We can still beat the drop

Chairman: John Ryan with manager Dean Saunders.      Picture: steve taylor
Chairman: John Ryan with manager Dean Saunders. Picture: steve taylor
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After 11 years as chief executive at Doncaster Rovers, Dave Morris stepped down from his post on Wednesday. He became the fifth high profile figure off the board to depart the Keepmoat Stadium in 2012. Rovers chairman John Ryan talks to The Star’s Dom Howson about Morris’s departure, the future and the battle to beat the drop.

When was it you found out Dave was leaving the club and what was your reaction?

“We had a chat a couple of days ago. It was not a shock.

“Dave did a great job and had 11 great years but things do change once in a while. I think it is not bad going for a chief executive to last 11 years.

“He has done a brilliant job but we have to look to the future at all times in football.

“Managers come and go. Chief executives come and go. Chairman come and go. That’s the nature of football. People move on but we have to move onwards and upwards.

“We are very grateful for the job Dave has done but we have Gavin Baldwin and Lee Ferraby heading things up and I have great hopes with them.

What will Gavin bring to the role?

“I think he will bring an awful lot. Both he and Lee are young, ambitious and got an opportunity to show what they can do.

Four other directors recently resigned from the club, is there going to be a boardroom reshuffle over the summer?

“I can’t answer that. I would like to get other investors in but at this moment in time there is no one on the horizon.

How frustrating is it that you have not secured new investment?

“Obviously it would be nice to get some investors in. We are continually trying. Football is on hard times at the moment. If you can point me in the way of a Russian millionaire or Malaysian billionaire that would be most welcome!

With Dave going, how hard is it for you personally right now?

“It is extremely tough but I have been here 14 years and I was on my own to a great extent for many years prior to Terry [Bramall] and Dick [Watson] coming on board. This is nothing new to me.

In total, Rovers play nine times in March. How challenging has the schedule been for the squad?

“I think they [the players] are a bit tired. The fixtures have been disgraceful. They have not helped us and there is a lot I could say about that.

“Three matches in the space of six days is not good. I don’t know why our home game with Birmingham could not be switched to the Sunday. It is crazy particularly with the intensity of the Championship games.

“When it comes to the fixtures, I don’t think we have ever been given a fair crack of the whip in the whole time we have been in the league.

Can the team stay up?

“We can still get out of trouble. It is a four-horse race and one of ourselves, Portsmouth, Coventry and Bristol City are going to get out of it so let’s hope it is us!

“I thought Nottingham Forest and Millwall might drop into it but they have pulled away. Someone else might drop into it but the reality is it is between four clubs.

“Hope springs eternal. Before the last two home games, we were looking in good shape. We have had two shocking results and we now have to go to Southampton and try to pick some points up.

“We have got the players in the squad to get us out of the situation we are in. It is up to them to stand up and be counted for now.

“Football is a weird game. All we need to do is go to Southampton and win!

“They might just take it easy against us. We are going for the double over them.

How do you reflect on this year?

“It is going to be a season which lives long in the memory. It has been a rollercoaster there is no doubt about that.

“The die was set almost on the first day of the season when Billy Sharp was horrendously tackled and was out for three months. I’m sure we would have got a lot more points if that had not happened.