In amongst all the transfer rumour gossip and non-news that punctuates every media outlet and fans’ website it is very rare to be caught completely unawares by a story of a player leaving your club. That happened today however, with the news that Jos Van Nieuwstadt is to depart Doncaster Rovers just over a year after joining from Excelsior Rotterdam. The official Rovers website announced today that Van Nieuwstadt and the club had mutually agreed to cancel the Dutchman’s contract.
Van Nieuwstadt arrived at Rovers last summer as a mystery trialist in pre-season fixtures and with fans unsure of his real identity he was christened ‘The Hoff’ amongst Rovers’ supporters thanks to his Hasslehoff-esque curly mane. A composed and reliable defnder Van Nieuwstadt made a total of seventeen appearances for the club last season and did what few others acheived by actually getting on the score-sheet for the club in the first half of the season, heading home from a corner away at Reading. Sadly Van Nieuwstadt’s chances in the squad were limited both by the form of Matt Mills and Sam Hird, but also by injury as both hamstring and hernia trouble kept him froma dding to his appearance total both last season and this.
Even amongst Rovers often quick-to-judge fans I can honestly write that I have heard anyone utter anything damning about Jos Van Nieuwstadt, not even from Viva Rovers infamous’ serial-moaner ‘Geoff’, which it has to be said is a significant acheivement. Van Nieuwstadt, through press and personal accounts from other fans, has struck me as a very honest and committed professional and that coupled with his impressive form as a central defender make this news both surprising and disappointing. There is only one plus point from Viva Rovers’ point of view, and that is that I will no longer be subject to the token Dutch accents of my companions on the back row whenever Van Nieuwstadt sets foot out of the dug-out.