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.”Embed from Getty Images
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.Embed from Getty Images
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.”Embed from Getty Images
“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…Embed from Getty Images
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