THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Phil Kyte looks at the big issues affecting Rotherham

Has Ronnie Moore’s standing in the eyes of Rotherham fans been seriously affected by the saga of his non-move to Ipswich?
Not really. His eagerness to jump ship left a nasty taste, but most are realistic enough to know it’s more a case of when rather than if he leaves. But like a turbulent love affair, the love you share means you can forgive just about anything. Apart from joining Wednesday. We just hope that when he does go it’s to a big club. (And that rules out Wednesday.)

Are the club getting the maximum support they could hope to attract?
We’re hopeless when it comes to any kind of creative thinking for such schemes. Admittedly it may be harder with the sheer number of clubs in close proximity, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to try. We get token “kid-a-quid” schemes and that’s about your lot.

Do Rotherham fans make a distinction between the two Sheffield clubs when it comes to rivalry?
Most fans tend to despise Wednesday more, but that doesn’t stop Sean Bean being a tosser. One group with a “Rotherham Owls” banner have endeared themselves recently. What’s most annoying is seeing the shirts and stickers etc round the town centre for Wednesday or the Blades.

How do you think Rotherham as a team are perceived by supporters of other First Division clubs?

A big, rough side. We’ve got tall centre-halves, but I always thought height was a prerequisite for the position. And we’ve got two of the best wingers in the country in Andy Monkhouse and Chris Sedg­wick. And Alan Lee, who’s Irish and scores hatfuls – no wonder Mick got the sack. Oh, and we also get patronising comments about our ground. Yes, we know it’s rubbish but at least we can still pay our wages in full.

What was your worst moment as a Rotherham fan?

“Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the new manager of Rotherham United, Mr Danny Bergara.”

Fondly remembered
Ronnie Moore ~ Rotherham’s league position has improved every year for the past five years. Average crowds are up every year for the same period (not that that’s saying much). And we’re playing some of the best football in years. Arise Sir Ronnie. And he hasn’t even left yet.

Best forgotten
Anton Johnson ~ As if owning us wasn’t enough, he had shares in three or four others. Left a previously healthy club with debts of half a million (when it was more than just Keane’s fortnightly wage) and on the verge of bankruptcy (before it became fashionable). It’s taken until now to fully recover.

Milestones & Millstones
1884 Rotherham United time traveller arrives from 1984 to form Thornhill United for centenary celebrations. No other evidence of founding of club.
1925 Bottom of the league Rotherham County and bottom of the Midland League Rotherham Town merge to form Rotherham United.
1947 Draw 3-3 with Rochdale in our last home game, having won the rest. Finish second three years running, then sixth, before finally returning to the Second Division in 1951.
1953 The Millers knock Newcastle, winners of the previous two FA Cups, out at St James’ Park and get to the fifth round for the first time.
1961 Rotherham and Aston Villa contest the first League Cup final, which Villa win, but only in extra time in the second leg.
1967 Tommy Docherty arrives to take us out of the Second Division. He does, to the Third, leaving before the inevitable drop into the Fourth.
1978 Malcolm MacDonald plays his final game as the Millers beat Arsenal 3-1 in the League Cup.
1980-82 Ronnie Moore joins, and we go from mid-table Third Division to nearly the top of Second Division under Ian Porterfield, then Emlyn Hughes.
1983-97 A number of relegations and fewer promotions leaves us in the old Fourth with only a Wembley car ­windscreen win to show for it.
1991 We beat Scunthorpe in the first FA Cup tie to be decided by penalties.
1997 Ronnie returns, as manager. Only the Premier League stands between us and undoubted European success.

From WSC 191 January 2003. What was happening this month

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