July 15, 2003
Rovers 0 Sheffield Wednesday 2

Rovers began their pre-season matches in promising fashion this evening as they entertained Sheffield Wednesday at Belle Vue. Turning out virtually two different teams in each half, including three trialists (one of which was ex-Rover Robert Betts) Rovers comfortably held their higher league opponents to a scoreless first half, and were heading the same way before drama unfolded in the second half which followed Rovers conceding a penalty, with a Sheffield Wednesday player using his elbow in a retaliatory action, meaning that a red card was shown. A spectacular 35-yard volley shortly afterwards caught Barry Richardson off his line as the ball flew into the top right corner of the ent.
The start of the match was delayed by fifteen minutes due to an incredible crowd of over 6,200 - higher than all home games last season except for the play-off match against Chester City.
A match report will appear on this site in the morning.

July 15, 2003
Rovers v Owls

Rovers play their first pre-season game this evening since reporting back for training at the beginning of the month, when they entertain Sheffield Wednesday at Belle Vue (kick-off 7.30pm). The match marks Wednesday's third match back, with the Sheffield club understood to be bringing the first team squad for the game. Rovers boss Dave Penney is likely to use most of his first team squad in the game, after saying yesterday that most players are likely to get 45 minutes each. We will bring news of the game later this evening.

Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Kevin Pressman will definitely not play though. He has suffered a knee injury, and is likely to miss all of the pre-season campaign. New signing Ola Tidman will continue in goal this evening - Chris Stringer will also miss the game due to injury.

July 15, 2003
Paul's "Fan of the season"

The Doncaster Star has awarded the "Fan of the Season" to Paul Mayfield. Paul puts in many hours on behalf of supporters and the club, including organising the Supporters' Club coach travel for away games. He also mans the tannoy for matches at Belle Vue - a task he performs on behalf of the Viking Supporters' Co-operative. We would like to congratulate Paul on this most deserved award - he will be receiving his prize early in the new season.

As reported yesterday, Paul is asking for anyone who is interested in a place on a bus to Bradford Park Avenue on Saturday to contact him as soon as possible - either at the match tonight, via the Supporters Club shop or on 01427 880154. The cost is likely to be £5 to £6, depending on numbers, with anticipated departure times being Retford 11.30am, Bawtry 11.45, Rossington Bridge 11.50, Belle Vue 11.55, Doncaster Royal Infirmary 12.05 and Waterale 12.15. Please remember, the bus will only run if there are sufficient numbers.

July 15, 2003
Dean to Hucknall

Former Rovers left back Dean Barrick has been transferred from Nuneaton Borough to UniBond side Hucknall Town. Dean joined Nuneaton during last season after losing his place in the Rovers side to Chris Beech.

July 14, 2003
Jamie to Sandgrounders?

Former Rovers centre back Jamie Squires is training with Southport this week in the hope of a possible transfer to the club. Squires signed for Nuneaton last season following his departure from Rovers last summer, but missed much of the season due to injury. Squires' availability comes as Nuneaton make a large number of changes to their squad as they bid to bounce back into the Conference at the first attempt.

July 14, 2003
Ryan has a few friends round!

Rovers chairman John Ryan hosted a charity football match at his Cheshire home yesterday afternoon, which featured the likes of Bryan Robson, Norman Whiteside, Paul McGrath, Peter Reid and Ricky Hatton. The event was staged to raise money to send under-privileged children on holiday, and takes place on the pitch that Ryan has recently had installed at his home.

July 14, 2003
Bus to Bradford

The Retford branch of the Supporters club are considering putting a bus on to the Bradford Park Avenue pre-season game on Saturday 19th July. The bus will only be arranged if there are sufficient numbers - please contact Paul Mayfield on 01427 880154 if you are interested, or want further details.

July 14, 2003
Edwards stays on at Wrexham

Former Rovers midfielder Paul Edwards has signed a new contract with his current club, Wrexham. Edwards has played for Altrincham and Swindon Town since leaving Belle Vue in 1997. He made just five appearances for as an eighteen-year old Rovers after arriving from Curzon Ashton.

July 13, 2003
Richie stays on

Ex-Rovers striker Richie Barker has signed a two-year extension to his contract at First Division Rotherham United, where he has already been for the past eighteen months. Barker, who arrived at Millmoor from Macclesfield Town, spoke of his delight at signing a new deal with his home town team. He played for Rovers whilst on loan from Sheffield Wednesday in the 1995/96 season.

