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Doncaster Rovers 1 v 1 Rochdale
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Saturday, 8th February 2020 Kick-off 15:00
Played For Both: Doncaster Rovers v Dale
Played For Both: Doncaster Rovers v Dale
Thursday, 6th Feb 2020 11:23 by Chaff

Our latest installment is our Played for Both series see us look back at a former midfielder who turned out for both Dale and Doncaster Rovers.

John Doolan, a hard man midfielder, eventually rocked up at Spotland in January 2006 having been allowed to leave Blackpool. Doolan was entering the latter stages of his career when he joined Dale but still had a big impact on the squad and his time with Dale will probably be viewed as a successful one by the majority of Dale fans.

I say he “eventually” rocked up at Spotland because Steve Parkin had openly admitted he tried signing the player years earlier while he was at Barnet, but the move never came off. He eventually got his man years later, but will would probably say he missed out on Doolan’s better years.

Doolan started his football career by coming up through the ranks at home town Everton before being released in 1994. Doolan was quickly snapped up by Mansfield Town in the old Division Three, or League One in new money.

He really impressed at Field Mill for the Stags and would go on to have a great four-year spell there before eventually leaving in 1998. He went on to play 149 games for Mansfield and scored 14 goals in that time as well as the occasional red card!

He left Mansfield in January 1998 to join Barnet in a £60,000 deal. That was fairly big money back then as well!

Doolan continued to impress for Barnet that season although he did manage to get himself red carded against his former side Mansfield towards the end of the season. His next and last game that season came against Rochdale, but we beat Doolan’s side 2-1.

Barnet had a superb season in 1999/00 with Doolan the driving force in midfield but they fell just short when they lost to Peterborough in the playoffs while Peterborough went on to win promotion.

It was a case of one extreme to the other for Doolan and his Barnet side though as the following season was a disaster. John Still was moved upstairs into a Director of Football role while former Everton, and West Ham striker, and current Sky Sports Pundit, Tony Cottee was brought in as first team manager. Barnet had started the season off well, but Cottee’s introduction derailed the Bees spectacularly despite winning their first match 7-0 at home to Blackpool. They would only win 5 games from that point until the end of the season and eventually finished bottom of the table and were relegated to the Conference!

Doolan only managed to play 21 games for Barnet in the Conference in 2001/02 but did manage to pick up 8 yellow cards in that time!

The 2002/03 was to be Doolan’s last at Barnet before leaving to go to Doncaster in March 2003, also in the Conference but very much on their way back up and they were promoted back to the football league that season. Doolan had played over 200 games for Barnet, scoring 12 goals in that time.

Wherever he’d been had been one of the first names on the team sheet and rarely faced spells on the touchline. In the two years he spent at Donny, he played 92 games and scored 3 goals but after his deal ended, he left Belle Vue and headed off to the Seaside to join Blackpool but only spent half the season there before heading down the M62 to join Rochdale.

Doolan quickly became a regular at Dale and added a bit of steel to our midfield but also had the ability to ping a pass about.

His second season at Spotland saw him start the season with Steve Parkin as manager but ended with Keith Hill being in charge. Doolan played 44 games that season but Hill looked to be bringing younger players through to the first team as we chased that elusive promotion and with Doolan very much in the latter stages of his career when he joined Dale, struggled to hold down a place in Hill’s first full season in charge. He only really played half the games but did manage to feature in the playoffs against Darlington but was an unused substitute in the final at Wembley.

Doolan left at the end of the season and went into coaching. He had made 90 appearances and scored 5 goals for Dale. He joined Southport as player coach before leaving less than a year in the role. He was also at Everton coaching their Academy side and a quick look on Linkedin suggests he’s still at Everton as the clubs U23 Recruitment Officer.

He will be well remembered by Dale fans and his most memorable moment was probably against Hartlepool at home at the end of the 2006/07 season. He and Andy Monkouse had been at it all game and Doolan and Monkhouse had a coming together, both men were given a straight red card. That wasn’t the end of it, Monkhouse ran off the pitch to the dressing room but Doolan gave chase and moved quicker than we’d ever seen him move to go after the Hartlepool winger down the tunnel. I remember thinking “God help him” if he managed to get hold of him.

Photo: Action Images

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