Category Archives: Championship

Rotherham United: Promotion means so much more than going up to the Championship

After eventually sobering up from the League One play-off final on Sunday, here are my thoughts on the day where the Millers secured themselves Championship football.

The night before Rotherham United’s play-off final against Shrewsbury Town, I was understandably, extremely nervous. However when the day arrived my emotions were completely contrasting. Now it might have been the lager taking its toll, but I was very calm ahead of the game.

We’d had a fantastic season already, particularly taking in to account the mess we overcame following our woeful campaign in the Championship. I simply thought to myself, as cliché as it sounds, ‘Que sera sera, whatever will be, will be’ and that if we do manage to go up then it will be a bonus on what has already been quite a terrific season.

The coach journey down didn’t seem to last two minutes, with lots of chanting and a real sense of optimism in the air. A special mention to Paul Delaney and everyone at the Bridge Inn pub, who must be mentioned here for their terrific work and patience to organise so many coaches taking avid Millers supporters to games all season, in addition to the massive numbers to the capital.

Once in London there was only one thing to do, head to pub and shaft myself for overpriced lager. We chose the main Millers supporters’ pub, The Green Man. The beers were flowing, chants were being sung, and Richard Wood’s bricks were being tossed in the air. The atmosphere was fantastic and that alone would’ve been worth the lengthy trip.

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Millers supporters outside the Green Man pub as polystyrene bricks are thrown in the air.

I had to almost pinch myself when I eventually walked down to my seat at the home of English football, as the key thought going through my mind was: ‘We’ve actually managed to make it here.’

The atmosphere was good and credit to the Shrewsbury fans for playing their part in proceedings, too.

I was clearly enjoying myself, as you can see below. (Some people have given me some stick for me wearing my black bomber jacket, but I thought it was necessary to spare the people next to me my disgraceful sweat patches.)

I don’t think anything specific needs to be said about the game itself, the only thing I will claim is that we fully deserved that victory. We all know what happened there and how good it was.

I’ve also reached the conclusion that when I die, I’m leaving everything I own to Richard Wood and Paul Warne.

This promotion means so much more than going up a division and all the various financial benefits that it brings. It’s given the town its pride back. I can’t put in to words the enormous thanks and praise that must go to Warney and his team.

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I’ve always been proud to wear my Rotherham shirt, but from being a university student in Leeds, I received constant abuse and banter from supporters of other clubs last season, in our terrible Championship campaign. Even some Doncaster fans had the audacity to give me some lip (I know, it was THAT bad).

Now when I walk along the streets of Leeds, Rotherham, or wherever I am, I will wear my Rotherham shirt with an even bigger sense of pride. A sense that the players genuinely care about the club again. A sense of feeling that I have my football club back.

Perhaps I’ll even have, what can only be described as ‘a smug Jeremy Clarkson expression’ across my face as I walk past a supporter of a rival team, as I swagger down the streets with the tune of New York, New York by Frank Sinatra in my head.

I can’t wait for next season.

“Happy to be a Rotherham fan, until my dying day.”

Follow me on Twitter: @GeorgeS_Sport

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High-scoring striker Kieffer Moore joins Barnsley, but Rotherham fans shouldn’t be too disappointed on missing out

Former on-loan Rotherham United striker Kieffer Moore has joined Championship side Barnsley after being recalled by his parent club Ipswich Town. He snubbed his former employers and various other clubs like Bradford City and Peterborough, to sign with the Tykes.

The fee is reported to be around £750’000.

Barnsley fans have valid reason to gloat about the signing, as the high-towering strikers’ record speaks for itself. The striker scored an impressive tally of 13 goals during his fairly short time at the AESSEAL New York Stadium.

Moore quickly became somewhat of a hero during his 22 game spell at Rotherham United. Paul Warne’s Millers side based much of their play around the prolific 25 year-old at the start of the season, using Moore more often than not to hold up the ball and battle past defenders.

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Barnsley manager Paul Heckingbottom highlighted what he was expecting Moore to bring to his struggling Championship side:

“We were after a player of his qualities, who can offer something different and improve the starting 11. His height will trouble defenders and cause problems, but as a player he’s got much more in his locker and will score different types of goals.”

The fact he has also played in South Yorkshire already and knows the area will only benefit him in his new career at Barnsley. Heckingbottom said he expected him to “settle quickly”.

The Torquay-born striker trained with his new team-mates today in cold conditions at Barnsley’s training ground:

Very recently, the player tweeted his thanks to the Millers and further enthused about joining his new club:

It’s fair to say that the deal provoked some disappointment from Rotherham supporters, as despite a reported ‘club-record bid’ attempt in trying to capture the striker’s signature, he instead chose to move 13 miles North to Oakwell.

This disappointment is further understandable given the rapport that the 6ft 5 attacker developed with the Rotherham faithful. Not just with his goals, but with his positive demeanour off the pitch.

