Doncaster Rovers: Review and analysis of ‘Meet The Owners’

Darren Ferguson speaking at Doncaster Rovers' Meet The Owners event. Photo: Phil Ryan
Darren Ferguson speaking at Doncaster Rovers' Meet The Owners event. Photo: Phil Ryan
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His job so far may have been met with near-universal acclaim but Darren Ferguson found himself the most closely scrutinised panellist at Rovers’ latest Meet The Owners event.

To say that it took around 50 minutes for a question to be asked about matchday catering shows just how much on-field matters were top of the agenda in the Legends Suite at the Keepmoat.

Dick Watson, David Blunt, Terry Bramall, Gavin Baldwin, Darren Ferguson and Andrew Watson speaking at Doncaster Rovers' Meet The Owners event in February 2016

Dick Watson, David Blunt, Terry Bramall, Gavin Baldwin, Darren Ferguson and Andrew Watson speaking at Doncaster Rovers' Meet The Owners event in February 2016

Of course there were the queries and complaints about the usual topics of buying tickets online and the price of pies.

But there must have been one or two moments when the titular owners wondered why they had even turned up, so little were they pushed on issues.

On the occasion of his first appearance at Rovers’ bi-annual event, Ferguson was firmly in the spotlight.

And he had the assembled supporters eating out of the palm of his hand.

He joked at the right moments, but more importantly, he did not shirk a single answer.

Ferguson justified his decisions head-on and left very few dissatisfied with his responses.

It is worth noting that the evening came after the most disappointing run of results of his short tenure, where the play-off hopes raised by his rejuvenation of Rovers have slowly faded away.

In short, had Meet The Owners been held a month ago, Ferguson would have had a much easier and quieter night.

But while he came in for scrutiny, his performance in the dock will have only raised confidence that he will deliver success, even if it comes in the longer term.

He began by facing a question on why he chose not to add a defender to his ranks in January – inevitable given the poor run of results.

And he left no stone unturned in his response, delivering the detail the local media have to come to expect from him.

Ferguson spoke of the versatility of the defenders in his ranks and dropped in a stat or two about their performances before the recent sticky patch.

It was very difficult to argue with his reasoning.

He had the room in stitches when he was asked if he could loan players from Manchester United, where his dad has some sway.

“I don’t want any!” he retorted, poking fun at the demise of the giants.

He knew when to bat away difficult or poorly worded questions with a quick joke before following up by making sense of it all.

Aside from Ferguson, chief executive Gavin Baldwin continued to be the man who fielded most of the questions about off-field operational matters.

But chairman David Blunt continued his recent trend of speaking on boardroom matters.

Blunt – still a relatively unknown figure to many Rovers supporters – was handed the task of unveiling Ferguson in October and seems to be increasingly speaking on behalf of primary owners Dick Watson and Terry Bramall.

But the star was undoubtedly Ferguson.

Praising supporters both home and away certainly did not do his opinion poll rating any harm.

“The game that stuck out for me was the Gillingham game when we were 2-0 down – you were unbelievable,” he said.

“All the players spoke about it after the game.

“When we got to 2-1, I don’t think anyone in that ground thought we couldn’t get a result.

“That’s important. Your belief there carried us over the line.”

The only people who will have left disappointed were those sticking money on an early question about queuing times on the concourse.