Snapshot: How I watched football 2013-14

Seeing out the clock; Doncaster Rovers 3-0 Wigan Athletic

Convention tells us that the seasons in which your football team gets relegated are the worst seasons you can ever experience. ‘Despair’ is a word that’s thrown around a lot. ‘Hapless’ is another. This past year I watched Doncaster Rovers fall from the Championship, but neither of those words come close to fitting what I experienced, because, you know what, I really enjoyed it. I know I’m supposed to be in a permanent despondent funk as I mooch about the house toe-ending household pets, but the truth is I can’t look back on the 2013-14 season anything other than fondly.

I enjoyed the games at the Keepmoat Stadium that were invariably prefixed by selling fanzines to familiar faces. I enjoyed abusing a club commentator press pass whilst at Rovers away games to explore unknown corners of some fantastic football stadiums. I enjoyed the closeness of Doncaster Rovers Belles matches in the FA Women’s Super League. I enjoyed two great trips away with Wales, and I enjoyed investigating the local football landscape around my base in South East London. Results it seems are steadily becoming a minor factor in my football experience. I saw two teams I care for relegated – one unfortunately, one forcibly – and I saw my country fail to qualify for another tournament, but can only think of three games that I did not enjoy; two lacklustre defeats for the Rovers at Bolton and Bournemouth and a match of terrible quality at Lewisham Borough that ended with a rainstorm so heavy I got home to find my jeans had turned my legs blue and a £5 note had turned to pulp in my pocket.

Three out of fifty aint bad. As with last season I made the effort to take a picture at each and every game I attended. I’m not a photographer, and I don’t own a camera, but using just my phone and the Instagram app I’ve been able to take the following shots. I am not foolish enough to think this makes me a photographer, I’m just an enthusiastic amateur who often needs a visual aid to remember where they’ve been and what they saw. For the 2013-14 season, this was how I watched football.

1. July | A record crowd enjoy the late evening sun

Rossington Main v Doncaster Rovers - Friendly 2013

Rossington Main 0-3 Doncaster Rovers
pre-season friendly, Oxford Street

2. July | Warning signs

Leyton Orient 2-1 New York Cosmos

Leyton Orient 2-1 New York Cosmos
pre-season friendly, Brisbane Road

3. August | The South Stand greats the Rovers for the first time this season

Doncaster Rovers 1-3 Blackpool

Doncaster Rovers 1-3 Blackpool
The Championship, Keepmoat Stadium

4. August | Watching from the bench

Chelsea 4-0 Doncaster Belles

Chelsea Ladies 4-0 Doncaster Rovers Belles
FA Women’s Super League, Wheatsheaf Park

5. August | Making a point

Birmingham City 1-0 Doncaster Belles

Birmingham City Ladies 1-0 Doncaster Rovers Belles
FA Women’s Super League, The DCS Stadium

6. August | Early arrivals

Chalton Athletic 1-3 Doncaster Rovers

Charlton Athletic A-A Doncaster Rovers
The Championship, The Valley

7. August | Out for the second half

Clapton 0-2 Mildenhall Town

Clapton 0-2 Mildenhall Town
FA Cup Preliminary Round, The Old Spotted Dog

8. September | Belles huddle up

Arsenal 3-1 Doncaster Belles

Arsenal Ladies 3-1 Doncaster Rovers Belles
FA Women’s Super League, Meadow Park

9. September | Entering Block 6

Macedonia 2-1 Wales

Macedonia 2-1 Wales
FIFA World Cup Qualifying, National Arena Phillip II of Macedonia

10. September | VIP Entrance

FK Madžari Solidarnost 1-0 KF Rufeja

FK Madžari Solidarnost 1-0 FK Rufeja
Macedonian Second League, Boris Trajkovski Stadium

11. September | Watching from the only shade

KF Flamurtari

KF Flamurtari Prishtina vs unknown opposition
Kosovo Youth Football, Stadion Flamurtarit

12. September | Next generation

Dulwich Hamlet 6-0 Shoreham

Dulwich Hamlet 6-0 Shoreham
FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round, Champion Hill

13. September | Block F

Watford 2-1 Doncaster Rovers

Watford 2-1 Doncaster Rovers
The Championship, Vicarage Road

14. September | Orlando Smith celebrates scoring direct from a corner

Maidstone United 4-4 Harrow Borough

Maidstone United 4-4 Harrow Borough
Isthmian League Premier Division, Gallagher Stadium

15. September | Not windy, just a bent corner flag

Sheffield United InterBlades 2-6 Donny R'sonists

Sheffield United Inter Blades 2-6 Donny R’sonists
IFA Supporters’ Football League, Handsworth Grange

16. September | On air

Sheffield Wednesday 0-1 Doncaster Rovers

Sheffield Wednesday 0-1 Doncaster Rovers
The Championship, Hillsborough

17.  October | Smarter shopping

Doncaster Rovers 1-0 Leicester City

Doncaster Rovers 1-0 Leicester City
The Championship, Keepmoat Stadium

18. October | Usual spot

Bromley 1-2 Heybridge Swifts

Bromley 1-2 Heybridge Swifts
FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round, Hayes Lane

