David’s Dog vs Goliath
This weekend Doncaster Rovers go again, off in search of that elusive victory that at this stage might not even restore any pride or dignity, let alone contribute to a push for League One survival.
This season will go down in history as one of the most miserable of the 137 years we have been in existence. Indeed you will struggle to find many worse runs by any DRFC unit in that time, and certainly this is our darkest hour since Ken Richardson and Mark Weaver were banished for good from our club. But it isn’t over yet, and as long as there is life in the old dog, however feeble it may be, we should go on fighting to try and earn a win and get some points on the board to keep ourselves in the mix.
Speaking of dogs, I was originally going to bill our clash with league leaders Wigan Athletic this Saturday as ‘David vs Goliath’, but after examining the stats I’ve decided that the analogy isn’t quite accurate.
Take our own well-documented plight for example. Sixteen games without a win, a dozen of those games defeats, meaning we have picked up a truly pathetic four points from a possible forty-eight, and only one victory since the fireworks went off at midnight on New Year. That run has seen us plummet from the top half to the relegation zone, where we now sit some eight points from safety with only six games to play.
Contrast that with our visitors, who are on a truly incredible twenty match unbeaten run that stretches back almost a month further than our winless streak, who have picked up thirty-six points in their last sixteen matches. So in the same time period as we have amassed only four points…Wigan have amassed two points shy of our entire total for the season.
Really that says it all, as does the current league table. We are 22nd and all but dead and buried, whilst Wigan have surged ahead to sit four points clear at the top and nine ahead of third place Walsall. They have 80 points, and within two games could be celebrating their return to the Championship.
So, back to the David and Goliath analogy. It simply isn’t fitting enough. David was a humble boy, who slayed the beast against all odds, but Donny Rovers are no longer even strong enough to be characterised as a boy. No, they are the true underdog…by which I mean, they are the equivalent of David’s dog, if he were to have one. Not the one who can actually defeat their almighty foe, but a small, weakened being able only to stand opposite the beast and defenselessly cower in wait of the inevitable. There is not likely to be any shock upset on Lakeside this weekend, merely a glaring example of where it has all gone wrong for one, and so right for the other.
However, I am not writing this merely to sit here and pour doom and gloom on the fanbase, especially as I have tried to maintain the highest level of enthusiasm and optimism possible on this blog through the last few months. I believe there is a lesson to learned from our next opponents. It is not the tale long held up as the beacon for smaller clubs looking to make it in the big time – the modest former non-league club who rose through the leagues to compete for almost a decade in the big, bad Premier League, who won the F.A. Cup when nobody thought they had a chance – as that story has been told time and time again.
No, what I am referring to is the story currently in progress at Wigan. They fell out of the Premier League almost three years ago, and within 24 months were falling again into League One. In two years they fell from heady heights that once they could only dream of back to a level they were more familiar with and more in line with their level as a club. In almost perfect parallel with these facts, Doncaster Rovers are now about to do the same. But Wigan have regrouped, overhauled their entire playing staff, got a manager with a fresh outlook on things and changed their chairman to boot.
I am writing this article to tell everybody associated with Doncaster Rovers Football Club that this is not the end, there is a way back. If we get the next steps right we can come back stronger than before, more able to sustain ourselves at this level and we could also have some fun as fans in the process.
We will go onwards and, eventually yes, upwards as well. Keep the faith.