Angry Doncaster Rovers fans claim kit contest was 'rigged' to allow Louis Tomlinson to win
'Livid' Doncaster Rovers fans have blasted the club following the announcement that Louis Tomlinson was voted the winner of the away kit design contest, claiming it was 'fixed' to allow the One Direction star to win.
This comes after the club announced yesterday that Louis' design received the highest number of votes of the five shortlisted entries.
Scores of fans have since taken to social media in response to the reveal, with some in the Rovers Facebook group claiming the competition was 'fixed' in order to use the Doncaster-born star's popularity to sell more shirts.
The competition prize also included a week-long trip to Thailand, but it has not yet been confirmed whether Louis will be claiming the holiday.
Administrator of the Doncaster Rovers Facebook group and life-long fan, Neil Taylor, told The Free Press that some fans are even considering boycotting next season's away kit following Louis being confirmed as the winning designer.
The 35-year-old said: "I am absolutely livid because they asked me to push the competition [in the Rovers Facebook group] telling fans that it was a once in a lifetime prize - and we agreed. For most people a free trip to Thailand is a once in a lifetime prize.
"I have nothing against Louis Tomlinson, I'm sure he's a nice lad. My issue is with the club, it's them who fixed it.
"They shortlisted his shirt along with the four worst designs - one of which looked like a green table cloth - so that his was the only acceptable one for people to vote for.
"I can't see Louis sitting down on his granddad's knee to design it somehow. Even if you believe what they're saying, I don't see how they could have let someone who tried to buy the club, someone who has worked at the club, to enter the competition. You would have thought they would have stopped anyone connected to the club, from ticket sellers to whoever from entering.
"They have seen this as a way of making use of Louis' remaining popularity to sell the shirts to One Direction fans. I think it's a slick way of getting around his image rights, which I know they had problems with when he was wanting to takeover the club.
"I'm unhappy that the club are either taking us for total idiots, or they don't care what we think and feel there's plenty more fans in the sea - like teenage One Direction fans - who will buy the shirts instead."
No-one from Doncaster Rovers was available for comment when contacted by the Free Press.
The club stated yesterday that Louis' design, featuring black and grey stripes accented with a red trim over the shoulders, received 33.7 of the votes when it was put to the public in February. The identity of shortlisted designers was kept secret until the winner was announced.
Commenting on winning the competition, Louis said on Twitter: "Soooooo me and my Grandad Len won the competition of designing the new Donny away shirt. Pretty sick."
The winning designer of next season's home kit was devoted Rovers fan, Shaun Smith, whose red and white striped shirt design received 41.4 per cent of the votes.
Shaun said: "I've been a Rovers fan for 15 years! I sit in with the Black Bank and really enjoy being a part of it. It's a massive sense of pride for me that next season the players will be walking out in my shirt at the Keepmoat every week."
The club has also announced that 20 people who pre-order their away shirt before midnight on June 10 will be drawn at random to win one of 20 shirts personally signed by Louis.