Category Archives: League One

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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Rotherham United to fly the flag ahead of the play-offs

A trio of Rotherham United supporters have successfully raised enough money to create a massive banner as the club aims to return to the Championship after sealing a play-off place, with a 2-0 victory over Bristol Rovers yesterday.

The flag which will be 12×12 metres in size was initially the idea of avid Millers supporter John Nixon. He took inspiration from a large banner displayed at Plymouth’s Home Park and wanted to raise the pre-match atmosphere at The AESSEAL New York Stadium. John then contacted fellow supporters Jenson Lambley and Peter Rhodes who were fully behind the idea and helped organise the effort to raise the £1100 that was needed to create the flag.

Jenson Lambley explained how it took just five days for Millers supporters to back the plans and raise the money needed: “We started a go fund me page and we thought it would take a huge amount of time. I organised for an advert to be displayed on the screen at yesterday’s game and we kept on sharing the page throughout the groups on Facebook. We even managed to get the club to put a tweet out to spread the word.”

“In addition to that The Sheffield Star gave us a mention of what we are trying to do and to also help spread the word. We appreciated every single bit of help highly.”

Lambley expressed his thanks to supporters and the football club who aided the cause: “To have hit our money target already just feels truly magnificent, the help we’ve received from the club is unbelievable and we can’t thank them enough for the high amount of support.”

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“It also shows how many fans are behind this great idea of bringing a flag to the New York Stadium to boost the atmosphere and get the fans going before the games”, he added.

It was revealed that the flag which was being manufactured in Cardiff would feature the club’s crest, with a red background along with white coloured text which reads “Rotherham United” and “The Millers”.

You can still donate by using the link below and all the extra funds will go to the Rotherham United Ladies.

https://www.gofundme.com/12×12-metres-giant-flag

Follow me on Twitter: @GeorgeS_Sport

 

INTERVIEW: Charlie Hawkes reveals the positives and negatives of vlogging football games

I spoke to young YouTuber and avid Rotherham United supporter Charlie Hawkes to gain his insight in to being a vlogger of football games. He also offered his thoughts on how he thought the Millers’ season would transpire.

Charlie first discussed what inspired him to start making videos of his experiences at football matches: “For a start there was your channel [George Sanders] and Dylan Lee-Horton’s too that made me want to start doing videos.” He added: “I also thought Talk Norwich City was really good too!”

The 14 year-old who supports Rotherham due to family influence contended that he has had issues with regards to him vlogging Millers games in the past: “At Walsall away a couple of Millers fans started shouting abuse at me and my friend James who was also making a video, but nothing too major has happened really.”

However Charlie explained how the majority of people have supported him and his YouTube channel: “My family know about the channel and they’re quite supportive and all my mates do too. I do occasionally get a bit of stick here and there for it though!”

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I myself have also received a few snide comments from people when I used to create videos at football games, but similarly to Charlie, I also had a lot of good people supporting me too.

Though Charlie did admit that he didn’t see YouTube as a sustainable career for himself in the future, he has clear aspirations for his ever-growing channel: “I’m very close to reaching 500 subscribers and that in my eyes is a massive milestone for me, but if I could ever gain more than 1,000 that would be a dream!”

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Charlie celebrating a goal in one of his videos.

When asked about which of his videos was his favourite, he exclaimed: “I don’t have one I think!”

We then turned attention to his beloved Rotherham United. Charlie revealed that his favourite player currently was “Super” Joe Newell.

Newell is a 25 year-old midfielder who is primarily used as a winger, but can also play in the centre of midfield too. He has scored seven goals so far for the Millers this season.

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So, will Rotherham United achieve promotion to the Championship? Charlie wasn’t so confident on this matter: “I would love us to clench promotion obviously, but I also don’t want us to be embarrassed like last season if we were to go up. In terms of confidence… I’d say I’m about 60% sure we’ll go up.”

The Millers were relegated from the Championship last season after finishing rock-bottom with a measly tally of just 23 points. The club are currently fourth in League One.

Make sure you go on this link to visit Charlie’s channel: 
https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCtOtK9QN_Tz1LofE-YClMbA
Follow me on Twitter: @GeorgeS_Sport
Thanks to Charlie for taking the time to talk to me and I wish him luck with his YouTube channel.
Watch my interview with Rotherham United midfielder Will Vaulks:

Rotherham United vs Fleetwood Town – A CRUCIAL game for The Millers

Rotherham United host Fleetwood Town on Saturday in what could prove to be a pivotal game for Rotherham’s chances of securing a play-off place.

The Millers, who currently reside in fourth in the standings went on an emphatic fourteen game unbeaten run which propelled them into the play-offs places. However, recent form has been inconsistent and has seen the Yorkshire club have gained three points just once in their last five. They lost 3-1 away at Charlton Athletic in their previous fixture.

That result was slightly tough on Rotherham who had a few positive spells in the game. It will be crucial that the Millers players do not drop their heads following this defeat. Rotherham United midfielder Will Vaulks was quick to share his frustration on social media after the result:

The visitors will be a tough test after vastly improving their fortunes following John Sheridan being appointed as first team manager, following the sacking of Uwe Rosler in February. The Cod Army are now on a seven game unbeaten run thanks to the 53 year-old’s guidance and have won their last four games. Their most recent fixture was a 2-0 victory over Bristol Rovers.

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The game is still important for both clubs, but for very different reasons.

