JUST as it was on the previous occasion that a revered former fans’ favourite was handed the managerial reins at Doncaster Rovers 21 years ago, Darren Moore will not be short in the support stakes either.
The playing association that the new Rovers boss – appointed on a 12-month rolling contract – had with Doncaster may have been brief and less feted in comparison to that of Ian Snodin, who graced the club’s old Belle Vue home under the tutelage of the late, great Billy Bremner in the first half of the Eighties, but it is still remembered fondly.
Alongside a reservoir of goodwill from Doncaster fans, Moore will also have an abundance of well-wishers from the wider football community after his controversial – and savage – axing by West Brom in March with the club in fourth place in the Championship.
On returning to management at Rovers, Moore said: “It feels really good to be back.
“Having been here before as a player, to be back as the manager is an honour for me.
“I am looking forward to getting to know everybody around the place. The role really appealed to me given the Club Doncaster model in place.”
Moore was one of the few redeeming features of the disastrous Ken Richardson era of the mid to late Nineties, with it not just being the Brummie’s defensive prowess which belied his tender years – he was just 21 when he joined Rovers from Torquay United in July 1995.
A man-mountain of a centre-half and affectionately nicknamed ‘Bruno’, Moore also showed leadership credentials which you rarely associate with one so young in footballing terms during his two-year spell.
After briefly lining up alongside another defensive lieutenant in Russ Wilcox, who moved to Hull City early on in the 1995-96 season, Moore quickly assumed the mantle vacated by Wilcox, with his sterling displays soon alerting a number of clubs.
While Moore excelled, Rovers’ off-the-field situation quickly started to descend under the ill-fated stewardship of Richardson, famously manifested on the first day of the 1996-97 campaign when manager Sammy Chung was dismissed just hours before the club’s opener against Carlisle and replaced by Kerry Dixon.
It set the tone for a fraught campaign that ended in Rovers finishing in a lowly 19th position – they were to be relegated out of the Football League in the most chaotic of seasons in 1997-98.
But during his second and final campaign of 96-97, the one beacon of consistency amid the ramshackle surroundings of Belle Vue was Moore.
The 45-year-old certainly arrives at a club transformed since those dark, turbulent days.
Rovers’ facilities, standing in the game, professionalism and outlook are wholly contrasting and for those diehard supporters who did it tough and stayed loyal just over a couple of decades ago, Moore will be driven to do especially well.