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.
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.”
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