It can be argued that a loss in the game could have worse implications for the Millers, though. Fleetwood appear like they are going to be safe, as they now sit in 13th place in the League One table with a tally of 51 points, though Sheridan did contend that: “I don’t think 51 points is enough, we still don’t know what is going to happen in this league, but I am only bothered about us.”

If the Millers do lose, and with the likes of Peterborough and Charlton chasing, the Rotherham gap ahead could be cut to just two points should those teams gain three points. Therefore a loss could pile pressure on Rotherham as the season is drawing ever nearer to closing, where consistency will most likely prove crucial for success.

With both sides still having lots to play for, it is likely to be a close affair at The AESSEAL New York Stadium.

Follow me on Twitter: @GeorgeS_Sport

Former Rotherham United player reveals what it was like playing for the club during the turbulent times

How aware were the players of the scale of the jeopardy facing Rotherham United during their years of near crisis? Former Millers full-back, Dale Tonge explains what it was like wearing the red shirt through this unstable period for the club, and indeed through the better times, too.

Rotherham United were threatened with extinction as they entered administration twice prior to 2008. Multiple points deductions would follow as a consequence, eventually resulting in relegation to League Two. The situation was extremely dire. Dale Tonge contended that even the players weren’t fully aware of how bad the situation was at the Yorkshire club, and stated: “On a personal note, I struggled being a single lad with a mortgage, but lads with families struggled more which was hard to see. The people who had worked for years at the club got made redundant too, which was an awful situation to be in as these selfless people are the heart and soul of a club!”

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Local businessman Tony Stewart took over the club as chairman, but they still had to sadly leave their native home of Millmoor in the 2008-09 season, after failure to come to an agreement with the ground’s Landlords. Millmoor had been the home of Rotherham United for over a century and Tonge who had the pleasure of playing there, enthused that: “Millmoor was my favourite place to play!”

The 32 year-old also described the nature of the 8,300 seat stadium: “It reminded me of when I was young watching games on the terraces. The stands were close in, which created a great atmosphere!”

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The Millers moved to a temporary home at the Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield. The 25,000 seater stadium had an athletics track surrounding the pitch, which made it incredibly hard for supporters to create an atmosphere. “No player or staff member liked the move to Don Valley”, remarked Tonge. “However, we knew the move was necessary. We played for Rotherham, but never actually visited there often, trained in Doncaster and played in Sheffield!”

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The Don Valley Stadium – Photo courtesy of Chris Sanders

“Overall we tried to make this ground a tough place to come and I think we achieved this, but it certainly never felt like home!”

The club finally returned home in 2012, as they moved to the state of the art AESSEAL New York Stadium. The aesthetically pleasing 12,000 capacity stadium was to be the secure home of the club, finally back in their own town. Tonge described how the stadium created a wave of much-needed “optimism and excitement” around the football club, which: “rewarded the fans and in particular the chairman who deserves it for all the hard work and patience in seeing the process through.”

The Millers enjoyed back-to-back promotion from League Two to the Championship at the stadium under lively manager Steve Evans, whom Tonge played under. The club are currently battling for promotion again from League One this season under manager and former player, Paul Warne.

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Finally, Tonge summed up his Rotherham United career which lasted between 2007-13: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the club and making memories there. It’s fair to say, I’ve had my downs too with me being injured far too many times, but this has made me a stronger person.”

“I was treated very well being a local lad and I was very proud to wear the shirt that a lot of my family supported.”

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He ended the interview with the remark:

“Once a Miller, always a Miller!”

Tonge came out the Barnsley youth set-up and made his debut in 2004 against Brentford. He currently plays for FC United of Manchester. A massive thanks to Dale for taking the time to speak to me!

A full feature on Rotherham United including more of Dale’s comments and supporter’s views will be on The Yorkshire Voice in the near future.

Follow me on Twitter: @GeorgeS_Sport

 

HEAD2HEAD Preview: Rotherham United vs Bradford City – 23/01/18

Here’s a head to head preview ahead of Rotherham United hosting Bradford City in League One’s Yorkshire derby on Tuesday night.

Standings

Both clubs are eyeing promotion this season. The Bantams are four points higher in the table than Rotherham with a tally of 48 points, as they currently reside in 5th place in the league table. The Millers meanwhile are situated just outside the play-offs in 7th place.

Recent Form Guide

Rotherham have stretched their impressive unbeaten run to eight games following their recent 1-0 victory over promotion rivals Portsmouth. Out of these eight games, five have resulted in Paul Warne’s side gaining all three points.

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The visitors on the other have have entered a period of inconsistent form, losing their last two games. They lost at the weekend against Bristol Rovers 3-1. They have now lost three out of their last five games, however the other results were victories for the West Yorkshire club.

In the dugout

Rotherham United – Paul Warne

Bradford City – Stuart McCall

Top Scorers

The hosts’ top scorer was on-loan Striker Kieffer Moore who had become one of the leading scorers with 13 goals to his name. However, he was re-called by his parent club Ipswich and was subsequently sold to Championship side Barnsley. Therefore, Rotherham’s current top scorer is former Fleetwood Town striker David Ball who has a tally of 6 goals.

The visitors’ top scorer is Middlesbrough-born Striker Charlie Wyke. He scored at the weekend in Bradford’s 3-1 loss to the Pirates. The 25 year-old who has more often than not proved to be an aerial threat is reportedly attracting a lot of interest from some Championship clubs, which is a suitable credit to his abilities.

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All-time Record

Bradford wins: 28
Rotherham wins: 36
Draws: 14

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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