When a team leaves their stadium for pastures new, it doesn’t always work out for the best. The Millers, however, got it bang-on when they left Millmoor for the Aesseal New York Stadium.
If you asked most of the Premier League fans who Rotherham are, many would struggle to locate them on the UK map, let alone tell you much about the neighbours of Sheffield, and popular member of the Steel City collective.
Rotherham United, left Millmoor for a brief stay at the Athletics Stadium in Sheffield before their new home was completed. Where The Millers made a good decision is not going big, the new ground is well-sized for their fanbase and well located too. But that’s not all they have got right in recent years.
Ex-player, now manager, Paul Warne is a well-connected boss, fully aware that buying big is not for the Millers. Warne has used the loan system to great effect in his reign as the gaffer and a belief in keeping the squad size small, but well balanced, with leaders in key areas helping to carry his ethos across all departments.
Richard Wood and Billy Jones
If you build from a solid foundation, you have a much better structure, and in 2018 Billy Jones joined Rotherham to bolster that foundation. As an experienced pro, formerly of Sunderland, West Brom and Crewe, Jones is well respected on the pitch, along with Wood who joined in 2014 after a successful stay at Sheffield Wednesday. Richard Wood is one of those revered characters in the terraces spread between Championship and League One football – a goal threat and natural presence. All this pairing needed was a third musketeer…step forward Leicester-born, well-travelled Joe Mattock. Now, that is a foundation on which to build!
Olayinka Fredrick Oladotun Ladapo
Freddie Ladapo joined in the summer having scored for fun in a Plymouth team destined for relegation and became Paul Warne’s, and Rotherham’s biggest spend to date, rumoured to be £500,000. Ladapo’s 12 goals (all from inside the box) have kept the Millers fans happy.
Not Michael ‘Bully Boy’ Smith from the PDC Darts world but another deadeye marksman who likes to hit the bullseye. Nine goals this term with a strike-rate of 1 every 230 minutes may not sound too impressive but Smith’s passion and work-rate are both in abundance making him a popular figure in the red-and-white.
Hakeeb Adelakun, on loan from Bristol, Newcastle’s Daniel Barlaser and Huddersfield’s Josh Koroma all provide an attacking threat; Koroma being up top, and Adelakun and Barlaser being supply line. Warne used his network in football to bring in three highly thought of players to bring the creative streak to ASSEAL.
Other names you may know
You won’t find any egos in Warne’s changing room, Lewis Price is possibly the biggest name on the shirts. Price has represented Wales 11 times, across his career which began in Suffolk with Ipswich and visited Derby, Crystal Palace and Sheffield Wednesday before finding Rotherham.
You may have heard of Kyle Vassell, Curtis Tilt and Shaun MacDonald, but Warne is careful who enters his dressing room, and egos are left at the door, the temptation to exploit his contacts rarely extending past up-and-coming players through loans from clubs such as his hometown of Norwich.
Rotherham are one to watch.