This United supporter’s tweet possibly sums up his positive relationship perfectly:

Despite of the striker choosing to join a rival side, Rotherham fans will surely be comforted by the fact that their own striker David Ball has entered a positive period of form. The former Fleetwood Town man had to be very patient in waiting for his first team chance under Warne, as Moore often started up front as a lone striker in the starting eleven. Ball has now scored in Rotherham’s last three fixtures. Most recently it was an 88th minute equaliser against high-flying Blackburn Rovers to earn the Millers a well-deserved point.

With regards to other transfer news relating to Rotherham, it has been sparse so far this January. There have been no new signings as to date, and just one departure. Goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell left the club to join fellow League One side Northampton Town on a permanent deal, after making 27 appearances, but failing to secure his spot in the first team this season.

In the Tyke camp, Kieffer Moore was the Tykes’ first signing this season, but there have been no other deals so far.

Barnsley too, have had departures on their own. Harvey Barnes was recalled by his parent club Leicester City. He netted five goals whilst he was with the Reds, including a fantastic strike against rivals Sheffield Wednesday.

Another exciting player who returned to his Premier League club from Barnsley, was young Chelsea striker Ike Ugbo.

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Additionally Barnsley sold 21 year-old midfielder Josh Kay to lowly Chesterfield for an undisclosed fee. They also sent midfielder Jared Bird out on loan to Yeovil Town and Cameron McGeehan on loan to Scunthorpe United. Finally, Goalkeeper Jack Walton Joins Northern Premier League Premier Division Stalybridge on loan.

Barnsley’s next fixture, which may well feature their new singing, is a stern test in the Championship at home to top of the league Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.

Meanwhile Rotherham will make the trip to Oldham Athletic on Saturday, in League One.

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Follow me on Twitter: @GeorgeS_Sport

 

Midlands’s managerial changes: Struggling Nottingham Forest announce Mark Warburton as manager, while Derby County appoint Gary Rowett

Nottingham Forest, who find themselves just two points above the Championship relegation zone in 19th place, today announced former Rangers boss Mark Warburton as their new manager.

Warburton who has also successfully gained promotion with Brentford in the 2013/14 season has signed a 2 and a half-year deal at the Midlands club.

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Warburton may face a baptism of fire as his first game in charge of The Reds is in the East Midlands derby against 10th placed Derby County on Saturday.

Derby are a team who have lost their last 4 away games going into this fixture and are also going through their own period of change.

This is due to the sacking of Steve McLaren, and the recent appointment of the former Birmingham City manager Gary Rowett. The 43 year-old has signed a contract that lasts until the end of the 2018/19 season.

Gary Rowett told the official Derby County club website: “I feel a special bond with the club having been here as a player”.

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Both managers will have a tough task of rejuvenating their sides, with relegation looming over Warburton’s side, and a seemingly unlikely chance of securing a play-off place for Rowett’s Rams.

The last time the two teams met, Forest triumphed 2-1 over the Rams courtesy of a 92nd minute winner from Ben Osborn.

The upcoming game between the two teams takes place at The City Ground this Saturday, 1pm kick-off.

Follow me on Twitter: @GeorgeS_Sport

Preview: Sheffield Wednesday vs Reading 17/03/17

Promotion rivals Sheffield Wednesday and Reading will take on each other at Hillsborough this Friday in what could prove to be crucial fixture in the battle of securing a play-off place.

The last time the teams faced each other saw Reading triumph 2-1 over the Owls in November of last year.

Now, Reading travel to South Yorkshire on the back of having lost their previous three away games. Most recently they slumped to a 3-0 defeat to Preston North End, in a game where the Royals had 63% of the ball possession, but failed to make use of it.

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Furthermore, The Royals have enjoyed just one victory in their last five fixtures, with three defeats and one draw.

Meanwhile over in Sheffield, The Owls have also ran into a rough patch of form, and due to their recent 2-0 loss to Aston Villa, The Owls share the exact same form as Reading in their last five games.

In addition to this poor form, a lack of available defensive players has occurred which will concern Owls supporters going into this fixture, with Glenn Loovens, Tom Lees and Sam Hutchinson all reported to be injured. Vinent Sasso is also suspended.

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Despite of this, Wednesday manager Carlos Carvalhal seems to be upbeat about his side’s chances this Friday, and stated: “We will be a strong team on Friday. It will be a massive game to us.”

Reading may focus on exploiting the lack of regular first team defenders at Wednesday’s disposal, using the likes of the skilled attacker Yann Kermorgant, who is their top scorer with nine goals, to unpick an irregular looking Owls defence.

However, Reading will still of course be facing a tough test, and will also have to contend with Wednesday’s own plethora of attacking players, which includes the likes of Fernando Forestieri who has scored eleven times so far this season.

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If Fulham win tonight against struggling Blackburn Rovers, it will ensure that Wednesday would fall out of the play-off places, putting even more pressure on Carvalhal to muster a response from his players rapidly.

This Friday’s game is of vital importance for both of the clubs’ chances of securing a play-off place.

The game kicks off at 7:45pm.

Follow me on Twitter: @GeorgeS_Sport