July 13, 2003
The goals round-up

It may be only mid-August, but the pre-season friendly fixtures have already started, and we begin our review of goals scored this week by former Rovers players. This week that centres on the Witton Albion v Worksop Town match. Worksop's first goal - reportedly a candidate for goal of the season even though it was their first pre-season game - came from a Matt Caudwell shot from wide on the left which flew past the Witton keeper. Former Rovers striker Robert Pell scored his first goal since arriving at the club for Town's second - and rounded the afternoon off by netting their fifth goal in a 5-1 win by lobbing the goalkeeper.

July 13, 2003
Rovers vacancies

The Rovers official site has advertised vacancies for "Promotional Staff" to work in the Corporate Lounges on match days. Candidates should have a confident manner, be presentable and reliable. Those with bar and catering experience will be preferred. If anyone wishes to be considered for the posts, they should contact 07776 144 366 to arrange an appointment.

July 12, 2003
Joe planning a takeover?

Former Rovers boss Joe Kinnear, recently deposed as manager at Luton Town, is reported to be planning to form a consortium to oust Luton's managing director following the controvertial events which have surrounded the recent acquisition of the club by John Gurney's consortium. Kinnear is in talks with several potential investors, and would be willing to consider a return as manager if Gurney was removed from the club. Of the current situation, "I really do fear the worst", said Kinnear.

In the meantime, Luton have been censured by the Football League over the financial management at the club, and as well as having a transfer embargo imposed, are having all central funding from the League withheld. With doubts over the financial situation at Luton, the League have stated that Luton Town FC have been unable to satisfy them of the club's financial stability, and have not supplied requested business plans, financial projections or details of the owning consortium. In a separate article, the BBC report that Luton supporters have stopped buying season tickets, and have pledged the money to the Luton Supporters' Trust instead.

July 12, 2003
John's charity game

The Rovers official site has given some details of a charity match being held at John Ryan's home on Sunday, although the event is by invitation only. A Rovers side, including Dave Penney, Paul Barnes and Mickey Walker, will face a celebrity team featuring Viv Anderson, Norman Whiteside, Adrian Heath and Scott McGarvey.

July 12, 2003
Gareth on trial at Saints

Former Rovers youth team player Gareth Gwynn is reported to be on trials at Scottish club St Mirren, along with a number of other hopeful players. Gwynn was due to play in a pre-season match between St Mirren and a Transfer Window XI, of which the most notable names are David Van Zenten (an Irish youth international), Pepe Deakhatu (Senegal under-21 international) and Beniot Lang, a 35-times capped player for Luxembourg.

July 11, 2003
The Rovers/Belles merger

The Doncaster Belles web site has reported that the Belles have joined forces with Doncaster Rovers. The merger, which has been discussed for several months, appeared to have stalled, but this news means that the long-term concept has gone through. Belles' general manager Mick Abrahams confrimed, however, that Rovers will not be financing the Belles at all, and the Belles will remain independent for financing and decision making from Rovers. He confirmed that the Belles will join Rovers and the Dragons in the Community Stadium upon completion of the stadium. As part of the merger, the Belles will play eight home matches at Belle Vue, with the rest of their games being played at their regular ground at Brodsworth Welfare FC.
Belles also stated that they will be moving their club shop into the Rovers club shop for the start of the pre-season. The strengthening links between Rovers and the Belles follows another Belles/Rovers connection - the recent appointment of former Rovers player John Buckley as the Belles' new manager, following the departure of Julie Chipchase to Leeds United Ladies.

July 11, 2003
Rovers check on Betts for possible Rovers return?

Further to our news of yesterday morning that former Hibernian defender Paul Hilland is having trials at Doncaster Rovers, the official site have now given details of several other players who are currently training with Rovers with the a hope of landing contracts. Robert Betts, a former youth team player who left for Coventry City in 1998, is, to Rovers fans, the most well known of the trialists. The other names are Michael Cole, a young right back from Blackburn Rovers, with midfielders Paul Thompson (from Chelsea) and Leslie Byle (from Hibernian) joining ex-Mansfield player David Jervis at the club. The Rovers official site hints that Betts and Cole may take part in the first pre-season game against Sheffield Wednesday which takes place at Belle Vue next Tuesday.

July 11, 2003
Shirt sponsors

The Rovers official web site has reported that due to the difficulties they have had in arranging the end-of-season dinner that should have taken place at the end of last season due to Rovers' continuing involvement in the play-offs. Although there were intimations at the end of last season that the dinner and presentations would take place, it now appears that this is not so, with Alick Jeffrey asking shirt sponsors to advise him of their addresses, so the shirts they have sponsored can be posted out to them.