19. October | Entering Heysel

Belgium 1-1 Wales

Belgium 1-1 Wales
FIFA World Cup Qualifying, King Baudouin Stadium

20. October | Waiting for Reading to break their huddle

Reading 4-1 Doncaster Rovers

Reading 4-1 Doncaster Rovers
The Championship, Madejski Stadium

21. October | Believe

Ebbsfleet United 1-1 Dartford

Ebbsfleet United 1-1 Dartford
FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round, Stonebridge Road

22. October | Late arrival

England 2-0 Wales

England 2-0 Wales
FIFA Women’s World Cup Qualifying, The Den

23. November | Kicking into the sun

Barnsley SFC 3-3 Donny R'sonists

Barnsley SFC 3-3 Donny R’sonists
IFA Supporters’ Football League, The Fleets

24. November | A proper football ground

Barnsley 0-0 Doncaster Rovers

Barnsley 0-0 Doncaster Rovers
The Championship, Oakwell

25. November | Midweek football

Charlton Athletic 2-0 Doncaster Rovers

Charlton Athletic 2-0 Doncaster Rovers
The Championship, The Valley

26. November | Red sky at night, Rovers’ delight

Doncaster Rovers 2-1 QPR

Doncaster Rovers 2-1 Queens Park Rangers
The Championship, The Keepmoat Stadium

27. December | TV Gantry

Bolton Wanderers 3-0 Doncaster Rovers

Bolton Wanderers 3-0 Doncaster Rovers
The Championship, Reebok Stadium

28. December | Old faces, new name

Derby County 3-1 Doncaster Rovers

Derby County 3-1 Doncaster Rovers
The Championship, iPro Stadium

29. December | Boxing Day at the other MUFC

Maidstone United 4-0 Margate

Maidstone United 4-0 Margate
Isthmian League Premier Division, Gallagher Stadium

30. December | A cold day at the Keepmoat

Doncaster Rovers 0-0 Millwall

Doncaster Rovers 0-0 Millwall
The Championship, Keepmoat Stadium

31. January | Taking a breather

 QPR 2-1 Doncaster Rovers

Queens Park Rangers 2-1 Doncaster Rovers
The Championship, Loftus Road

32. January | Heading to the match

Doncaster Rovers 3-0 Wigan Athletic

Doncaster Rovers 3-0 Wigan Athletic
The Championship, Keepmoat Stadium

33. January | No alcohol

West Ham United 0-3 Manchester City

West Ham United 0-3 Manchester City
League Cup Semi-Final (2nd leg), Upton Park

34. January | Kick-off

Lewisham Borough 3-8 Seven Acre & Sidcup

Lewisham Borough 3-8 Seven Acre & Sidcup
Kent Invicta League, Ladywell Arena

35. February | Here come the teams

Brighton & Hove Albion 1-0 Doncaster Rovers

Brighton & Hove Albion 1-0 Doncaster Rovers
The Championship, Amex Stadium

36. February | Balti

Doncaster Rovers 2-2 Barnsley

Doncaster Rovers 2-2 Barnsley
The Championship, Keepmoat Stadium

37. February | Glovers

Yeovil Town 1-0 Doncaster Rovers

Yeovil Town 1-0 Doncaster Rovers
The Championship, Huish Park

38. March | Through the round window

AFC Bournemouth 5-0 Doncaster Rovers

AFC Bournemouth 5-0 Doncaster Rovers
The Championship, Dean Court

39. March | Opening up

Nottingham Forest 0-0 Doncaster Rovers

Nottingham Forest 0-0 Doncaster Rovers
The Championship, City Ground

40. March | Celebrating the opener

Doncaster Rovers 1-0 Sheffield Wednesday

Doncaster Rovers 1-0 Sheffield Wednesday
The Championship, Keepmoat Stadium

41. March | They are Leeds

Leeds United 1-2 Doncaster Rovers

Leeds United 1-2 Doncaster Rovers
The Championship, Elland Road

42. April | Dulwich celebrate

Dulwich Hamlet 4-2 Wingate & Finchley

Dulwich Hamlet 4-2 Wingate & Finchley
Isthmian League Premier Division, Champion Hill

43. April | Famous company

Ipswich Town 2-1 Doncaster Rovers

Ipswich Town 2-1 Doncaster Rovers
The Championship, Portman Road

44. April | Oooh it’s a corner

Millwall 0-0 Doncaster Rovers

Millwall 0-0 Doncaster Rovers
The Championship, The Den

45. April | End of season inflatables

Doncaster Rovers 1-3 Reading

Doncaster Rovers 1-3 Reading
The Championship, Keepmoat Stadium

46. April | Half-time discussions

Doncaster Rovers Belles 5-2 Reading

Doncaster Rovers Belles 5-2 Reading
FA Women’s Super League 2, Keepmoat Stadium

47. April | Lost terrace

Eton Manor 3-1 Clapton

Clapton 1-3 Eton Manor
Essex Senior League, Old Spotted Dog

48. May | Tony Bluff prepares to report on his last match

Leicester City 1-0 Doncaster Rovers

Leicester City 1-0 Doncaster Rovers
The Championship, King Power Stadium

49. May | Phone and mug in hand

St Andrews 3-0 Holbrook Sports

St Andrews 3-0 Holbrook Sports
East Midlands Counties League, Canal Street

50. May | Last entry of the season

Yeovil Town 1-2 Doncaster Belles

Yeovil Town Ladies 1-2 Doncaster Rovers Belles
FA Women’s Super League 2, Raleigh Grove