Novel Gazing

John Ryan’s got a new book out you know. Yes, yes I thought you might have done. As a Rovers fan you would be hard pushed not to know about the launch of John Ryan’s autobiographical account of Rovers’ last dozen years. Dare to Dream starts with a pair of tits as it documents Rovers plight from the involvement of Messrs Richardson and W***er through to a second Championship season. And it’s also got a big pair of breasts on the front cover (you see what they did there) to acknowledge JR’s plastic surgery based wealth. In all sorts of ways, it’s very hard to miss.

This is John Ryan’s autobiography, and we of course do not begrudge the man selling his story, after all its quite a story. There is no doubting what John Ryan, with the aid of others, has done for Doncaster Rovers, and the club would be in a much poorer position without him. All this goes without saying, but we say it anyway, because we need context for the rest of this article. And the theme for the rest of this article is, should the club really be banging on about JR’s book so much?

Now before you hammer on your keyboard with fury at least hear out my take on this. At the time of penning this article more a quarter of the latest news items on the Rovers official club website were about John Ryan’s book, with one of these articles coming in the form of a very tenuous link to that fact that Rovers are now Yorkshire’ top Football League club. It’s edging towards over-advertising, to the point of saturation, where it just becomes annoying , and if you don’t think its possible to over advertise things then you’re probably one of the few folk in this country who don’t yell obscenities and small household objects at the television when those Go Compare adverts come on. We can’t be far away from articles along the lines of “Coppinger features in the team of the week, much in the same way the Rovers midfielder features in John Ryan’s new book”.

My issue here, is not with the book itself, and certainly not with it’s author, but in the way it is being promoted by our club’s official outlets. In the past week alone John Ryan’s Dare to Dream has featured on the official club website in two written articles, plus a free video piece and a ‘picture special’. If all club events were afforded this sort of comprehensive coverage then we would have no complaints, but the fact remains that they simply are not. Last week the Rovers Belles were afforded a Women’s Super League franchise by the FA, big news for the Belles, big news for the Rovers’ Belles, but not even a passing mention on the club website.

Our point here is simple. If the club’s media department is capable of pulling out all the stops like this to help the Chairman sell his autobiography, then why are they not doing so to promote all aspects of the club. The website remains a mismatch of ideas which were never fully followed through. The all you need comprehensive guide to away games appeared for the Bristol City game, but not the subsequent trips to Preston or Barnsley. Our favourite ‘Face in a Box’ ended at the end of December, presumably when the club ran out of ‘signed folders’. The Belle Vue Heroes ‘series; started with Tristan Whitman in November and never made a second issue and still, almost three years on from first appearing on the site, the Guide to the Keepmoat with “every angle covered” is “coming soon”.  So please Rovers if you’re reading this, and we know folk connected with the club do, instead of pandering to just one fan who happens to be Chairman, pander to the other few thousand who don’t.


About glen wilson

Former schoolboy, Glen Wilson writes on football and travel and has been editor of the award-winning popular STAND fanzine since before the award.


4 thoughts on “Novel Gazing

  1. its worth mentioning the SOD/Burnley incident also! while we were getting our sources from elsewhere, it would of been nice for there to be more than the one post, the next morning, from our website explaining that he had been approached by “a premier league club”.

    Posted by jameseverythingintransit | March 31, 2010, 7:50 am
  2. He who pays the piper calls the tune, Glen. This would be a good topic for a sociology class. Does the owner control the media?

    Posted by Sheepskin Stu | March 31, 2010, 8:11 am
  3. You may have a good point about the poor performance of the media team especially in regard to the features on the official website but to use John Ryan’s book promotion as a means to do it is a bit ungracious. This is the man who saved the club – never forget that. If he wants to rename the club Ryan’s Rovers that’s alright with me (well maybe not) as he’s a man who has delivered everything he promised. So what if they are banging on about his book – hasn’t he said all proceeds go back to the club. I tend to think you’re using the old trick of being controversial for controversy’s sake ( a journalistic trick) but it doesn’t quite work this time and people may think you are what used to be called a TDF – i.e. if there’s nowt to moan you’d moan about that. Usually you’re on the ball – what’s happened?

    Posted by Gordon Shaw | March 31, 2010, 3:29 pm
  4. Yes, where did it all go wrong for Viva Rovers?

    To respond to your points Gordon. I had to tie this article to the promotion of JR’s book because it was this promotion which brought the issue to my attention. I don’t see this as ungracious, I’ve made it clear within the article that this is not a criticism of JR or his book. Similarly I haven’t forgotten his commitment to the club, which is why I’ve mentioned it in the second paragraph.

    My point is that they are banging on about his book at a disproportionate level to other worthy stories which will also bring money into the club and progress it. The Belles Super League status being a prime example as it wasn’t even mentioned at all on Rovers website.

    I would never be controversial for controversy’s sake on these pages. It’s the sort of practice I significantly dislike. If I wanted to go down that route I’d be laying into Sean O’Driscoll tippity tappety football. I’m very positive in my support of the Rovers and I feel this site is a reflection of that. This wasn’t a moan, more a case of constructive criticism… The gist being if you can deliver this sort of coverage why not pull out the stops to do so more often?

    Posted by glenglenglen | March 31, 2010, 3:52 pm

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