July 10, 2003
Paul on trial

The Planet Football web site has reported that former Hibernian defender Paul Hilland is currently training with Rovers in the hope of landing a contract. He began his career at Hibernian in 2001, but went on loan at Cowdenbeath in January 2003 when he had failed to secure a first team place, making just three appearances for the club.
However, in an interview on Radio Sheffield on Tuesday evening, assistant manager Mickey Walker said that they would probably start the season without any further signings.

July 10, 2003
Pre-season games

Rovers have stated that the pre-season friendly fixture against Sheffield Wednesday is NOT all-ticket. Admission prices for all the pre-season games are: Main stand seating £10 for adults, £5 for concessions, Standing areas £7 for adults, £3 for concessions.

July 10, 2003
Belle Vue break-in

Rovers have reported that the club offices were broken into on Tuesday evening, but that the thieves fled empty-handed after the alarms went off. If anyone has any information regarding this incident, please contact either the police or the club. Rovers state that no cash, cameras or equipment are kept in the Belle Vue offices overnight.

July 9, 2003
Rovers duo sign

Further to our news of two days ago that former Rovers players Jon Cullen and Danny Hudson were on pre-season trials at Halifax Town, the BBC now report that they duo have been offered contracts at The Shay after impressing Halifax boss Chris Wilder. Wilder is still looking for a goalkeeper to replace ex-Rover Lee Butler, and is currently checking out former Rushden & Diamonds and Northampton keeper Adam Sillitt.

July 9, 2003
Rovers open day

The Viking Supporters' Co-operative web site have given further details of the Rovers' Open Day which is to be held between 1pm and 4pm on Sunday, 20th July. The club are hoping that as many organisations and companies will take a stand at the event - the more they get will make the day more successful. If anyone wants to have a stand, please contact Belle Vue, or the VSC via Andy Liney.

There will be a chance to be photographed with the play-off trophy, as well as to meet the players and management. Other entertainment is also hoped to be laid on - more details will be released in due course.

July 9, 2003
Ryan gives Rovers guarantee

In last week's Doncaster Free Press, Rovers chairman John Ryan gave a guarantee that the club would continue to be safe and debt free, even when he leaves Belle Vue. Ryan pledged his continuing involvement, but accepts that one day he may no longer be either a director or chairman. "I can give supporters a cast-iron guarantee that the club will not owe me or my relatives a penny" he said. (See the Doncaster Free Press for further details)

July 8, 2003
Rovers sign McGrath

Doncaster Rovers signed John McGrath on a free transfer from Aston Villa yesterday, following his release from the Premiership club this summer. McGrath, a wide-left player, made three first team appearances as a substitute, and joined Villa from Belevedere in 1999. He spent the latter part of last season on loan at Dagenham & Redbridge - and played against Rovers in the Promotion Final at Stoke!
John is 23 years old, 5feet 10 inches tall, and was born in Limerick, Ireland. He is a Republic of Ireland under-21 international player.

July 8, 2003
Ex-Rover moves to North Ferriby

Chris Gowan, a former Rovers youth team player, has signed for UniBond First Division side North Ferriby United after completing a transfer from Frickley Athletic. He started his career at York City, and on his arrival at his new club, spoke of how the set-up impressed him, and of his optimism of promotion at the end of the season.

July 8, 2003
Jack gets Blades move

Sheffield United yesterday signed Nottingham Forest's former Rovers striker Jack Lester, after the expiry of his contract at the end of last season. With an impressive scoring ratio, Blades' boss Neil Warnock said he had tried to sign Lester on several previous occasions, and has long-admired the player. Lester was due to meet up with his new team mates yesterday for their first day of pre-season training.

July 7, 2003
Telford eye Brodie

Telford United are showing an interest in Chester City strikers Mark Beesley and ex-Rover Steve Brodie as they continue to strengthen their squad for the forthcoming Conference season. Beesley failed to hold down a regular first team place last season, and Brodie ended the campaign on loan at Nuneaton Borough, with Mark Quayle moving on loan in the opposite direction. It was hoped that the "loan swap" would become permanent during this summer, but Brodie is reported to be unwilling to drop below Conference level.

