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A transfer revolution… Doncaster?

Doncaster Rovers are a team that have been existence since1879, and like many lower league clubs, have a loyal following who take great pride in their beloved club. Donny have made an impressive assent through the divisions recently that have seen them go from a non-league knockabouts to championship stalwarts in the space of less than 10 years. 

Despite this, I’m sure even the most die hard Rovers fan would not be offended if I, nor anyone else were to claim that they are not a “footballing powerhouse”

So why then, has this season seen Doncaster acquire the signatures of experienced international footballers, many of them having seen a fair amount of action in some of Europe’s top leagues? Was Senegalese international striker El Hadji Diouf lured in by the rich history of Doncaster’s production of butterscotch confectionary? Did Pascal Chimbonda swap the bright light of London for the convenience of easy access to the M1? Probably not. 

It would appear that the reason is simple. Willie McKay.

McKay has brought in at the Keepmoat as a consultant, who’s responsibility it will be to try and use his giant roladex to bring in footballing’s great and good whilst also insuring that Rovers avoid any financial choppy waters that have engulfed other clubs of a similar size. Many sources have stated that McKay has complete autonomy of the clubs transfers, a claim that new boss Dean Saunders vehemently denies. Willie’s work means that the perennial Championship struggler’s can now boast a squad that includes Quinton Fortune, Herita Ilunga, Carl Ikeme and Habib Beye, as well, as the aforementioned Diouf and Chimbonda. 

So the big questions remain, how are Doncaster and McKay doing this, and if it’s that easy, why aren’t all clubs doing it. 

Firstly, McKay is trawling through his contact book and making some of Europe’s top clubs, as an intimidating Sicilian once said, an offer that they can’t refuse. This business model consists of Donny taking a high earning bench warmer and in exchange will pay a small percentage of that players wages, whilst the parent club pay the rest. This will allow the player to put himself in the shop window with some “big fish in a small pond” style performances whilst hopefully giving Doncaster a much needed push away from the bottom rung of the championship ladder. The player’s parent club are happy as they now have a babysitter for their prized asset, and are saving themselves up to £2000 a week for the privilege Happy days!

When the inevitable happens and the player shows of his mercurial talents to the world and flits of to pastures new in a multi million pound deal, Doncaster will be good enough to take only a 40% cut. Everyone’s a winner!

Well sadly not….

As per usual the people who usually find themselves at the sharp end of such matters will probably find themselves there again, and sadly these people are the fans. 

This seems to be a strikingly short term plan. If this plan were to come to full fruition and Doncaster made a glorious assent up the table, they would surely be left without the stars that helped them to their lofty league position and it would be left to the “old guard”, the players that had been swept aside in order to make way for the stars of tomorrow to right the sinking ship, only heaping more pressure onto the club and possibly putting them into a more dubious position than they were originally in. 

We are all more than aware that in the modern day game, football is a business. But maybe it’s time, especially for lower league clubs such as Doncaster Rovers to take a step back, know their limitations and remember that money is not necessarily everything. 

Sam Wingrove @samwins001

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