Board index Championship 1 Doncaster RLFC Fans meeting 23rd May



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 Post subject: Re: Fans meeting 23rd May
PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2019 8:43 pm 
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I didn't take notes at the meeting but here are some additional points as I recall them (not listed in the official minutes).

Fixtures at Featherstone:

I suggested the club was wrong to assume that fans would know games were likely to be played at Featherstone when buying season tickets for this season. I thought we would be using the Athletics Pitch. I was unaware that we now no longer have any control over its use.

I feel very strongly that the club should have apologised to fans for any inconvenience caused when the announcement was made. I also feel a bus should be put on regardless of how many people may use it. It’s unfair on anyone who cannot drive. Public transport to Featherstone is hopeless.

Shaun Lockwood said that next year’s season ticket would make it clear that some games may not be played in Doncaster. I was disappointed by his lack of empathy with the fans' plight.

Gavin Baldwin explained that had we been able to use the Athletics Pitch the cost to make it fit for purposes would be extremely high and not cost effective for two games to be played on it. I can’t recall the money mentioned but it was a small fortune so I can appreciate why the Athletics Pitch isn’t a realistic option. Gavin also mentioned some of the costs incurred in maintaining the Keepmoat pitch. The water bill is huge and other costs are very high too; considerably more than I would have imagined.

Also not clearly mentioned in the minutes is that Doncaster Knights’ pitch may be available in the future. It’s not available this season due to some additional work being needed to be done on it. It seemingly won’t be out of commission every year.

More on Gary’s question regarding not playing or going all out for promotion:

I don’t actually recall the question being raised by Gary in this way. I may be wrong. I thought Gary was asking why we hadn’t made an even bigger effort to get out of this league this season bearing in mind life could be much tougher next season should Ottawa and New York come into the league.

I thought the second part of the question was, ‘are we meeting customers’ aspirations?’

(maybe Gary will add something about this too)

Gavin Baldwin still has faith in the team, coach and Carl. Promotion is still the goal.

I then asked why we weren’t getting better class players from Hull. Carl said it was due to Hull’s injury crisis and the fact that Hull had sold a number of players that would otherwise have come on DR.

I said that I had fully backed the enhanced DR arrangement when it was announced but I am now questioning whether this is the right way to proceed in the future. Our fate appears to be in Hull’s hands, not our own.
My view is that DR works great in theory but as this season and the last have proven, it doesn’t work very well in practice. Gavin Baldwin is aware of the current ‘issues’ with DR and will be monitoring the situation.

I felt that Gavin Baldwin did take on board the concerns Gary and I raised.

General discussion about insurance for players, players fitness, and injuries:

It was mentioned that players normally take out insurance of their own so they are covered for ‘loss of earnings’ at work should they get injured when playing. The Dons had been in discussions with Scotland about them covering the costs of Frankie Mariano’s injury as it happened when he was playing for his country.

Keiran Cross was expected to be back playing again sooner than expected. Frankie Mariano is still some way off yet.

Rangi Chase is enjoying his time at the club. He’s passing on his skills and knowledge to the players and is looking forward to playing again.

I’m sure some other things were mentioned but I can't recall them right now. If I think of anything else, I’ll add it on later.

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 Post subject: Re: Fans meeting 23rd May
PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2019 9:02 pm 
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Thank you Mike for taking the time and thank you for having the courage to ask awkward questions knowing they will not be received with much grace.
Nobody reacts that well to criticism.
I daresay Gary will not be happy if he has been misquoted.

I wasn't aware that the Rovers had no control over pitch 2.
That explains a lot.
Why can't they just say so up front whenever these trips to Fev are arranged and more sympathy might ensue.

Was the question of why can't the fixtures be juggled so that we play genuine away games during the turf replenishment period raised?






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 Post subject: Re: Fans meeting 23rd May
PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2019 9:16 pm 
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Thank you Mike for the information .

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 Post subject: Re: Fans meeting 23rd May
PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2019 9:29 pm 
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Stand-Offish wrote:Thank you Mike for taking the time and thank you for having the courage to ask awkward questions knowing they will not be received with much grace.
Nobody reacts that well to criticism.
I daresay Gary will not be happy if he has been misquoted.

