After winning League One last season, Doncaster Rovers have been working hard to strengthen their squad for the challenges of the Championship. Ross Turnbull has come in from Chelsea, Marc de Val has arrived on a free transfer from Real Madrid and Louis Tomlinson has joined from One Direction. Yes, you did read that correctly.
Louis — who is apparently one of the members of the popular boy band not named Harry — is a Donny season ticket holder who used to be a ball boy at Keepmoat Stadium. After fulfilling his childhood dream of reciting bland pop melodies to arenas full of screaming girls, he is now fulfilling the childhood dream of signing for his beloved Rovers. The Guardian reports:
The 21-year-old, who was born in Doncaster but has never played higher than Sunday league football, has been given the No28 squad number for the 2013-14 season and is likely to appear for the team's reserves after signing as a non-contract player in aid of Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice in Sheffield.
Before any prepubescent teen girls reading this fear that their favorite band is breaking up (and I understand prepubescent teen girls are a huge part of the DT demographic) it should be made clear that the signing is more of a charity publicity stunt than a drastic career change for the not-called-Harry singer.
A club spokesman said Tomlinson will train with Paul Dickov's side and feature in club colors at some point this season, but a cursory glance at One Direction's tour schedule (it's in my bookmarks) shows he will be in the middle of a US tour when Doncaster's season kicks off this weekend. He'll then spend most of September and October entertaining our anitpodean friends in Australia and New Zealand.
It's interesting that the popstar has been given the squad number 28. Doncaster owner John Ryan considers it to be "his number" after wearing it when he came on as a substitute during a 2003 Conference match, becoming the oldest player ever to feature for a professional British side at the age of 52.