July 7, 2003
Noteman to Retford
Kevin Noteman, who played for Rovers between 1989 and 1992, during which time he made over 100 appearances, has joined Retford United, making his debut on Saturday when they faced Peterborough United in a pre-season friendly. Kevin played for Chester and Mansfield in the Football League, and has appeared for several clubs since dropping into the Non-League scene in 1998.
July 7, 2003
Two in Shay trials

Former Rovers players Jon Cullen and Danny Hudson have been reported to be having trials at The Shay as Halifax look to boost their squad in advance of a promotion challenge this season. Hudson was on loan at Belle Vue last season, returning to Millmoor before being released at the end of his contract this summer. Cullen began his career at Rovers, coming through the youth team to make his debut in the last match of the 1989/90 season, with his Football League career taking in for Hartlepool United, Sheffield United and Peterborough United. He played for Spennymoor United last season.

July 6, 2003
Trinity sign Alford

Former Rovers and England semi-professional international striker Carl Alford has completed a transfer to UniBond Premier League side Gainsborough Trinity following his release from Nuneaton Borough. Alford joined Boro in an initiative that saw the fans club together to fund the move, but his efforts were not enough to save them being relegated from the Conference on the very last day of the season.

July 6, 2003
Lottery results

The latest results in the Viking Lucky Seven Weekly Lottery are:
£1000:G0499, £500:Y5121, £250:O2802, £125:J0578. There are 56 people with different letters to prefix these numbers who each win £10.

July 6, 2003
Rovers open day

Doncaster Rovers have announced that they are to hold an "Open Day" at Belle Vue on Sunday, 20th July, between 1pm and 4pm. There will be the opportunity for supporters to look around Belle Vue, with other attractions being announced closer to the date. The Rovers players and management will be in attendance at the event.

July 5, 2003
Rovers youth team

Doncaster Rovers yesterday announced that they will not be running their Youth Team for next season, owing to the funding system by the PFA. It appears that the PFA do not fund youth team players during the first season in the Football League, and the club cannot take on the extra financial cost without their assistance. The club have, however, confirmed that the youth side will be back for the following season, when the PFA funding will again be available. Whilst disappointed at the decision, boss Dave Penney has said that they will continue to look at players, with Dickman, Maloney, Drury, Craig and Frazer all being kept on at the club. This could mean they play in the reserve team, or are loaned out to Conference and UniBond sides to gain further experience.

July 5, 2003
Woods for Vics?

Andy Woods, the Scarborough, England semi-professional international and former Rovers goalkeeper, has been reported as beign about to sign for Nationwide Conference side Northwich Victoria. The 27-year old player has rejected the new contract offered to him by Scarborough, and new Northwich manager Steve Davis has reported that talks with the player went well.

July 5, 2003
Play-off videos and programmes

Video recordings of the two Promotion play-off semi-finals will be available in the club shop later this month, along with one of the Promotion Final from Stoke. The club also report that a compilation video of last season will be available later in the year.
The club shop also have a limited number of the Promotion Final programmes available, priced at £5.50.

July 4, 2003
Rovers return to training

Rovers have a number of trialists training with the squad further to the players returning for pre-season training on Tuesday. All playres were back, including Jamie Price and Justin Jackson, who have recovered well from operations, and have taken a full part in the sessions this week. New signing, Leo Fortune-West, has apparently settled in welll after meeting his new team-mates on Tuesday.
Dave Penney has stated on the official site that all players will be given a run-out in the pre-season games, with the trialists also getting a chance. He also hinted that Rovers are looking to add three players to the squad to replace those who left in the summer - a left back, a central midfielder and a wide-left player, but they also require a reserve keeper owing to the departure of Stuart Nelson.

July 4, 2003
Warnock plays down Deane move

Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock has expressed his doubts that former Rovers striker Brian Deane would return to Bramall Lane. There have been several rumours circulating this summer that a return was on the cards, but Warnock indicated that financial constraints would prevent the move, even though he is a long-standing admirer of the player.

July 4, 2003
Cramb move

Former Rovers striker Colin Cramb has signed for newly relegated Shrewsbury Town on a two-year contract. The 29-year old striker was released from Bury at the end of last season, with new Shrews boss Jimmy Quinn saying "He's going to be a terrific aquisition for the club". Quinn also spoke of his intention for Shrewsbury to make as quick a return to Division Three as possible.
Cramb was the last player to hit the 20-goal a season mark until Paul Barnes did so last season, doing so in the 1996/97 season, his second season at the club, during which time he made sixty appearances before leaving for Bristol City in a £200,000 move.