I wasn't aware that the Rovers had no control over pitch 2.
That explains a lot.
Why can't they just say so up front whenever these trips to Fev are arranged and more sympathy might ensue.

Was the question of why can't the fixtures be juggled so that we play genuine away games during the turf replenishment period raised?


Thanks for your kind words, S/O.

Carl said that he contacts clubs to try to reverse fixtures to keep any inconvenience at our end to a minimum. I suppose the other clubs might not always be willing to play ball. In the Newcastle game, for example, had they swapped their first home of the season to the Keepmoat, they may have opened their season with three consecutive away games (not sure, I'm just guessing) and they wouldn't want that.

Whitehaven might have had good reason for not wanting to juggle their game with us too. I'm not sure if the RFL get involved at all but I doubt they could take all club's wishes into account as the resulting fixture list could mean long spells without home games for some sides.

Let's hope Castle Park might be available next season.

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 Post subject: Re: Fans meeting 23rd May
PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2019 9:30 pm 
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weighman wrote:Thank you Mike for the information .


You're welcome Paul. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Fans meeting 23rd May
PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2019 10:05 pm 
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Thanks Mike, A good few questions answered there. Onwards and hopefully upwards :wink:






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 Post subject: Re: Fans meeting 23rd May
PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2019 2:51 pm 
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Double Movement wrote:I didn't take notes at the meeting but here are some additional points as I recall them (not listed in the official minutes).

Fixtures at Featherstone:

I suggested the club was wrong to assume that fans would know games were likely to be played at Featherstone when buying season tickets for this season. I thought we would be using the Athletics Pitch. I was unaware that we now no longer have any control over its use.

I feel very strongly that the club should have apologised to fans for any inconvenience caused when the announcement was made. I also feel a bus should be put on regardless of how many people may use it. It’s unfair on anyone who cannot drive. Public transport to Featherstone is hopeless.

Shaun Lockwood said that next year’s season ticket would make it clear that some games may not be played in Doncaster. I was disappointed by his lack of empathy with the fans' plight.

Gavin Baldwin explained that had we been able to use the Athletics Pitch the cost to make it fit for purposes would be extremely high and not cost effective for two games to be played on it. I can’t recall the money mentioned but it was a small fortune so I can appreciate why the Athletics Pitch isn’t a realistic option. Gavin also mentioned some of the costs incurred in maintaining the Keepmoat pitch. The water bill is huge and other costs are very high too; considerably more than I would have imagined.

Also not clearly mentioned in the minutes is that Doncaster Knights’ pitch may be available in the future. It’s not available this season due to some additional work being needed to be done on it. It seemingly won’t be out of commission every year.

More on Gary’s question regarding not playing or going all out for promotion:

I don’t actually recall the question being raised by Gary in this way. I may be wrong. I thought Gary was asking why we hadn’t made an even bigger effort to get out of this league this season bearing in mind life could be much tougher next season should Ottawa and New York come into the league.

I thought the second part of the question was, ‘are we meeting customers’ aspirations?’

(maybe Gary will add something about this too)

Gavin Baldwin still has faith in the team, coach and Carl. Promotion is still the goal.

I then asked why we weren’t getting better class players from Hull. Carl said it was due to Hull’s injury crisis and the fact that Hull had sold a number of players that would otherwise have come on DR.

I said that I had fully backed the enhanced DR arrangement when it was announced but I am now questioning whether this is the right way to proceed in the future. Our fate appears to be in Hull’s hands, not our own.
My view is that DR works great in theory but as this season and the last have proven, it doesn’t work very well in practice. Gavin Baldwin is aware of the current ‘issues’ with DR and will be monitoring the situation.

I felt that Gavin Baldwin did take on board the concerns Gary and I raised.

General discussion about insurance for players, players fitness, and injuries:

It was mentioned that players normally take out insurance of their own so they are covered for ‘loss of earnings’ at work should they get injured when playing. The Dons had been in discussions with Scotland about them covering the costs of Frankie Mariano’s injury as it happened when he was playing for his country.

Keiran Cross was expected to be back playing again sooner than expected. Frankie Mariano is still some way off yet.

Rangi Chase is enjoying his time at the club. He’s passing on his skills and knowledge to the players and is looking forward to playing again.

