Three years ago the club I support, and the central subject of this website, changed name. Not an official change, instead its alteration was a subtle shift understood and followed only by the press and fans and players of other clubs in the second tier and above. In May 2008 Sean O’Driscoll’s side defeated Leeds United 1-0 in the League One play-of final and in doing so prompted this amendment; from Doncaster Rovers, to “the likes of Doncaster”.
No-one expects their own team to be beaten by the likes of Doncaster, and yet for the first half of last season even the likes of Doncaster were challenging for a play-off spot. It matters not that Rovers are well run, have an astute manager, and have held their own at the second tier of English football long enough to be getting set for a fourth season at this level. Instead they have been pigeon-holed by their not so distant past. The likes of Doncaster were in non-league football not so long ago, the likes of Doncaster sometimes struggle to get five-figure crowds, the likes of Doncaster have “never won f**k all”.
This is not a complaint you understand, just an observation. I actually like this new prefix, and I feel the club should exploit it more as a marketing tagline, befitting of underdogs such as ourselves. It certainly possesses less unflattering undertones than Millwall’s “No one likes us, we don’t care” schtick. And as we know, the “just a pub team” mantra adopted on the club’s return to the League managed to even further undermine the achievements of Peter Taylor’s Hull in beating them in the race for the 2003 Division Three title.
And so over the next few days we will look to cement the tag of the likes of Doncaster more by bringing you examples of its use in the media and across the net. To keep an element of structure we have not even ventured onto messageboards and forums where its usage is rife, particularly on West Ham boards of late. Here’s part one of our round-up with some mentions of the likes of Doncaster up to April, and you’ll notice Scunthorpe don’t come out of this too lightly either…
18th August 2010; The Mirror Football website
Why Craig Bellamy’s Cardiff move is immoral, wrong and cheats the rest of the Championship by John Cross
“And while Bellamy to Cardiff is a lovely fairytale, it’s so unfair on the likes of Doncaster, Scunthorpe and Millwall who are trying to live within their means, keep the books on an even keel and are now having to beat the odds as well.”
15th October 2010; Fanhouse UK website
Newcastle v Wigan Preview by Jason Mellor
“St James’ Park was something of a fortress last season, but it’s one thing swatting aside the likes of Doncaster, Swansea and Scunthorpe en route to the Championship title, it’s another stringing together a decent set of results on home soil against the Premier League elite.”
1st December 2010; The Evening Chronicle
Liverpool target Taylor after Carragher injury by Lee Ryder
“He admirably stuck with the black- and-whites in the aftermath of relegation to the Championship when others – such as Seb Bassong, Habib Beye and Damien Duff – quit United when it was confirmed they would be facing the likes of Doncaster and Scunthorpe last term.”
19th December 2010; The People
Carve-up, Blades Caretaker Manager in the Driving Seat by John Arnfield
“Stand-in Blades gaffer John Carver staked his claim to the Bramall Lane hot-seat by masterminding the downfall of high-flying Swans. The coach, who was this week made caretaker boss, threw down the gauntlet to the likes of Doncaster’s Sean O’Driscoll and Sheffield lad Micky Adams, who is doing so well at Port Vale.”
23rd March 2011: Betfair website
Berbatov Goal was Man United’s Macheda Moment (staff writer)
“If you want value, consider a wager on a team that you’d be surprised to see in the Championship; the type of “they’re too good/big to go down” club that somehow find themselves struggling to cut a massive wage bill while contemplating away trips to the likes of Doncaster.”
11th April 2011; Sky Sports website
Sharpening Claws by Chris Burton
Hull’s fixture list certainly appears to be favourable when compared to some of their rivals, with the likes of Doncaster Rovers, Bristol City and Middlesbrough still to come.
25th April 2011; Eastern Daily Press website
Russell Martin – Patience Needed to Complete the Job by Paddy Davitt
“Listen, every game in this league is tough. You look at some of our home games – the likes of Doncaster and Preston. They work ever so hard and no one gives you an easy ride. If we play like we did (against Ipswich) then I fancy us against anyone.”