Tag Archives: Dean Saunders

Tea & Biscuits with Sean O’Drsicoll & Dean Saunders

Former Rovers managers Sean O’Driscoll and Dean Saunders come face to face today as Bristol City and Wolverhampton Wanderers meet in the Championship. In issue 62 of popular STAND Jack The Miner imagined a meeting of the two in order to settle the debate over which was indeed the better manager.

Sean O’Driscoll’s 2007/08 promotion winners or Dean Saunders’ promotion-in-waiting side of 2012/13? Which is best?

We’re not talking about what these sides might become in the future but their qualities within the nine months of the promotion season itself. We asked Sean and Dean to settle the issue.

Just after New Years, in a secret location – a hotel lounge somewhere in South Yorkshire – the two men meet and shake hands.

SO’D: Good morning Dean
DS: Hiya Sean. New cagoule?
SO’D: Yes. A pack of three for £19.99. Three different colours. Map pocket too. Have to say I wish I’d bought two packs. Chances like that don’t come along very often. I should have just gone mad.

Sean orders a cup of tea. Dean asks for a Champagne Daiquiri. There is a short delay when Dean asks for one of those small paper umbrellas.

DS: I know you’ll talk about performance and players taking responsibility Sean but it’s a results business. And my lads have got points winning nailed.
SO’D: That’s odd. I’ve seen your boys at home several times this season and not seen them win once.
DS: It doesn’t matter where you pick up the points. We will go up automatically. We won’t need the play-offs like you guys. You averaged 1.73 points per game. We’re on 1.92 points per game.

Dean leans back in his chair and asks for a fresh cherry for his cocktail.

SO’D: Maybe, but we did things with a bit of class. Look at our defence. We had international defenders in Sullivan and Roberts in their prime. Perhaps the best defender in the league in James O’Connor and the huge potential in Matt Mills. Whereas you have…let’s say, solid dependable performers.
DS: I might take the younger O’Connor from you and Sullivan too but, frankly, I ‘m not sure I’d change anything else at the back. Your superstar defence conceded 0.89 goals a game. My lads have conceded 0.92 per game. There’s nothing in it.
Roberts and O’Connor were more of an attacking force than Spurr and Quinn.
DS: Maybe, but we’ve got Rob Jones contributing at set pieces. I don’t recall your defenders chipping in too much. And we score from corners and set pieces. Your side never did that.

Sean unzips his cagoule and investigates the plate of biscuits. He ignores the chocolate digestives, Bourbons and Jammy Dodgers and selects a Rich Tea.

SO’D: You forget we did it creatively from open play. We were creative. Incisive. We had the engine of Paul Green, the quality of Richie Wellens and Brian Stock and the occasional genius of Jamie Coppinger.
DS: Is that the Paul Green you left out because you preferred Mark Wilson?

Sean shuffles in his seat and stirs his tea.

SO’D: It’s all about the right player at the right time. We had an exciting midfield whatever the line up.
DS: Yes, I heard about playing forty consecutive passes before the ball eventually ended up back with Sullivan. Anyway, my midfield can excite too. Look at Cotterill and Bennett.
SO’D: Take Cotterill out of your team and it doesn’t function. We were never heavily reliant upon one player. We didn’t even need Heffernan in the play-off final. We had Coppinger, Stock, Price and Wellens. Players that would get supporters off their seats. With respect, you’ve only got Cotterill that can do that.
DS: But we have firepower up front.
SO’D: Firepower to compare with Heffernan and Hayter?
DS: We average 1.5 goals per game. Everyone chips in. Your side averaged 1.41goals a game. We score more. We defend just as well and win more points. I rest my case.
SO’D: So how come a table topping side like yours is playing in front of dwindling crowds? The fans might enjoy looking at the league table but they don’t want to pay to watch your side.
DS: The crowds are affected by other factors. It’s not just entertainment value. When you were in charge you couldn’t hold a lead despite your ball holding abilities. When you went behind the game was over. My side don’t give it away once we are in front and we’ve come from behind more times in one season than your teams ever did, boyo. Fans like a bit of fight in a side.

Dean orders a pink gin.

DS: Did I tell you I was friends with Mark Lawrenson?
SO’D: On a number of occasions…You know Dean, all these statistics are very well but one important fact is that I finished the job. I got my side out of this league. Read the history books. It’s there. Your job is only half-done. 20 games left. The pitches are still heavy. Suspensions will start to mount and the opposition know all about you now. Rovers history won’t be kind to you if you don’t get your side over the finishing line for some reason.

At this stage we brought in Dave Penney as a neutral observer. What did he think about the two sides?