I’m sure some other things were mentioned but I can't recall them right now. If I think of anything else, I’ll add it on later.


With regard to the fixtures moved to Featherstone, I concur with Mike that this has been a thorny issue for supporters and I have lost count of the number of people who have said that either they won't go to Featherstone, they won't buy a season ticket next season or both. As such, I expected more concern from the Club than I witnessed. I also pointed out that the way it was communicated (without any supporting explanation) was poor.

Mike is 100% right about the question attributed to me in the minutes. I was asking why with no Toronto, no Toulouse, no Bradford we aren't taking what is a fantastic opportunity to get out of this division? I also questioned later if the Club is possibly failing to manage it's customer expectations with some statements (an example being the enhanced dual registration agreement)? Mike will probably agree that there appears to be some issue over me asking these sort of questions as it was pointed out to me (although I didn't need reminding) that I asked in July 2018 what would happen should the Club's stated aspiration of promotion last season not be achieved.

I share the view that events last season and again this, demonstrate that the DR agreement has too much out of the Club's control (injuries, the DR partner moving players on who may have been expected to be available to us).

I applaud the Club for moving in to the loan market to plug the gap.

A couple of other things discussed were the signing of Elliot Townsend which hadn't been communicated by the Club with supporters unaware of if he was our player or Hull's and the disappearance of Jordan Cox without explanation. It was stated at the Meeting that he had left the Club and that it was at the decision of the Coach.

At the end of the Meeting, Ray Green (prompted by Carl Hall) stated that no comments should be posted on social media until Club Doncaster had signed off on the minutes and they had been officially issued. Based on Club Doncaster having sanctioned these minutes I would have to say that they do seem somewhat selective.

Gavin Baldwin spoke quite passionately about loyalty to his staff and I absolutely respect the sentiments. As he alluded to, time will tell if it's the right call.

The message was that Gavin, Carl and Richard Horne all believe that promotion is still achievable via the play offs and I will be delighted if they are proved correct.

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 Post subject: Re: Fans meeting 23rd May
PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2019 3:58 pm 
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Thank you too Gary . Its all about communication , the club are very poor despite the fact they have acknowledged the fact before .

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 Post subject: Re: Fans meeting 23rd May
PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2019 5:00 pm 
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Thanks for the insight Gary and Mike. Keep up the good work :thumb:






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 Post subject: Re: Fans meeting 23rd May
PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2019 9:00 pm 
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Wanderer wrote:
Mike is 100% right about the question attributed to me in the minutes. I was asking why with no Toronto, no Toulouse, no Bradford we aren't taking what is a fantastic opportunity to get out of this division? I also questioned later if the Club is possibly failing to manage it's customer expectations with some statements (an example being the enhanced dual registration agreement)? Mike will probably agree that there appears to be some issue over me asking these sort of questions as it was pointed out to me (although I didn't need reminding) that I asked in July 2018 what would happen should the Club's stated aspiration of promotion last season not be achieved.



I recall Gary asking the question at the meeting last July. All questions must be able to be asked without fear or favour. When difficult questions are asked, the club should see them as an opportunity to provide clarity to the fans on positions that are unclear.

Since Friday, I have remembered some other points that were discussed and not in the minutes.

I asked how many of the current squad have contracts beyond the end of this season. Carl said that only Jason Tali had a contract that runs to the end of next season.

I asked when League One clubs are able to approach soon to be out of contract players presently at other clubs. Carl said the date is 1st September for players below Super League. The reason I asked the question is that I presume the Dons will need to make their minds up about DR by this date.

Should we keep the enhanced deal with Hull, this would need to be tied up before then. Should we choose not to spend our money in this way, we will need to be active in the markets at the beginning of September, before other teams snap up the better players.

I asked Gavin Baldwin whether in order to achieve our long-term goal to play in Super League we would need extra financial investment from other backers, or whether Club Doncaster is able to invest the levels of money needed to get us there.

Gavin said that the club had budget levels in mind for each step of the way and everything could be funded from within Club Doncaster.

I am reassured by this message as I believe some fans may have been wondering whether Club Doncaster were still committed to the Dons.

As the minutes of the meeting show, communications between club and fans need to be improved. There were some very positive points that came out of the meeting (as detailed above) but even they were overlooked in the minutes.

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