FORMER Doncaster Rovers chairman John Ryan has expressed his dismay at comments from major shareholder Terry Bramall regarding his financial input into the club and says their relationship, which had been improving, is “back to square one”.
Earlier this week, Bramall and chief executive Gavin Baldwin addressed supporters at a Meet the Owners fans’ forum on a number of issues, including the club’s reasons for rejecting the proposed Sequentia Capital takeover and Rovers’ plans for the future.
Bramall also spoke about his and fellow major shareholder Dick Watson’s investment in Rovers stating the pair had put £17m into the club since joining the board in October, 2006, becoming equal controlling partners with Ryan a year later.
Bramall said: “If we talk about investment in the club, I think it’s fair to say that over the last seven years that Dick and I have been involved we have put £17m into this club.
“I’ve read very responsible letters in the press saying ‘if you want to win the lottery, you’ve got to buy a ticket’.
“That £17m is over and above all the money that you guys (the fans) have put in, and that’s over and above the £50m turnover in the last seven years.
“John (Ryan) has done a great job, but, at the end of the day, he was spending my money and Dick’s money and that is not right.”
Ryan is not denying the pair’s financial commitment to Rovers during the time the triumvirate were running the club, but insists his own contribution was roughly the same as theirs.
Ryan, who dramatically resigned his role as chairman and director in November due to concerns over the future direction of the club, said: “They should have just let sleeping dogs lie. I have resigned from the club and am sick of the way I have been treated.
“Some people should remember that I put in 15 years of hard service and many, many millions and if you add up my money, it would come to something similar (£17m).
“I would also challenge that they (Bramall and Watson) have put in £17m. I think they are maybe counting shares that I bought for a pound and sold them for 37p and counting the difference, which you can’t do.”
Ryan, who held a meeting with Bramall around Christmas which he described as “cordial” added: “I thought relations were getting to a better place.
“I had a meeting with Terry before I went away on a break, but all this points-scoring, which Terry has said he is always against, is just opening up old wounds.
“The bottom line is it doesn’t do the club any good.
“The thing they don’t realise is that I put in thousands upon thousands of hours in trying to get quality players to Doncaster Rovers and I also got a stadium built as well. A lot of people seem to have forgotten about my achievements, which I am very proud of.
“I just wish people would stop sniping at me. I deliberately went away to get away from it all and the moment I get back, here it goes again.
“I would express my disappointment. My meeting with Terry Bramall was very cordial and we are right back to square one now.
“I thought I was getting back to a good relationship with Terry and to have had a go at me in this way is wrong.
“I am just a normal fan and want to just enjoy my football. I am fed up of being sniped at.”
Bramall has meanwhile explained the reasoning behind the decision to reject Irish consortium Sequentia Capital’s takeover bid – a lack of faith in their £20m offer of investment.
He said: “There’s been all this talk about (Sequentia) having bank statements with £20m, but I never felt that £20m would come to Doncaster Rovers.
“I think Doncaster Rovers stands a much better chance of investment by staying with the current owners.
“If we get a deal we think is going to be better for the club, better for you as supporters and better for the town, let me tell you, we’ll be the first to accept it.”
On the pitch, Rovers will seek back-to-back Championship wins for the first time this season at home to Middlesbrough tomorrow. They are unbeaten in three matches after a torrid previous month.
Manager Paul Dickov points to improve fortunes having coincided with the return of a host of senior players from injury, including Paul Keegan, James Coppinger and Chris Brown, although Rovers will have to wait a bit longer for club captain Rob Jones to make a comeback after he suffered a minor knee injury.
On his side’s upturn, Dickov said: “There’s no getting away from the fact that we were down there at the bottom – and still are. But picking up seven points from nine has shown me what I have always believed, that when we got our best players back on the pitch, we’re a good team.
“We’re close to where we want to be.
“Now we want to get that monkey off our back of getting back-to-back wins, although it’s tough in this division as you play good teams every week and Middlesbrough are on a good run of form.
“But we enter the game with a lot of confidence after the past three games and want to keep this little mini-run going.”
On the situation with Jones, out since November due to a neck problem, he added: “Rob played a part in a game on Wednesday. His neck was okay, but he has twisted his knee a little bit.
“We are hopeful that it’s not too bad.”