DaveP: To be fair it’s a tough choice.
DS: Dave, why do you always say that?
DaveP: Say what?
DS: To be fair…
DaveP: I didn’t know I did. No-one has mentioned it before, to be fair…One side could be attractive to watch but brittle. The other isn’t easy on the eye but it doesn’t lie down and die. Both are effective, to be fair.
SO’D: You’re right Dean, he does say that a lot doesn’t he?
DS: He does.
DaveP: I reckon if Saunders Rovers visited O’Driscoll Rovers as the away side they might nick it. I can see Sean’s team getting bogged down in midfield and bouncing off the Saunders back four. If Dean’s side were the home team they’d not win. They just don’t function at home. You wouldn’t keep Heffernan out for two games running and there’d be at least one spark of magic from Stock, Coppinger or Price to make it all square on aggregate. It’d go to penalties to be fair.

Dean finishes off his pink gin and puts the little umbrella in his pocket to take home. Everyone shakes hands. Sean zips up his cagoule.

DS: So, still looking for work?
SO’D: Biding my time Dean, biding my time. If the Norwegian at Wolves doesn’t work out I’d really like the Wolves job. And you? You seeing it through at Rovers?
DS: Oh, sure, yeah. I’ve got no medals on my management C.V. yet. Can’t see a bigger club coming in for me…to be fair.

Both men wander off chuckling to themselves leaving Dave Penney to pick up the bar bill.

Paul Raven’s Newsround 12.10.12

It’s Friday, it’s later than we intended to be bringing it to you. Yes, that’s right, it’s time for Paul Raven’s Newsround, as the ex-Rover brings you up to date with events at the Keepmoat Stadium from the past week.

Grounded Ball

Jordan Ball came across as pleasantly grounded when talking with the official club website about his debut goal against Chesterfield on Tuesday night; the youth team graduate coming from the bench to score with his first ever touch for the Rovers. “This week has been a bit weird really. I had been on loan at Belper and that came to an end [Monday]. The gaffer told me that I would be involved in the game so I trained with the first team as I usually do during the week. I didn’t really realise that I would be on the bench until about five minutes before kickoff! It took a while to sink in but the nerves didn’t really kick in until I was stood on the touchline next to the gaffer and Brian ready to come on. I got amongst the goals at Belper and really enjoyed it but towards the end of my spell I didn’t really play as much as I wanted to, lucky I could come back here and I got my chance – I really enjoyed it.”

Predictable Coverage

In the wake of Ball’s goal on Tuesday night we launched a sweepstake via our twitter feed. How long after the game would it be before the first “Saunders; I told you youngsters would get their chance” story appeared. The correct answer proved to be about 35 hours before The Star gushed ‘Saunders Keeps His Promise’; “The Welshman declared on his appointment last September that one of his priorities would be bringing young players at the club through to first team level and said he looked forward to a time when the club’s first-team regularly contained a sprinkling of home-grown talent. He has proved to be a man of his word.”

Yep, that’s right Saunders has thrown a youngster into a match in the early rounds of a cup when other more senior players weren’t at his disposal, thus apparently proving a statement made a full year ago. The piece went on to quote Saunders offering young players the encouragement; “they’ll get a chance if they are good enough.” Truly revolutionary thinking.

Belles Sound at the End

The Doncaster Rovers Belles ended their second FA Women’s Super League campaign in winning ways with victory over Liverpool on Sunday. After a terrible start to the season the Belles seem to have found their rhythm of late, and followed up an impressive performance against Champions Arsenal with a hard fought 2-0 victory over the reds. Beth England and Aine O’Gorman were on the scoresheet whilst Mary Earps continued to impress in goal for the Belles, and collected a deserved clean sheet. Highlights of the game can be viewed at the foot of this page.

International Break

A few ex-Rovers have been called up to their respective national sides ahead of the current round of international fixtures. Both Dean Shiels and David Healy are in the Northern Ireland squad to face Portugal and Turkey, whilst fanzine favourite Mustapha Dumbuya is back on duty for Sierra Leone.

Non-League Day 2012

This Saturday is the third annual non-league day, an initiative launched to encourage fans of Premier and Football League clubs to support their local non-league sides during the international break. As ever the fanzine is supporting the initiative and we’ve produced a guide to games involving the local non-league sides to provide you with somewhere to go if you’re not off to Hartlepool which you can find here. If you’re an exile then why not take a look at the Non-League Day website for details of a game near you, and adopt your local grassroots team.

