On the face of it, Doncaster Rovers supporters have a lot to look forward to.
They made the League One play-offs and although they didn’t get to the final, their showing in the second leg against Charlton gave them hope. They managed a victory at the Valley, something no other side had done in 2019, but went out on penalties.
Grant McCann’s side had certainly defied some critics to finish in the top six and impressed in their ultimately failed bid for a place in the Championship. That would seem to be a good platform to build upon, but there might be some developments recently that have fans a little worried.
Captain Tommy Rowe had a super season for Rovers, although it was his miss in the penalty shoot-out that cost them dearly. That proved to be his last kick in the red and white of Doncaster.
It’s been announced he’s now leaving the club after a new deal couldn’t be agreed, with his financial demands cited as the reason for the collapse.
One player leaving for financial reasons might indicate a case of greed, but Andy Butler has left for the same reasons. He’s a Doncaster legend, born in the city and with 222 outings to his name. He played regularly in the season run in as well, but was allegedly asked to take a pay cut to remain with the club.
It could be that a frugal approach by the manager is simply a way of freeing up funds for better players, but Rowe and Butler both appeared regularly last season. They were key players in the rise up the table and will surely be missed.
McCann is dismantling the side that earned promotion and appears to be doing it for financial reasons. Whether that is being played down by the club or not, it’s going to surely worry supporters.
Whenever a side starts to cut costs, conspiracy theories will strike up. Those fans who watched their side succeed this season might fear that this is an indication of things to come; an inability to compete with the bigger teams when paying wages and transfer fees. The fact Butler has dropped into League Two is even more galling.
Where Tommy Rowe goes will give them a huge indication of whether those fears are unfounded or not. If he remains in League One with a similar sized club, there is a cause for concern.
However, if he takes a big pay day somewhere like Salford City, perhaps the fans can settle a little as the summer draws on.