Eileen returns to Rovers at 96!

Rovers fan Eileen Bycroft at home.
Rovers fan Eileen Bycroft at home.

IT was a real Rovers return for one football fan who was back in the stands watching her favourite team - 88 years after first seeing them in action!

For 96-year-old Eileen Bycroft was delighted to have the chance to cheer on her beloved Doncaster Rovers once again after being netting a VIP trip to watch them play against Ipswich Town at the Keepmoat Stadium after winning £1,000 on the club’s lottery.

Rovers officials went to see Mrs Bycroft in the St Mary’s Nursing Home, on Thorne Road, to deliver the good news.

She first watched the Rovers at the age of eight with her dad, a miner, who took her along to Belle Vue, after the Rovers had settled in at what was then their new ground.

Despite never seeing a game at the old Bennetthorpe ground, Eileen used to walk past it down the Back Lane where there was an entrance to the football field.

Sadly for Eileen, watching football had to be put on the back burner when she started working at Pegler’s in the wages department and played hockey at the weekends.

Then by the late 1930s, avid fan Eileen was a regular at Belle Vue where she recalled several memories including the match against Barnsley in February 1939 where 34,000 fans descended into the ground to watch the sides in a Division Two promotion crunch clash - when the Tykes claim victory.

One player that stood out from the rest for Eileen was tricky right winger Dizzy Burton. She joked that most fans thought he was deaf because “he never seemed to hear the whistle”.

Other names from the 1930s she remembered included Mick Killourhy, Fred Emery, Arthur Rodgers, George Flowers and Reg Baines.

She said the 1946-47 season was readily remembered, mainly because of the bad winter that forced a number of postponements.

Eileen was also in the stands during the record attendance of over 37,000 at the Hull City game in October 1948.

She got to know the wife of then player-manager Peter Doherty because they lived near her and her husband’s home in Wheatley Hills.

After seeing her favourite club in action again, Eileen said: “I had the best time ever at the game on Saturday and everyone was so kind to me. I would thank everyone for being so welcoming and treating me so well. It made me so happy and my grandsons are both season ticket-holders.”