July 3, 2003
Rankine released

Preston North End manager Craig Brown has released former Rovers defender Mark Rankine after coming to an agreement with the player to end his contract, despite it having another year to run. Rankine, who played for Sheffield United at the end of last season, played part in their dramatic play-off matches, has only played a few matches following the arrival of Brown as boss.
Mark played for Rovers in either a right back or midfield role over 160 times between 1987 and 1992, scoring twenty goals.

July 3, 2003
Joe to sue Hatters

Former Rovers manager Joe Kinnear, recently sacked as manager at Luton Town under controversial circumstances last month, is considering taking legal action against Luton, claiming he is owed two months wages by the club. Kinnear claims he has made three appointments to see Town's chairman, John Gurney, but that Gurney has failed to turn up. Although Luton claim that the dismissal letters to Kinnear and his assistant, Mick Harford, were the result of a "misunderstanding", he was only offered his job back if he won the telephone poll (which saw Mike Newell appointed boss). Kinnear spoke of his regret at having to consider such drastic action: "It doesn't solve anything, but there's nothing left for me to do" he said.

July 3, 2003
Peyton becomes a Railwayman

Warren Peyton, who joined Rovers on a short term contract during last season, has signed for Conference side Leigh RMI following the expiry of his contract at Belle Vue. Peyton becomes Leigh's third England semi-professional player, joining Neil Durkin and Martyn Lancaster at the club. Mark Patterson said of Peyton : "Warren is a hard-working and solid left-sided midfielder.", and then said that he is now targetting a big centre-forward, and is rumoured to be after former Stockport striker Brett Angell.

July 2, 2003
Atkins arrives back in Yorkshire

Doncaster-born former Rover Mark Atkins has signed for UniBond Premier League club Harrogate Town following the expiry of his contract at Shrewsbury Town this summer. Atkins, still only 34, was manager for Shrewsbury's final Division Three match of last season. Mark will also be assisting Harrogate's assistant manager/head coach Neil Aspin with coaching duties.

July 2, 2003
Stuart joins Hucknall

Stuart Nelson, released by Rovers this summer, has been persuaded to join UniBond Premier League side Hucknall Town by their new Director of Football, Steve Burr. Burr is still hoping to make further additions to the Hucknall squad, with striker Danny Bacon also arriving at he club this week from Mansfield Town, and former England semi-pro Gary Patterson from Farnborough Town.

July 2, 2003
Belle Vue improvements

Work began to extend the terracing at the Town End of Belle Vue on Monday. The work will enlarge the Town End terrace by around 1,400. An extension of the away "Rossington" end will raise that capacity to 1,800, a rise of over 600 places. All the improvements will mean that the capacity of Belle Vue will be 9,500 next season.
Rovers were also installing a new away tunnel cover at Belle Vue, which is necessary to comply with Football League ground requirements.

July 2, 2003
Carruthers for Donny?

Former Rovers centre back Russ Wilcox, now assistant manager at Scunthorpe, has spoken in the Scunthorpe Telegraph last week of his suspicion that striker Martin Carruthers, who had previously agreed to sign a new contract at Glanford Park, was to sign for Doncaster. "I don't know why, but I just have this feeling it could be Doncaster" he told the newspaper. Irons boss Brian Laws had previously spoken on the BBC website of his annoyance at the striker letting him down after previously verbally agreeing a deal. Carruthers, 30, is understood to have only been offered reduced terms for his new contract at Scunthorpe.
With the signing of Leo Fortune-West on Monday, Wilcox's suspicions appear unfounded, especially with the number of strikers currently on the books at Belle Vue.

July 1, 2003
Miller coaching in States

It has been reported in the local press that former Rovers captain Barry Miller has been coaching in Seattle. Miller was released by Rovers at the end of his contract this summer, although the Rovers management did say last season that they would be willing for him to attend pre-season training to prove his fitness to both themselves and other clubs.

July 1, 2003
Players back today

The Rovers squad report back for their first day of training today after their summer break, with new striker Leo Fortune West joining up with his new team mates for the first time. The first pre-season match against Sheffield Wednesday is due to be played in a fortnight.

July 1, 2003
Deane to make Lane return?

The Doncaster Star reported last night that Sheffield United remained hopeful that former Rovers striker Brian Deane would make a return to Bramall Lane this summer. Reports from Leicester City suggest that the striker is now considered surplus to requirements, and that City manager Micky Adams is considering granting him a free transfer. Blades' boss Neil Warnock is a long-standing admirer of the player, and has made two previous attempts to lure him back to Sheffield.