Doncaster Rovers: Ryan could quit Rovers

John Ryan
John Ryan

The boardroom fall-out which has overshadowed the build-up to tomorrow’s South Yorkshire derby at Barnsley could be eminently visible at Oakwell.

Amid speculation over his future, chairman John Ryan is expected to remain at the helm for this weekend’s short trip along the A635.

But he is understood to be considering ditching the directors’ box for a seat in the stands, alongside Rovers supporters, as he continues to mull over his future at the club.

Ryan is thought to be on the brink of ending his 15-year long reign following a fall-out which centres on a meeting held earlier this week between representatives of Rovers and Sequentia Capital, the Irish-led consortium that Ryan has fully supported in their protracted bid to buy the club.

The meeting, which took place on Tuesday, is thought to have gone ahead without the knowledge of Ryan - much to the annoyance of the man who originally brought Sequentia to the table.

Ryan is also thought to be extremely concerned about Rovers’ impending takeover of Doncaster Rugby League Football Club, which is set to be officially announced in the coming days.

Boss Paul Dickov played down the speculation surrounding Ryan at his pre-Barnsley press conference yesterday.

Dickov, whose preparations this week have also been disrupted by a nerve injury to Rob Jones which will rule the skipper out for two months, said: “I spoke to John two or three times [on Wednesday] and it was never mentioned.

“It would [be a massive loss to the football club if he left]. He lives and breathes the football club.

“The supporters, the players and the staff here all look up to John.

“He’s not just a good man but he’s a great football guy who has a lot of knowledge and he loves the club.”

Ryan’s reign has coincided with Doncaster’s most colourful and successful era in the club’s history, including four promotions, a first major cup win and a return to the second tier for the first time in half a century.

But in recent years his tenure has not been without its stresses and strains.

He came close to quitting two years ago when he faced a backlash from supporters for sacking Sean O’Driscoll and employing Dean Saunders and agent Willie McKay as part of the now infamous ‘experiment’.

And the last few months have also seen the usually outspoken Ryan once again cut a frustrated and rather downbeat figure as boardroom politics continued to block Sequentia’s proposed takeover bid.

Luke McCullough, meanwhile, is poised to again deputise for Jones tomorrow, while Theo Robinson is set to return to the squad after recovering from a hamstring problem.