WE’VE DON IT: Championship One champions

CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES: Dons players throw down their tops and pick up pints to celebrate winning Championship One. Picture: Andrew Roe.
CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES: Dons players throw down their tops and pick up pints to celebrate winning Championship One. Picture: Andrew Roe.

DONS co-owner Carl Hall insists it was always the goal to have some ‘fun’ in 2012.

After taking control of the beleaguered club, the Dons management sketched a three-year plan of survival, stability then success.

And the programme matured spectacularly on Sunday as the Dons completed the regular season by securing the first league title in the club’s 61 year history.

Hall said: “I always had it in my mind that we’d see a day like Sunday.

“I said to [head coach] Tony Miller we’d try and have some fun in year three.

“Tony was questioning his future after we lost to Siddal in the Challenge Cup in 2010 and he was ready to move aside.

“But I told him he was in it with me, that we might have some bumps along the way, but he couldn’t leave me.

“I told him we just had to get the club back on its feet and then we could try and do something in the third year.”

The three-year plan has now been quickly re-set to focus on establishing the club in rugby league’s second tier following promotion to the Championship.

Hall said: “We’re back to year one, it starts again now.

“We need to stabilise and cement ourselves in the division above.

“Our goal is to stay away from the bottom two next year and if we do that, we’ll be happy.

“We can’t think we’re going up to the Championship and we’re going to run it.

“If we finish third bottom, I’ll think we’ll have had a good year.

“It’ll be tough because it’s a higher division and they’re some great clubs in the Championship.

“But we’ll get bigger crowds and we can try and build the bank up.

“Then in year two we can try and buy some players and start pushing up the table.

“If it all goes right then we’ll try and have some fun in year three again and make the play-offs.”

Hall spoke of his pride at being involved in making a piece of club history this season.

While he admitted the £50,000 prize money will help the Dons expand their off-field operation, Hall is more delighted by the historical significance of the maiden title win - and by going about business in the right way.

He said: “The prize money doesn’t really mean anything to me.

“The club’s been going for 61 years and they’ve never won a league so to do that means so much more.

“Millionaires have tried to do what we’ve done and thrown money at this club.

“But I believe it’s about generating the right culture and getting the players to believe in what we’re doing.

“If you get the team spirit right, it’ll stand you in good stead and take you to more highs than lows.

“These players love playing together, that’s why it’s been so easy to sign them up for next season and I really think they can do themselves justice in the league above.

“I’m very proud of them. It’s a humbling experience.”

Doncaster mayor Peter Davies has confirmed he is in the process of organising a civic reception for the Championship One winners.