And finally…

Rovers began promoting their Big Bang Firework Spectacular this week. One story on the official club website began; “Doncaster Rovers are hoping to make November the fifth a night to remember.” We think Guy Fawkes may’ve beaten them to it to be honest.

Paul Raven’s Newsround 05.10.12

It’s Friday, it’s round about lunchtime. It’s time for the return of Paul Raven’s Newsround, bringing you up todate with Rovers related events from the past seven days…

Coppinger and Wilson Not at the Races

Jamie Coppinger and former team-mate Mark Wilson were in the news yesterday after they, along with Ipswich’s Michael Chopra and six others, were charged with serious breaches of the rules of horse racing following an investigation by the sport’s governing body, the British Horseracing Authority. The group are charged with conspiring to “commit a corrupt or fraudulent practice” under the rules of racing by the BHA the charges allegedly stem from the group conspiring with jockey Andrew Heffernan to fix races with bets being laid to lose on betting exchanges on races run between November 2010 and March 2011. If found guilty they are likely to face lengthy bans from involvement in racing, including attending racecourses or talking to licensed individuals, so the one plus of being charged, would that they’d be legally banned from talking to Willie McKay ever again.

On a serious note though this is a bit of a kick in the teeth for those of us who defended the reputation of the club prior to Rovers’ change in management structure and policy a year ago. Thanks lads, you’ve made us look as silly as you feel. Also, as sponsor of Mark Wilson’s home shirt in the 2006-07 season I would like to distance myself from these allegations; I have nothing further to add, other than don’t put any money on the 4:40 at Uttoxeter.

Dean Saunders; Motivational Speaker

If Dean Saunders is looking for career options post-football then he can probably chalk off ‘motivational speaker’. In the wake of Rovers defeat to Preston on Tuesday night Saunders told the press; Saunders said: “We missed Harper and Hume’s influence against Preston. There wasn’t an awful lot more I could do with the players I had available.” Far be it from me to offer advice in this situation, but that’s your squad Dean, the one you’ve assembled and it’s very likely at times in a 46 game season some of them won’t be available, so you probably better start thinking up some things you can do with them.

Woe is Westley

A lot has changed in football over the last decade, but at least you can always rely on Graham Westley to keep being Graham Westley. In an article on the BBC website titled ‘Graham Westley unhappy with ‘gamesmanship’ claims’ the Preston manager delivered a fantastic rant about suggestions that his teams have a tendency to employ gamesmanship to aid their progress.  Stand out lines from Westley’s diatribe to BBC Radio Lancashire include “It starts to happen to any side that’s got success on the horizon,” because you know, seventh in League One is of course the cusp of greatness.

In a line we can only hope someone at Radio Lancashire has had the forethought to cut and capture Westley stated “It beggars belief that this nonsense actually gets listened to.” We share your pain Graham. The Preston manager ended by making comparisons between his side and some obvious contemporaries; “Manchester City face it, Manchester United face it – everyone starts pointing fingers at sides that look as though they’re going to be successful because they want an excuse for themselves.” The full article can be found here.

Misses Jones

Centre-half an d part-time provincial nightclub bouncer Rob Jones will be unavailable for Rovers match with Shrewsbury this weekend after he picked up his fifth booking of the season against Preston on Tuesday night. The Rovers medical team are currently fashioning a replacement out of Shelton Martis and spare parts.

 Hume You Gonna Call Up

Rovers will be without Iain Hume for two games later this month after the forward was recalled to the Canada squad for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers. Hume will be absent from Rovers’ matches with Chesterfield and Hartlepool as he joins up with the national team for the games against Cuba and Honduras. The Canadian squad includes two other UK based players; Burnley’s David Edgar and Norwich’s Simeon Jackson.

Belles on the Box

Not many women’s football teams go to Arsenal and score four goals, sadly for the Belles, they notched two at either end in a 3-2 defeat live on ESPN last Sunday. The Belles gave a great account of themselves to the audience at home though against the FA Women’s Super League winners, the Gunners having been crowned champions in the hour before kick-off courtesy of Birmingham’s failure to beat Bristol. The Belles struck three times in the first half, but only Aine O’Gorman’s long range effort was in the right net, earning her another drink from our editor. Arsenal extended their lead with 12 minutes to go, but Leandra Little’s late goal ensured the Gunners weren’t given an easy ride. The game’s goals can be viewed on the video at the foot of the page.

When the Shit Hits the… Wall

We’ve all been there; an away game in the big smoke. Arrive early for antiquing on Portobello Road, a quick trip to the Tate for their exhibition on pre-Raphaelite and Victorian Avant-Garde painting, a couple of Sidecars at the Savoy then on to the match, where before you know it the heady mix of lunchtime Cointreau and a David Cotteril tap-in have gone to your head and you’ve smeared DRFC in your own excrement on a toilet wall. Again.

