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Doncaster Rovers fans hit back after Louis Tomlinson wins kit-design competition

One Direction's Louis Tomlinson arrives at the Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster Credit: Press Association

Doncaster Rovers fans have slammed the club for 'fixing' a kit design contest - claiming it favoured One Direction star Louis Tomlinson.

It comes after the club announced the pop star received the highest number of votes from the five shortlisted designs for the club's new away kit.

The five shirt designs were put to Rovers fans to vote on in February, but the designers' identities were kept secret until the winner was announced.

The club said Louis' design came top of the poll with 33.7 per cent of the vote.

Louis, who signed a non-contract deal with the South Yorkshire club in August 2013, posted on Twitter shortly after midnight on Tuesday:

But die-hard Donny fans took to social media to slam the announcement as a ploy to use the singer's popularity to sell more shirts.

The competition also included a week-long trip to Thailand, however there is no confirmation whether Louis will claim the holiday.

Neil Taylor, who administrates the Doncaster Rovers Facebook group, said fans are considering boycotting the away kit in protest against the club's decision to award the design contest to the One Direction star.

"I am absolutely livid because they asked me to push the competition [in the Rovers Facebook group] telling fans that it was a once in a lifetime prize - and we agreed. For most people a free trip to Thailand is a once in a lifetime prize.

I have nothing against Louis Tomlinson, I'm sure he's a nice lad. My issue is with the club, it's them who fixed it.

They shortlisted his shirt along with the four worse designs - one of which looked like a green table cloth - so that his was the only acceptable one for people to vote for.

I can't see Louis sitting down on his granddad's knee to design it somehow. Even if you believe what they're saying, I don't see how they could have let someone who tried to buy the club, someone who has worked at the club, to enter the competition. You would have thought they would have stopped anyone connected to the club, from ticket sellers to whoever from entering.

They have seen this as a way of making use of Louis' remaining popularity to sell the shirts to One Direction fans. I think it's a slick way of getting around his image rights, which I know they had problems with when he was wanting to takeover the club.

I'm unhappy that the club are either taking us for total idiots, or they don't care what we think and feel there's plenty more fans in the sea - like teenage One Direction fans - who will buy the shirts instead."

– Neil Taylor

Rovers have also announced that 20 people who pre-order the away shirt before midnight on June 10 will be drawn at random to win a shirt personally signed by Louis.

The winning home and away kit designs Credit: Doncaster Rovers Football Club

However the contest to design Doncaster's home shirt for next year was won by Rovers fan Shaun Smith, whose red and white strip received 41.4% of the vote.

"I've been a Rovers fan for 15 years! I sit in with the Black Bank and really enjoy being a part of it. It's a massive sense of pride for me that next season the players will be walking out in my shirt at the Keepmoat every week."

– Shaun Smith

A spokesperson for Doncaster Rovers said the process for receiving kit designs, shortlisting and the public voting for the kit design competition 'followed strict legal guidance'.

"We are aware that the result of the competition has attracted some mixed feedback, but we can assure our fans that the voting process for the 2016/17 shirt designs was all was fair and above board."

– Doncaster Rovers spokesperson