At the end of January, I set my target as qualifying for the playoffs, which was achieved.
There was a time where it looked like we were going to go up automatically, but, that fell away as some players picked up knocks.
Still, a 3rd place finish, and top scorers in the division was a bonus for us.
The vast majority of our goals came from midfield, with Paul McMullen finishing as top scorer, and Erik Andersson not far behind him
Heading into a double header against Fulham, we were greeted by the return to fitness of Richairo Zivkovic, who had missed the last month of the season due to injury, in the 12 games played for us, he had scored 12 goals, and caused trouble with his direct running, allowing for Marquis and Mujica to come in and make the most of his actions off the bench.
A 3-0 defeat at Craven Cottage was disappointing, and the vast amount of the first team showed they were angry with the result, as Miguel Luis pulled the strings in midfield, creating goals for McMullen and Zivkovic, before getting on the end of an Abdoul Kabore through ball to place the ball in the top corner. It wasn’t to be however, as James Wilson, top scorer for Fulham, was left in space with a couple of minutes left to put the visitors through 4-3 on aggregate.
Lessons learned, and ambitions made for next season.
The End of Season Awards also showed how important Luis had been to us this season, winning 3 awards at club level, as well as Championship Player and Young Player of the Year.
Off the pitch, incredible backing was shown once again by the board, as they announced their intention to upgrade the facilities for Youth Development and Training, as well as pushing us to the next level on the Academy scale.
Of course, we would need to see an improvement on the standard of youngsters coming through into the setup, but, these moves can only help.
As the young players at the club go, several were sent out on loan, with a couple of exceptional young talents being dripfed first team football. They were both called up by the England U21 squad in the second half of the season, and played full games in both matches after they were called up.
Glyn Gardner made 8 appearances, was sent off once for two bookings, but, gained experience off the bench and, started several games when Schuurs and Djalo were unavailable.
The same could be said of Jon Walters, Linus Wahlqvist missed several games due to suspension, and the 16 year old gave performances that defied his age. He made 7 appearances, and spent a large portion of the season in the U23s standing by in case he was needed.
3 young strikers were sent out on loan, to League Two, Conference and Conference North, and finished as top scorers for their relative clubs, despite having differing results throughout the season.
In League Two, Sameron Dool scored 16 goals for Notts County as they finished 9th.
Darragh Shaughnessy saw his Wrexham side promoted from the Conference, as he scored 20 goals for them, in a very freescoring team, and finishing second in the division Golden Boot behind Christian Doidge of Forest Green.
Finally, in the Conference North, Adam Davie scored 16 for Kettering, which wasn’t enough to save them from being relegated.
Recruitment for next season is continuing, and I feel that Marquis isn’t going to continue scoring at Championship level, despite his effective season this year, and I’m still not sure about Mujica.
One bonus of the upgrades we’ve received to the scouting at the club, allowed me to watch the French Leagues pretty well, and as such, a 22 year old French striker was spotted, who was out of contract in the summer. He was watched several times, and is up to the physical standards required, as well as having a decent technical ability that can be worked on.
As well as being able to play up front, he can play on either wing, so, depending on how he is needed, he will fit in well. Especially if Luis and Andersson stay and feed him the sort of balls that he will thrive on.
Away from Doncaster Rovers, Manchester United won the Premier League by 1 point from Manchester City, with Everton, West Brom and Newcastle being relegated.
In the Championship, QPR were promoted as Champions, with Cardiff 5 points behind them. 6th place Fulham go up through the playoffs, thanks to an 89th minute winner from Luc Castaignos. Luton, Derby and Millwall dropped out of the division.
In League One, Barnsley came up as Champions, with Jaap Stams Nottingham Forest following them, and MK Dons doing so via the Playoffs. At the other end of the table, Rochdale, AFC Wimbledon, Yeovil and Stevenage went down to League Two.
League Two saw Walsall promoted as Champions, with Plymouth and Gillingham behind. Scunthorpe disposed of Swindon at Wembley in the Playoffs. Crewe and Morecambe dropped down, with Crewe swapping places with Southend on the last day of the season.
Wrexham came back to the league as Conference Champions, with Forest Green following behind with a 1-0 victory in the playoffs.
Manchester United completed the double, with a penalty shoot out victory over Chelsea, which saw Fernando Muslera save 2 spot kicks for the victors.
In Europe, Lyon won the Europa League with a 2-0 victory over RB Leipzig at Wembley, Spanish forward Mariano with both goals in the 2nd half.
Dortmund and Arsenal fought out the Champions League Final in Amsterdam, with the English side retaining the trophy, thanks to penalties, and Petr Cech keeping out Mario Gotzes penalty.
Away from the Cup competitions, Real won the title in Spain by 7 points, stopping Barcelona winning for a 3rd successive season. In France, PSG kept Monaco at bay, as they ran up 102 points in Ligue 1. Bayern kept up the stranglehold in Germany, winning the Bundesliga by 9 points from Leverkusen. It was a similar story in Italy, where a Gonzalo Higuain inspired Juventus won Serie A for the 9th successive season. Lastly, in Holland, Vitesse won what can only be described as a shock title, overcoming the challenge of Ajax by 1 point.
Theres plenty of work to do as Doncaster look to strengthen for next season, I think I need a new left back, and potentially a new defensive midfielder.