James Coppinger tribute: ‘A true professional, a great bloke, a Rovers legend’

James Coppinger celebrates promotion in 2013.
James Coppinger celebrates promotion in 2013.

“Coppiunhger GOAALLLLLL”

That folks, is my favourite ever tweet.

And it is likely to remain so for eternity.

Nothing any of us ever see again on a football pitch will come close to what happened on that afternoon of April 27, 2013, at Griffin Park, Brentford.

Nothing will come close to that feeling of sheer adrenaline, those 17.8 seconds of total madness, the celebrations that followed. Pure and unadulterated ecstasy. Raw emotion. Awful spelling.

So it could not have been more apt that it was James Coppinger, a Doncaster Rovers icon on course to become the club’s leading all-time appearance maker, who popped up in exactly the right place at the right time to score a goal that will go down as one of the most iconic in Rovers’ history.

It was almost like it was written in the stars.

We’ve all got our favourite Coppinger moments. Those wet and windy afternoons when he’s had his full back on toast, those forgettable games he has lit up with a dazzling bit of skill.

Copps has become a shining beacon of one of the most successful periods in Rovers’ existence.

His perfect hat trick that night against Southend really takes some beating. Here was a player, perhaps, who should have been on a bigger stage.

But it is that goal at Brentford that will always stand out for me. Why?

Well, from one end of the pitch to the other, from one extreme emotion to another, it symbolised his rollercoaster ride with Rovers over the last 11 years.

The highs of Wembley, the lows of relegation, Copps has seen it all.

He had the vision to see what was happening when Billy Paynter picked up possession, the fitness and desire to get up the other end of the field, the technique and composure to coolly keep his head in front of goal when everyone else around him was losing their’s. Copps is a player with it all.

It was a moment in time that will not only stay with us all forever, but made sure the name James Coppinger will go down in Doncaster Rovers folklore.

At least in there, they will spell it correctly!

Here’s to Copps. A true professional, a great bloke, a Rovers legend.