HE’S ALREADY won the hearts of millions of teenage girls across the world, but homegrown pop star Louis Tomlinson is set to gain a new army of admirers when he takes over as co-chairman of his hometown club.
The 22-year-old, one fifth of record-breaking group One Direction, is to take over at the helm of Doncaster Rovers FC after signing on the dotted line.
Making the official announcement at a press conference in London today, lifelong fan Mr Tomlinson launched a fundraising appeal designed to secure the club’s financial future and give supporters more of a say in how it is run.
It is the sort of fairytale the young heartthrob could only dream of while flipping patties at a burger bar in the Keepmoat Stadium in the days before he became a member of the most successful boyband since The Beatles.
Mr Tomlinson, a Doncaster Rovers Reserves squad member, said: “For me, this is all about the football, the community and restoring the excitement and desire to making Doncaster Rovers the most exciting club to play for in Yorkshire. I want to see the Doncaster Rovers supporters get the club the success it deserves.
“I grew up in Doncaster and have felt the love for football run through the town, it’s for that reason that I have a real personal passion to make Doncaster Rovers a success story. This is a big step which I believe will open up opportunities to provide a very, very exciting future for the club and its supporters.”
The singer and the club’s ex-chairman, local businessman John Ryan have pledged to contribute a six-figure sum towards the ‘crowdfunding campaign’, which has a £2million target.
Rovers followers are being asked to make up the remainder of the cash by making donations in exchange for rewards and membership to the new ‘Club 28’.
Despite the fact the 1D boys are worth a reported £14million each, both men were keen to recruit supporters in South Yorkshire and across the world to make for a more sustainable future.
Mr Ryan said: “By putting our own money in, we are making it clear to Doncaster Rovers supporters, and the general public, that we are planning to give the club the support and resources it needs.
“As its previous chairman I am still totally committed to developing an exciting future for the club. The objectives of the trust provide a roadmap to make the club an even greater success. I am very pleased to join forces with Louis to make this happen. It’s an exciting moment for Doncaster Rovers.”
It is hoped the new dawn for Doncaster could help turn its fortunes around. The Rovers were relegated to League One at the end of last season after a disappointing run.
Speaking to The Yorkshire Post in the wake of the announcement, Paul Mayfield, the Doncaster Rovers Supporters’ Club’s Retford branch chairman, said: “He might be worth however many million, but that does not go a long way when you’re running a football club, so I think this is a good idea to make the club more supporter-orientated.
“Louis is a local lad, he was always at Doncaster games, he used to work at the burger bar at the club and it’s nice that a hometown person has wanted to back them.”