On July 17, 2014, One Direction's Louis Tomlinson failed to raise enough money to buy the Doncaster Rovers soccer team. According to Eurosport.com, Tomlinson and businessman John Ryan teamed up to try to buy the Rovers team through the Crowdfunder.co.uk website, but they only reached £757,796 of the £2 million goal by the deadline on July 17, 2014.
Later that day, Tomlinson issued this statement: "I'm absolutely gutted the Doncaster Rovers deal is not going ahead. I am desperate for the club to be given the recognition it deserves. I was explicitly told that the deal to buy the club was not dependent on the money raised by Crowdfunding. Unfortunately I was misled.
"My passion for Doncaster Rovers remains as strong as ever, and I hope that I can still be involved with the club moving forward. And to all the Doncaster Rovers fans , I will do all in my power to help the club succeed. I really do love the club. For the record, I insisted contractually I would never earn a penny from DRFC. I simply wanted to help club and community. Still hoping I can."
On Feb. 26, 2014, Tomlinson made his debut as a reserves team member for the Doncaster Rovers at a match held at Keepmoat Stadium in Doncaster, England. The Doncaster Rovers faced off against Rotherham United; the game resulted in a draw, with the score tied at zero. Tomlinson played in the second half of the match. The Daily Mirror reported that when it was announced at the beginning of the match that Tomlinson would not make an appearance until the second half, many people in the crowd reportedly booed and expressed disappointment, which turned into even more booing after Tomlinson played for only 15 minutes and did nothing more than wave to the fans in the audience after he exited the game. What did they expect? A concert?
According to the Daily Mirror: "What would normally be a quiet charity match against Rotherham United reserves was transformed into a One Direction stadium of mayhem as thousands of overly excited girls brought banners, Harry Styles masks and their screaming voices to cheer the 22-year-old singer on. It was difficult to spot any actual football fans in among the long hair and glitter at Doncaster's Keepmoat Stadium ... Much to the crowd's delight he [Tomlinson] gave a quick wave as he left, but when he refused to do anymore — you know, dance a jig or anything — a few began to hurl abuse at him, with one even shouting 'you little sh*t.'"
The Daily Mirror reported that Tomlinson's girlfriend Eleanor Calder was also at the soccer match. She was seen in the stands showing support for Tomlinson. The couple has been dating since late 2011.
After the game, Tomlinson commented on Twitter: "Wow what an incredible experience. Can't put into words how I feel :) I will never forget pulling on my own Doncaster Rovers shirt !! Really can't thank the team, the gaffer and every single person involved at Doncaster Rovers enough ! I feel like a 10 year old again ! And obviously a huge huge thank you to everyone who came down :) a real credit to our fans :) hope it was a good day out !"
As previously reported, Tomlinson signed with the Doncaster Rovers in August 2013 to be a member of the professional soccer team.
The news came one year after Tomlinson bought an amateur soccer team called Three Horseshoes from his hometown of Doncaster, England.
Tomlinson commented on the Doncaster Rovers' official website on the day it was announced that he signed to the team: "I feel very honored to have been asked to sign for Rovers and being able to help both the club and the amazing charity Bluebell Wood is what it's all about."
The Doncaster Rovers website had this statement: "Louis has always been passionate about football and wanted to realize a dream of signing to his home town club where he once worked on match days. After discussions between Louis, Paul Dickov and media manager Steve Uttley, it was decided that the club could sign him and issue him with a squad number for the 2013/2014 season.
"As part of the signing it is hoped that Louis will be able to appear in Rovers colors at some point this season in aid of Bluebell Wood and train with the lads. Chairman John Ryan and the manager Paul Dickov have given Louis the number 28 shirt for this season to help him raise money for Bluebell Wood."
An unnamed source told The Sun in August 2012: “Before Louis auditioned on 'The X Factor,' he played for the local pub side with a few of his pals back in Donny. The team were struggling to get a new kit together for the new season, and it filtered back to Louis. He decided to put his hand in his pocket as long as he can be called the owner and get the odd game when One Direction’s diary allows. He has sorted a really smart set of Nike strips and has even arranged a sponsor — Yorkshire Tea. They will have the best kit in the league and no shortage of tasty brews at half time in the cold winter months.”
One Direction came in third place on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2010. Since then, the group has become "The X Factor's" biggest-selling act worldwide, with No. 1 hits and sold-out tours in several countries
One Direction was on a world tour for most of 2013, which obviously affected Tomlinson's ability to play in Doncaster Rovers matches. One Direction is doing another world tour in 2014.