A parting of the ways after a split in ideas: The story of Darren Ferguson's departure from Doncaster Rovers

'‹The rollercoaster tenure of Darren Ferguson at Doncaster Rovers is over, hitting the buffers in surprising fashion on Monday night.

Tuesday, 5th June 2018, 12:31 pm
Darren Ferguson

It was a departure that was surprising and not so surprising in equal measure. This rollercoaster was beginning to creak months before it would grind to a halt.

Ferguson and those above him at Rovers had began to grow apart and ultimately, the differences proved irreconcilable.

On one side, a club hierarchy that has stuck proudly and nobly to a principle of sustainability, doing so in a spiraling market where most others are hardly keeping a close eye on the balance sheet.

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On the other, a fiercely ambitious manager, dreaming of a return to the Championship and convinced he could get there with the right financial backing.

Both wanted to reach the same destination but had differing ideas on how to get there.

Ferguson felt he needed a larger budget than he was being offered if he was to take Rovers to the next level.

Though he stuck to the party line earlier in his management of the club, this year was different.

But it cannot be denied the frustration was there a year ago as Ferguson discovered the purse strings would not be loosened as much as he would have hoped on the return to League One.

There was a desperate push to free up wages for new additions with the transfer-listing of several players, including Andy Williams.

But this would not work out as hoped with Andy Williams - one of the highest earners at the club - staying put after it became clear he could not be moved on without further cost.

It continued through the ill-fated and frankly painful pursuit of Steven Taylor.

Ferguson spoke of having to sell the veteran ex-Newcastle United skipper a vision in order to lure him to the Keepmoat. In the end, finances told and Taylor would join Peterborough United, on considerably higher wages than he was offered at Doncaster.

Ferguson did not want to make signings for the sake of it. He wanted quality over quantity but could not afford it and, in the end, both he and the team had to go without.

He kept his frustrations quiet - publicly at least - though there were times when they were clearly niggling away at him.

The dissatisfaction could not he hidden this summer however.

His mood shifted from 'it is what it is' to 'this is what it should be.' From one type of resignation to another.

While not outright stating his displeasure with the finances made available to him, Ferguson was sending less-than-subtle messages in press conferences as soon as budget negotiations with the board began.

It began with comments about the need for progression and the requirement of everyone at the club from top to bottom to be behind that.

As talks became more protracted and it became clear they were not progressing in the manner Ferguson would have liked, he was even less coy.

"I don’t want to be a League One manager and I’ve made that clear."

But in a matter of days, he switched talk of having two options for every position to having a small squad.

"I would go for certainly quality over numbers, I think I’ve got no choice with that."

It appeared as though he was begrudgingly accepting the hand he was being dealt and pressing on.

That was not the case. And the situation has come to a head after a month of thinking time for the now departed Rovers boss.

It should not be forgotten that Ferguson has plenty to be thankful to the club for.

He admitted that if this job had gone wrong then his managerial career would have been in tatters.

In Rovers he found a stable club at which to rebuild his reputation as a fine lower league manager.

He was backed to make the changes he saw fit, given the opportunity and resources to right the wrongs of an unthinkable relegation and was under little pressure from above throughout.

Ferguson will no doubt go on to another good job. And he deserves to.

But some gratitude should be shown towards Rovers for his ability to do so.

Unfortunately, it feels as though he has left a job unfinished.

Handed plenty of power to rebuild the playing arm of the club how he saw fit, he was making good progress, despite an underwhelming campaign.

The foundations were laid for a push towards the upper reaches of League One in the coming season.

But it appears the building job was not progressing fast enough for Ferguson's liking.