• Adam Stubbings

Rovers Round-Up: 28/08

Another week, another fixture cancellation. This time the wider consequences of our game with Bury this weekend being axed are graver and more permanent, with the 134 year old club being expelled from the EFL late last night. Although we will publish a dedicated piece on this later in the week, our news round-up starts at Gigg Lane as ITEN keeps you up to speed with everything going on in and around Doncaster Rovers this week.

Bury Expelled

Having failed to secure a takeover by the league-imposed deadline of 5pm yesterday, Rovers’ next scheduled league opponents Bury were kicked out of the EFL by the governing body last night. The decision makes Bury the first club in 27 years to lose their league status for a reason other than sporting relegation from the bottom tier, and highlights the growing financial crisis developing behind the upper echelon of the sport on a domestic level.

It means that Rovers find themselves without a game this weekend, the second instance of such a scenario in less than a fortnight for the club and drops League One to 23 teams and 44 matches this season, providing Bolton secure their own takeover within the 14 day period set for them by the EFL to avoid being expelled themselves. Fans volunteered yesterday to get Gigg Lane ready for the Bury v Doncaster match on Saturday but their efforts have proven in vain, even with an appeal to the decision being lodged by Bury MPs this morning.

Our sympathies are with the supporters and staff of Bury Football Club in this devastating time for them. The echoes of what befell Doncaster Rovers under Ken Richardson in the 1990s are hard to shake off when viewing this sorry situation from an outside lens.

Three points for Rovers, says Baldwin

Just over a week on from losing another early-season league fixture, Gavin Baldwin has publicly set out his stall with regards to the fallout of the late cancellation by Bolton Wanderers of their home game with Rovers last Tuesday. The club CEO has stated to the Doncaster Free Press that he believes the fairest outcome would be for Rovers to be awarded three points that would almost certainly have been won had we played the game, judging on Bolton’s successive 5-0 reverses either side of the postponement.

Whilst the EFL desires for the game to be played later in the season should Bolton avoid being wound-up themselves, an independent panel will judge on the Trotters’ punishment for failing to fulfil the fixture and the prospect of Rovers receiving no compensation, either financial or sporting, for the mess feels unfair if not unrealistic. The likelihood is that, were the game to be played later in the season after a Bolton takeover, they would have a far stronger squad of senior players than they currently possess, thus making it a tougher match for Rovers than it would have been.

Whether you fall on one side of this debate or the other, there is no denying at this stage that the sporting integrity and fairness of League One has already been compromised severely by the decision to allow Bolton to start the season and play with a skeleton squad of youth academy graduates rather than have their fixtures suspended like Bury.

Saunders Convicted

Away from the club, former manager Dean Saunders is in the news for all the wrong reasons. The Welshman, now a pundit for such reputable outlets as BT Sport and Talksport, has been sentenced to ten weeks in prison on a drink-driving conviction after he was pulled over at the wheel following a day of revelry at Chester Races in May. Saunders, who refused to take a breath test at the time of the incident, is appealing the sentence with his defence claiming his asthma somehow affected the impact of the alcohol on his body.

Getting behind the wheel whilst under the influence of alcohol is extremely dangerous, jeopardising the lives of others, and Saunders may have done irreparable damage to his reputation by allowing himself to behave in such a manner.

Anichebe to Doncaster?

Eagle-eyed Rovers fans have set the rumour mill swirling as the hunt for a striker continues. Although Darren Moore spoke of his attempts to do a deal for a new #9 with another club in the English leagues, a post on the Instagram story of former Everton striker Victor Anichebe has people speculating that the Nigerian international could be on his way to DN4.

Although no longer available due to the website’s 24 hour rule on Story posts, Anichebe posted a video yesterday afternoon of himself training at Cantley Park, expressing his enthusiasm to be back out on the pitch. Anichebe is known to manager Darren Moore from their time at West Bromwich Albion together, but the former Premier League regular hasn’t played a game since the start of last year after an ill-fated move to China.

He may just be training at the club to build his fitness up, but surely won’t have a host of suitors after a player who has been out of the game for so long. However, if he were to sign for Rovers it could be a shrewd move, as Anichebe is a very physical presence with plenty of experience at the highest level. If he were to sign and get match fit, he could be a real asset to Moore and the Rovers squad.


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