Doncaster Rovers remain determined to take control of stadium despite relegation

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Doncaster Rovers remain determined to take control of the Keepmoat Stadium - despite being relegated from the Championship.

Attendances at the community stadium at Lakeside will almost certainly be lower next season - but the club still wants to take over the lease from the failing Stadium Management Company.

Business bosses also fear relegation will hit trade in the town on match days.

Dan Fell, spokesman for Doncaster Chamber of Commerce, said less will be spent in bars, cafes and hotels around the town.

He said: “It’s obviously disappointing for the town from a sporting perspective but you have to think about the further consequences.

“Football is a vehicle for bringing in thousands of visitors every couple of weeks and the loss of that is bound to have an impact on the economy.

“Football is also an important contributor to civic pride in the town.

“What we have to do is give the club great support and hope that they will rally next season and they can make it back into the Championship.

“I guess it will be the bars, restaurants and hotels that will suffer, so it is much broader business than the Rovers that will be affected.”

Rovers interim chief executive Gavin Baldwin said the club was ‘looking to the future’ despite relegation to League One after the 4-3 home defeat to Portsmouth on Saturday and still wanted to take over the Keepmoat.

He said: “While we are all extremely disappointed to have been relegated, we are looking to the future and will use the coming weeks to review our strategies in order to ensure that Doncaster Rovers is a club that both the fans and local community can engage with and feel part of.

“Our ambitions to take over the running of the Keepmoat Stadium, if a suitable deal can be done, remain resolute.

“We strongly believe the best future for the stadium and the people of Doncaster is one which sees the Rovers managing the community stadium.

“I am passionate about returning the stadium to the people of Doncaster.”

Mayor of Doncaster Peter Davies said negotiations between the council and club were ongoing and ‘nothing has changed’ despite Rovers’ relegation.

He added: “We are still talking to the Rovers because the SMC is getting no more money from us and this needs to be resolved sooner rather than later.

“We are disappointed that Rovers have been relegated. It’s not very good for the town and it’s sad for the club.”

Rovers will lose at least £500,000 in TV income and without the likes of former Premiership clubs West Ham United, Birmingham City, and Middlesbrough no longer bringing big followings, there will be fewer fans in the away end at the Keepmoat, meaning a loss in ticket revenue.

Richard McAvoy, proprietor of the Mount Pleasant Hotel on Great North Road, said they would suffer because they played host to Championship teams staying overnight before matches at the Keepmoat.

“It is regrettable because when you count up that revenue it’s quite a lot.

“We had started getting a lot of away teams staying here and as many of the lower teams don’t stay overnight we are expecting less business next season.”

But Craig Dowie, who runs the Crown Hotel in Bawtry, said he hoped Rovers would bounce back in the same way that Sheffield United have this season.

“United and Sheffield Wednesday are pacemakers in League One and that’s been good for the city so let’s hope Doncaster will be up there at the end of next season.”