I am writing this at just after midnight, a circumstance brought on by a number of things including a rowing team stuck in France, which is unfortunately the sort of thing my employees pay me to care about. Anyway, all is not lost for I am writing this at my dad’s house in Doncaster, and my dad has ESPN America, and as such I have the delight of the NHL and the Boston Bruins at the Montreal Canadians for company. Not only are these angry men on ice giving great distraction, but they’ve also provided the inspiration for this episode of Viva Video.
My initial thought for this week’s instalment was to find footage of a great relegation escape act, but then it dawned on me that this was likely to give more encouragement to Rovers’ opponents given that Doncaster are yet to sink into the bottom three this season. Idea 1 dismissed I contemplated a clip of Crystal Palace falling apart, but then didn’t want to tempt fate, so just as I was struggling for material the Canadians and the Bruins took to the ice and it hit me.
The wall of noise generated by the Montreal crowd as the Canadians emerged was incredible, and its exactly what is needed at the Keepmoat tomorrow. Forget the ‘Arsenal of the Championship’ tag and the applause directed at the Southend fans three years ago, now is not a time for sportsmanship. No, now is a time for out-and-out partisanship. So, forget fanciful thoughts about“doing the Poznan” or recreating that bouncy thing Fenerbache, here’s your atmospheric benchmark.
January 2005; Doncaster Rovers vs Hull City at Belle Vue. The previous season Rovers had of course pipped The Tigers to the Division Three title, much to the annoyance of Peter Taylor’s Hull as they were then. Not content with having the silverware in their cupboard, when the two sides came face to face again at Belle Vue Rovers elected to parade the trophy in front of the fans. Not the Doncaster fans you understand, the Hull ones. Yep, minutes before kick-off the Vikettes were dispatched to walk in front of a seething travelling terrace, trophy aloft.
Out and out incitement, verging on the ritual sacrifice of teenage dancers, it proved to be a masterstroke and despite the cringeworthy efforts on the pillock on the mic at the Keepmoat Stadium nothing has stoked the atmosphere to a similar level since. Don’t believe me just listen to the sound of the home crowd in this clip, the roar from the Pop Side as Michael McIndoe tears down the wing and the sheer eruption when moments later he finds the net. This is the noise level which this afternoon must bring.