fans, with many of their away victories that season coming late on in games.
Upon Dean Saunders departure in January, Jones was appointed as assistant to Brian Flynn for the remainder of the season, and they kicked off their time in charge with a late winner from the captain at Stevenage, something which he believes could’ve foreshadowed the Brentford game.
“I can remember that first game when me and Brian took over, 2-1 win away at Stevenage, last minute header from seven yards – I remember it vividly – we had so many of those moments that season and it was maybe written it would end so late too,” he added.
“We had the Dave Syers goal at Oldham away two minutes into injury time, I remember them all and it’s strange how you remember them too, but we had a group that wanted to work hard for each other and that wanted to do well for everyone.
“We had charisma, we had character, we had everyone moving in the same direction which was crucial for us, the determination, the bravery, it was almost military style in the way we went about things, everyone had each other’s backs.”
The military style Jones looks back on is somewhat fitting, given he was dubbed the ‘Corporal’ by Rovers fans during his time at the Keepmoat Stadium, something he says he enjoyed and will remember forever.
“My time here didn’t start too well, I scored an own goal in my first game at home against Hull in a friendly, but when you go to a new club, you always want to be liked by the fans and their teammates, I’m no different to that and I got that here,” he said.
“I hope the fans saw that I gave them that hard work and determination they were looking for and expected from me, they called me the ‘Corporal’ and that was a position I really enjoyed being in, being the one in the leadership position.
“I had to get them to do the jobs they didn’t want to do at times, but my job was made so much easier by the people around us, making sure that we put in the hard yards towards the end of games to get over the line, we had that in abundance here.
“We all had our parts to play, regardless of whether they were a player, a coach, it doesn’t matter who did what, we all helped in some way or another and it will be something that I and everyone else will remember forever.”