Perhaps the above preamble is fictitious, but it would seem the away end at Orient last Saturday contained at least one numpty who isn’t housebroken, and so the end conclusion was sadly real. Understandably, and quite rightly the club have apologised profusely to Orient. “From the chairman downwards, all staff at Doncaster Rovers condemn this abhorrent behaviour which has tarnished the reputation of the thousands of Rovers’ supporters who travel the length and breadth of the country in support of the club.” The reputation of those who attend home games presumably remains untarnished.

R’sonists in Action

If you can’t wait until Saturday afternoon to watch men in red and white hoops potter about aimlessly without a clear plan of how to break down Shrewsbury, then you’re in luck. Supporters’ team the Donny R’sonists take on their Shrewsbury compatriots at the Ian Wilson CommunityS ports Village in Rossington in the morning, the match is a 10:30am kick-off.

Issue 60 on Sale this Weekend

If you’ve enjoyed all you’ve read above then don’t forget that Issue 60 of the fanzine is on sale at Saturday’s game. The ‘zine will be available outside the Keepmoat ahead of the game, and also from the entrance to Car Park 2 after the match. It is, as ever, still £1.


Paul Raven’s Newsround 06.07.12

A week of comings and goings , well goings at least, to recap for Paul Raven in his Newsround this week. Also featured this week Dean Saunders auditions for the Big Top, and the Belles are in Euro action.

Walker Walks

Director of Football Mickey Walker has been released from his post as part of the restructuring of the club following relegation from the Championship. Though Walker was much-loved by supporters and had done a lot for Rovers, particularly in the club’s return from non-league, it is hard to argue with a business decision to remove a seemingly superfluous role

Lockwood Joins Bury

Former club captain Adam Lockwood has joined fellow League One side Bury having not been offered a new deal by Rovers. Lockwood, who joined the club from Yeovil back in 2006, has been a very loyal and solid member of the squad, making exactly 150 starts for the club. Although hampered by injury in recent seasons Lockwood has always made steady appearances when called upon, and is likely to be a great asset to the Shakers. Given how well Lockwood served Rovers over the years it annoys me that my first go-to memory of him is that header he missed at West Brom two seasons back. For all Lockwood’s attributes I’ll go to my grave wondering how that ball seemingly passed through his head when he only had to nod it home. Such is life, he’ll probably score an identical opportunity when he returns to the Keepmoat with Bury on 21st August.

Gillett Go

Simon Gillett, who featured in every league game for the Rovers last season, is set to move on, having not been offered a new contract by the club. Though the destination is yet unclear Gillett used his twitter account to wish his Rovers team-mates good luck at pre-season training this morning, and said he would be moving on to pastures new. The fanzine extends it’s best wishes to another loyal player who didn’t quite get the respect he sometimes deserved from Rovers fans, and also remains the only man I’ve ever seen trap a ball beneath his knee cap without bending his leg.

Saunders Speaks With Supporters

Manager Dean Saunders last night addressed the Supporters’ Club AGM, facing questions from the club’s fans. Saunders admitted that as yet the club had not received any offers for the contracted players, whilst he was unsure whether those who had not been offered a new contract would be at the club’s first pre-season training session today. Unsurprisingly Fabian Robert and Habib Beye look unlikely to be returning to the club, despite the latter still being contracted to Rovers. The meeting went on to take a bizarre twist as Saunders began performing circus skills to detract from awkward questions, when asked “What about players?” Saunders responded “I’m spinning plates at the moment, and I have five on the go at this point.” He went on to answer questions about Willie McKay’s involvement with an incredible juggling display.

Belles Trio in Euros Action

Doncaster Rovers Belles trio Mary Earps, Beth England and Jess Sigsworth have all been in action at the UEFA Women’s Under 19s Championships in Turkey this past week. Both England and Earps started England’s opening group game against Sweden, which was lost 1-0, with Sigsworth coming on for England, for England, after an hour. All three started the Lionesses’ second group game against Spain last night, but again England were defeated, losing 4-0 at the Titanic Stadium. Their team-mate Kasia Lipka, who was an unused substitute for both matches, will be hoping to get a run-out in the final group game, a dead-rubber, against Serbia.

Matchday Ticket Prices for 2012-13 Announced

Rovers in relatively sensible pricing structure shocker! The club this week announced matchday prices for the new season, with adult tickets for all matches available at £20 if bought in Category B advance.