Tag Archives: Richard Wood

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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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.


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