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DONCASTER ROVERS FOOTBALL CLUB
Doncaster Rovers play in red and white hooped shirts and red shorts. Since 1922 their home ground has been Belle Vue in Doncaster but very shortly they will be playing at the new Lakeside Sports Complex which will also be used by other local sports clubs.
The club was originally formed in 1879 and until the 1920's played mainly in local leagues, although between 1901 and 1905 they were twice elected to and relegated from the Football League.
During World War 1 the club closed down until 1920 and in 1922 they began playing at Belle Vue. In 1923 the club once again won election to the Football League.
From joining the League in 1923 until the 1950's Rovers spent most of their time in the Third Division (North) although there were two brief visits (three seasons in total) to Division 2. In 1949/50 they won the Third Division Championship and were promoted to Division 2 where they spent eight seasons. Unfortunately, the most successful period in their league history was followed by two consecutive relegations so they started the 1959/60 season in the recently formed Fourth Division.
The Rovers had never been a particularly successful FA Cup team but the 1950's did see an improvement with four 5th Round appearances between 1952 and 1956.
This was a disappointing decade on the pitch. The club never progressed beyond the Third Round of either FA or League Cups and most of the decade was spent in in the middle or lower half of Division 4. Although promotion was achieved in 1966 it was followed by immediate relegation.
The lack of success was reflected in the fact that from 1960 to 1969 the club had nine different managers (excluding caretakers). Nevertheless Rovers finished the decade better than they had started with promotion to Division 3 in 1968/9 as champions under recently appointed manager Lawrie McMenemy.
Unfortunately the success was shortlived. The club finished a respectable 11th in 1969/70 but were relegated the following season. They spent the rest of the 1970's in the bottom division of the league, their best finishing position being 8th in 1976/7. Cup success was as elusive as ever with the exception of a League Cup run in 1976 which ended with defeat by Tottenham in the quarter final.
The managerial situation was more settled than in the 1960's however. McMenemy left in 1971 and, apart from a couple of brief caretaker spells, just two managers - Maurice Setters and Stan Anderson - took the club through to 1979 when Billy Bremner was appointed.
Billy Bremner became team manager mid-season 1979/80 and led the team to promotion in 1980/1 - his first full season. They held their Third Division place for only two seasons, being relegated in 1982/3 after finishing 23rd.
However the bounced back to win promotion in their first season and were still there as Bremner's first spell as manager at the club ended in 1985 when he went to Leeds United.
A further relegation in 1986/7 meant that Rovers finished the decade where they had started it - in the Fourth Division. They also finished the 1980's with the same manager they had started with, Billy Bremner having returned for a second spell in 1989.
The club never came close to getting out of the bottom division in the 1990's managing no better than 9th position in the 1994/5 season. As it turned out they would have been pleased to stay in Division 3 (old Division 4) until the Millenium for worse was to come.
In 1997/8 the unthinkable happened. Rovers finished rock bottom of the Football League and were relegated to the GM Vauxhall Conference, losing the league status which they had held since 1923.
Considering the loss of their league position, it pales into insignificance that the 1990's was their worst ever decade in the two major cup competitions. They reached the FA Cup second round in 1989/90 and 1998/9 but apart from that, never progressed beyond the first round of either competition.
2000 - Present Day
Initially Rovers did not find life easy in the Conference and in their first two seasons managed only 16th and 12th places respectively. However there was a steady improvement with each season culminating in promotion in 2002/3 under the managership of Dave Penney. The club actually finished third in the league but play-offs were introduced in the Conference for the first time that season and Doncaster beat Dagenham in the final to become the first team to be promoted via this route.
Things got even better the next season when, despite being amongst the favourites for relegation, Rovers actually won the championship gaining promotion to the Coca Cola League 1 (old Third Division).
The much improved times under Dave Penney still failed to produce cup success with the notable exception of the 2005/6 League Cup when they reached the quarter final being beaten at home by the mighty Arsenal but only on a penalty shoot-out after a very late extra time equaliser from the "Gunners".
So far Rovers seem to have consolidated their place in League One with two top half finishes in their first two seasons. It now remains to be seen what progress can be made folowing the recent change of manager from Dave Penney to Sean O'Driscoll.
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