Tag: Rotherham United

Match Of The Midweek: Rotherham United 2-0 Aldershot Town (3-0 Agg)

The Don Valley Stadium, on the Rotherham side of Sheffield, couldn’t be much much less like Millmoor, Rotherham United’s home from 1907 until 2008. Millmoor may have been a little untidy but it was home for The Millers, with a scrap metal yard behind one of the stands beind the goal, the crane from which stood in full view of the pitch, as if Ted Hughes’ “Iron Man” was sneaking a peek every Saturday afternoon. Don Valley, by contrast, feels like an ultra-modern, twenty-first century, multi-sport venue, yet it feels almost  inappropriate for a League Two club to be playing here. The yellow steel piping and tent-like multi-span roofs over the stands give it an almost continental feel, but the running track makes creating an atmosphere difficult. Even this evening, only one stand is full – such are the pitfalls of playing in a 25,000 capacity stadium when your average crowd hovers at around one-sixth of that number. There are a shade over 7,000 here this evening and they’re making quite a racket, but Don Valley is lodgings rather than a home for Rotherham United. They plan to move into a new home of their own in two years’ time. That Rotherham United should be here this evening at all is, in its own small way, a miracle. They have had two spells in administration, the second of which...

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Football, Finances and League Two

The new League Two season has started with everybody financially stable – more or less – but Lincoln City supporter Keith Duncombe doesn’t feel that the authorities are going far enough. In 2002 Lincoln City FC nearly closed down. In fact, the club was 24 hours from having its application to enter administration in court considered when two of the then Board got together to try to secure enough funding to make that a reasonable possibility. One re-mortgaged his house; the other pledged a not inconsiderable sum of money. I shall be eternally grateful to them that they made these selfless gestures, as it ensured the survival of the club that I have followed all my life, and that has had fans from three generations of my family on the terraces and in the stands cheering on the “Mighty Imps” since the 1920s. But it was touch and go, and I know several fellow fans that travelled to Birmingham for the court hearing and who thought at the time that we just wouldn’t make it. The fans played their part too, and not just those who supported the Imps. I spent many a long hour on the net  at work persuading, cajoling and plain begging fans of other clubs to buy a seat (for £10) at Sincil Bank as part of the “Sponsor a Seat” initiative that eventually raised...

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Trying To Get Inside The Mind Of The Football League

Back in the day, struggling Fourth Division clubs had to regularly undergo the annual ordeal of re-election, in which the bottom four clubs in the table along with any non-league clubs that would fancied their chances took part in a vote to retain league membership. It is often said that the voting was seldom an objective affair. One story goes that Gateshead FC charged visiting club dignitaries for drinks in the boardroom, and were ejected from the Football League by the other clubs when they finished third from bottom in 1960. The flipside to this was at Hartlepool United, where the hospitality was so lavish that they never needed to worry about losing their membership. We thought that this had been done away with in 1987, when meritocracy seemed to have been brought in with automatic promotion and relegation between the Fourth Division and the Conference. Two decades on, however, the nagging feeling is starting to take hold that this meritocracy is all so much smoke and mirrors and that, in fact, the League’s members are acting as selfishly as ever. This may seem like a harsh assessment, but the thirty point deduction given to Luton Town earlier in the summer gave the impression of being almost vindictive in its severity. This has been followed up this week with the League’s decision to dock Rotherham United seventeen points for...

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A Home Away From Home

Sad and troubling news from South Yorkshire, where Rotherham United have conceded defeat in their attempts to stay at Millmoor, and will play for next season at least at the Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield. The club had been in negotiations with the Booth family (who own Millmoor) for the last few weeks, but have been unable to agree terms with the owners and will, therefore, be leaving their home for the last 101 years with immediate effect. There are plans in place with the local council to build a new community stadium within the town itself, but it will take a minimum of two or three years for the new stadium to be ready for use, so relocation seems to be the only option for them for the time being. Don Valley Stadium is five miles from Rotherham, in Sheffield. It is fortunate in some respects for the club that such a facility is relatively nearby. It is the biggest athletics stadium in England (with a capacity of 25,000), and is regularly used as a concert venue by rock bands. Whether it is suitable for League Two football is, however, a somewhat different question. Rotherham attracted crowds of in the region of 3-4,000 people for lehague matches last season, and the prospect of them rattling around Don Valley like peas in a tin can is a far from...

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Windy Millers

As the football season wends its way towards its conclusion, it’s easy to forget the harsh realities that many clubs have to operate under in order to put a team out each Saturday. That harsh reality has, however, reared its ugly head again, with Rotherham United becoming the third Football League club to be placed into administration this season after Luton Town and Bournemouth, and the danger is that, for Rotherham, the current financial crisis might just prove to be a step too far. This is, after all, a club that was placed into administration for the first time just two years ago, which no longer owns its own ground and which, according to sources, if no buyer or backer is found within the next couple of weeks or so, the club could face liquidation. Ken Booth, the scrap metal dealer whose yard borders Millmoor, was the traditional football club owner – the local dignitary with a bit of an ego and a sense of civic pride. He kept the club ticking over until the ITV Digital collapse, when Rotherham suddenly saw their projected television income collapse from an estimated £2.5m to just over £200,000. Sinking fast under an expensively assembled squad that was falling off the bottom of the Championship, Booth offloaded the club to the Supporters Trust for £1, with ownership of the ground transferring to him...

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