Doncaster Rovers Legend James Coppinger Takes Key Role at the Club

Doncaster Rovers Legend James Coppinger

Doncaster Rovers legend James Coppinger has been named as the club’s new head of football operations.

The 41-year-old made 692 appearances for Rovers before hanging up his boots in the summer of 2021.

Doncaster have been all but relegated to League Two this season and Coppinger will be tasked with leading their football operations as they seek a return to League One as soon as possible.

Doncaster Rovers Legend James Coppinger Becomes Club’s Head of Football Operation

Need for Change After Devastating Season

Rovers have been in need of some change in approach on and off the pitch for over a year now. Whilst the club had previously been able to challenge for the League One play-offs and attain creditable league positions, there was always a feeling there was too heavy a reliance on short-term signings and loan players.

In appointing Richie Wellens to lead the change last summer, it was suggested the club would move away from that model. However, they still used up all of their loan allocation and failed to add a great amount of quality to the side.

Subsequently, Wellens was sacked in December and replaced with Gary McSheffrey, who had been promoted from his position as U18s manager.

McSheffrey has had a mixed spell as manager which will ultimately end up with the club being relegated.

Coppinger’s Role

The club state that Coppinger will ‘oversee the whole of the club’s football operation, including implementing a clear identity on the team as well as culture by which players and staff operate’.

Coppinger tells doncasterroversfc.co.uk: “I’m really excited. It’s a big challenge but one that I am really looking forward to.

“It’s something that I’ve been working towards since I turned 35 or 36. I feel this sort of role best suits my skills.

“With 24 years as a professional footballer across all levels, I feel like this role is massive within a football club. I’ve been more aware of what the role takes and what it looks like behind the scenes, working with people at the club in that capacity like managers, coaches, agents, head of recruitment – all the relevant people.

“People see James Coppinger the footballer but I’ve been working in business for the last five years and I’ve been doing things to help propel me into this position.

“Professional football is more than just what you see on a Saturday. It’s about all the things you put in place to help you perform. I’ve been able to identify why certain culture at this club over the years were successful or weren’t successful.

“It’s not just about getting the best players in. There’s so much more to it than that. It’s every department and making sure everyone is aligned and the values are there.

“That’s a big thing for me and I’m excited to play a part in making sure it happens.”

This is a new position for Rovers and a huge appointment. Whilst fans are likely to have their reservations about yet another role being filled with a lack of obvious experience, there are few people the Rovers faithful would be willing to get behind more than James Coppinger.

It is uncertain whether Gary McSheffrey will remain in his position as manager for the League Two campaign that awaits, but Coppinger’s role will arguably become as important ahead of a big summer for the football club.

 

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