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Pro football club plays 52-year-old striker

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A multi-millionaire football club owner has become the oldest player ever to turn out for a British professional club.

At the age of 52 years and 11 months John Ryan came on as a substitute for Doncaster Rovers in their final Nationwide Conference League match of the season against Hereford.

Speaking after the match Mr Ryan said he enjoyed every second of his debut performance during his team's 4-2 win.

"It was wonderful, we won 4-2 as well so I am over the moon. I have also made it into the Guinness Book of Records," said Mr Ryan.

A lifetime fan of the South Yorkshire club, Mr Ryan invested £4 million in Rovers five years ago.

Amid tumultuous cheers from the crowd Mr Ryan donned the club's red and white strip when he took to the field as a striker for the final three minutes of today's game.

"I came on when the ref put his board up for an extra three minutes of injury time.

"I didn't actually get a kick of the ball but I had a good run around," said Mr Ryan.

His appearance earns him a place in the record books for being the oldest ever player as he beats current record holder Neil McBain, the former manager of New Brighton, who at the age of 52 years and four months swapped the bench for the field in 1947 because there was no one else available to play.

Earlier a spokesman for Mr Ryan said the businessman, who is the former owner of the largest cosmetic surgery business in Europe, had prepared for the match while holidaying at his villa in Majorca. He also joined players for training at the club's Catley Park training ground on Thursday.

Club director Ray Thomas said: "If you put that kind of money into the club you deserve to get a game. John saved Doncaster Rovers. The club was on its knees when he took over. John Ryan is Doncaster Rovers."