Rovers’ chairman Ryan looks on the bright side

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IT was good to hear Doncaster Rovers’ chairman John Ryan speaking so positively about next season this week.

I must admit, even taking into account the fact Ryan is as passionate a supporter as you will find, that I wondered whether after all that has happened this season if he would have the appetite for the job. He clearly has.

There have been strong rumours that fellow millionaires Dick Watson and Terry Bramall, who both quit as directors earlier this year but remained as major shareholders, could return in some capacity next season.

If that were to prove the case, that would be a massive boost for all parties, especially Ryan.

Although there will still have to be major cutbacks due to the fact that Rovers will be several million pound worse off in League One than in the Championship, they would probably not be so deep as would otherwise be the case were Ryan to remain the only main ‘money’ man.

The big question fans are anxious to know the answer to is: what are the club’s ambitions for next season?

Will Rovers be looking to consolidate and start to build from scratch or will they be looking to make a serious attempt to bounce straight back?

The situation should start to become a little clearer in the next few days when the retained list is announced.

Further down the line, it will be interesting to see how much of a fight, if at all, the club put up to try and fend off any approaches they may receive from other clubs for leading players such as James Coppinger, Brian Stock and George Friend, who are still under contract.

I was saddened on my return to work after a five-week lay-off on Thursday to learn that Maurice Young had died. I knew 79 year-old Maurice, who was a keen Dons’ supporter many years ago, both through his connections with rugby league and cricket.

It will be cricket for which he will be most remembered in the town, however. He served many clubs in the town including Doncaster Town, Brodsworth and Rossington Main.

He was always particularly keen on helping to develop young players and played a significant role in the progress of pace bowler Peter Martin, who went on to play for both Lancashire and England, during his time at Rossington.

Peter was one of the mourners at Maurice’s funeral which, I’m told, was very well attended.

Watching former world heavyweight boxing champion Frank Bruno on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories last week reminded me of the time that I interviewed him on a visit to Doncaster many years ago. I had arranged with his manager for a five-minute slot to do an interview during a promotional visit and subsequently requested a full page for the story.

Unfortunately, Frank, who was world champion at the time, was running late and my time with him was reduced to around 75 seconds.

Conscious of the amount of space I had to fill, I fired questions at him as quickly as I could. But my hopes of getting anywhere near an in-depth interview weren’t helped by the famous Bruno chuckle.

After virtually every question, affable Frank’s answer was followed by several chuckles which served only to eat further into my allotted time with him.

I think I managed to get something like four or five replies from him before he was whisked away.”