Tag Archives: League One

Rotherham United: We’re down, but we’re proud – Thank you, Paul Warne

We all know that Rotherham isn’t one of the most glamorous places to live in the country. But, it does have a football club, which gives the town a sense of pride and togetherness.

Video: Jonathon Ripley. Yes, that is me in the blue coat. No, I promise I’m not giving birth.

To add a bit of context, The Millers’ neighbours, mainly both deriving from the Sheffield clubs, tend to laugh at little old Rotherham’s expense sometimes. After all, we are often labelled: “a town full of Wednesday”.

And that’s fine, maybe we are in some ways. But that makes me even prouder being a Miller, knowing that I’m the one who’s actually supporting my local team. The team that means so much to myself and my family.

It was another rollercoaster season for that local team, too.

The end of the 2018/19 season sadly resulted in Rotherham United being relegated from the Championship, after being promoted the season before.

Relegation was a disappointment, yes. The key reason why it hurt so much this time around, was because the gaffer, Paul Warne, his staff and his players had given absolutely everything and fallen just short. Defender, Sean Raggett even lost one of his gnasher’s for the cause!

Warne’s side earnt many plaudits across the division for their ‘never say die’ attitude, and a second to none work rate.

This is a huge contrast to the last time Rotherham were in the Championship. Roll back the clock to 2017 and The Millers were relegated from the second division, with a measly tally of 23 points. It was a squad full of factions and included players who, on the face of it, didn’t seem to care as much as others.

It’s unreal how quickly Warne turned this around and took us back up.

But, hard work wasn’t quite enough to keep us up…

I could dissect how we played in certain games and discuss what we lacked, but that’s not what this piece is about.

We know we’re a minnow in the league, certainly financially. We accept that. But it was a campaign, upon reflection, of ‘what ifs’.

Local derbies against the likes of Sheffield United at home, and Sheffield Wednesday on both occasions spring to mind for me, where if The Millers had taken all three of the points that they deserved in these fixtures, they could have remained in the division. Oh, and don’t get me started on the amount of goals we conceded within the last ten minutes of games!

Now, supporters from other clubs may laugh at us, and wonder if we go crying to our beers. And maybe we did the first few times this sort of thing happened. Certainly not this season!

But, I will never forget that feeling I had as ‘Warniola’ and those ‘good human beings’ who wore that red shirt, acknowledged the supporters on the final day of the season, and that feeling of pride and one of a strange happiness I had.

Happiness because I think it’s rare that you see a group of wholesome, genuine people all together at a single football club, working against the odds for a cause. I was simply chuffed it was my team.

Rotherham United, really was UNITED.

On a final, personal note, there’s been things in my life which some of you may aware of that have been difficult this season, but this football club has also helped me through that.

RIP, Grandad. The nicest bloke you’ll ever meet and a massive Millers fan.

Little things really can make a difference!

So here’s a final thank you to Paul Warne, his staff, players, and of course my fellow supporters for making this an entertaining season in which, in the end, we can be proud of.

I can’t wait for next season, already.

You know how it goes: #OnceAMiller…

INTERVIEW: Millers Wembley hero, Richard Wood talks Play-off final celebrations, JDRF, his future after football, and more.

Ossett-born defender, Richard Wood, earned himself a legendary status at Rotherham United by scoring both of the goals in the 2017/18 League One Play-off final, against Shrewsbury Town. This sent The Millers back into the Championship.

“It was unbelievable,” enthused Wood.

“I couldn’t have dreamt of that happening. Even if you’d of asked me what the best scenario was on the day, it’d have just been to win and maybe to nick a goal for myself, but to get two and win, it’s what dreams are made of. It was a great feeling to be involved with it.”

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That game put to bed the hurt of the 2016/17 season. We had a team of players, who were ACTUALLY a team again. Paul Warne, the players, the staff, and everyone associated with the club deserve so much credit for the massive transformation that was made, in such a short amount of time.

Now I don’t know about you, but I celebrated wildly throughout the day and night, after the match had concluded. This was however, a contrast to what the Millers skipper got up to.

“Afterwards, it was a strange feeling because the dressing room was empty, as I had to spend time doing the interviews and everything,” he said.

“So I showered by myself which was a bit of a come down. I then went upstairs and met my family. All of the lads had already left, but it was good to see my children and my missus. She said I was in a bad mood! I had got injured too so that was playing on my mind. But, I’d just won promotion, so it was strange. We all then celebrated by having a party with the lads and by that point I’d come round.”

The Millers have been battling bravely against relegation this season, to preserve the South Yorkshire club’s Championship status. So far, Rotherham have surprised many people this season, by proving to be difficult to beat on many occasions.

“It’s been good, but nothing’s been achieved yet. Our aim is to stay up and there’s still a long way to go. We’re definitely faring better than two years ago,” cemented Wood.

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Rotherham manager Paul Warne guided his side back up at the first time of asking, and has earned himself a lot of plaudits in the process. What I enjoyed most from asking Wood about what ‘Warniola’ was like to work under, was the fondness that the veteran defender had in his voice, when speaking about the Millers gaffer.

“He [Paul Warne] thinks about different sides to football that aren’t usually looked on. Psychologically, he speaks about people being ‘good humans’, not just in football, but outside of the game such as your family life. He believes that if you’re a good person, that’ll transpire into your footballing career. He makes sure we have an understanding of our teammates and are thinking about what they’re going through, because life isn’t simple.”

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“Everybody’s got difficulties in life and circumstances, so it’s nice to come here. I’ve never done anything like it with other managers, that make you think about that side of it. This helps pull the dressing room together as we haven’t got the budget of other sides so, we think this is a different way that makes us stronger. He’s first class.”

Wood is proudly an ambassador for Type 1 diabetes charity, JDRF. He explained his reason for backing this charity in particular: “My son is a type one diabetic, he was diagnosed when he was three. He’s on an insulin pump, he needs that to live and there’s no cure. Now we’ve become more comfortable with dealing with it and managing his condition.”

“There are charities out there looking for cures and JDRF are one of them. I wanted to give something back and help other people with the condition. My son wants to be a footballer, and there’s people out there like, Henry Slade I think it is [England rugby player] who has the condition. It’s about putting a front out there that you can still achieve things with type one,” he enthused.

“I try and help when I can like at events and put it out there so people get more knowledge about it, as it’s often confused with type two diabetes, which is determined by lifestyle. There’s no known cause for type one. I’m hoping I can be a role model, even though I don’t have the condition.”

On a personal note, this struck a chord with me as I am a type one diabetic, myself. It’s not something I normally talk about, but it’s great to see Richard trying to spread awareness of the condition.

I think all Millers fans will hope that ‘Woody’ won’t be hanging up his boots anytime soon. But the defender stated that journalism is a possible occupation option, after his playing career has ended. Though he contended that coaching was his primary choice.

“I think my main career would be coaching. I’m going to complete my coaching badges in the next couple of years. If you’d of asked my five or six years ago, I wouldn’t of wanted to. But as I’ve got older, I think I’m approachable as I’m helping the young lads in the team now, as I am the senior pro. This is my next step when it happens, but I can fall back on journalism.”

I then ended the interview with a necessary, – “Up the Millers”, before letting Richard get on with his day.

I think I’m also obliged to end this article with the phrase: ‘Richard Wood is magic’, and well, you know the rest…

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Follow me on Twitter: @GeorgeS_Sport

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.

RW MAGIC

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.

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

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

 

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

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

Follow me on Twitter: @GeorgeS_Sport 

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