As the new season draws ever closer, let’s have a quick look at Rotherham United’s opponents for next year.
Ground – Kingsmeadow
Nickname – The Dons or The Wombles
Manager – Wally Downes
Founded in June 2002 by Wimbledon FC supporters when the FA appointed an independent commission which allowed Wimbledon FC to relocate to Milton Keynes, AFC Wimbledon were in both the London and Surrey Football Associations.
In its short history the club have been promoted six times moving up from the Combined Counties Premier to League One making them the first club formed in the 21st Century to make it to the Football League.
One record the club hold is that from February 2003 to December 2004 they played seventy-eight consecutive games without a defeat which is a record for the longest unbeaten run of league matches in English senior football.
Last season the Dons spent a lot of time looking over their shoulder and were only safe from relegation when their last game of the season ended goalless away at bottom side Bradford City. JOE PIGOTT was top scorer with eighteen goals.
The Millers and Dons have met six times in the past, all in the league, with the last time being in League One at the New York Stadium in February 2018. Goals from Michael Smith and David Ball gave the hosts a two-nil win.
Ground – Crown Ground
Nickname – Stanley, Accy
Manager – John Coleman
This latest reincarnation of Accrington Stanley were formed in 1968 two years after the original club (who were formed in 1891) went out of business.
August 1970 saw the club move to the Crown Ground and after winning the Northern Premier League 2002/3 they moved into the Conference and finally into the Football League in 2006. Their first couple of seasons saw them battle to stay in the league but they finished sixteenth at the end of the 2008/9 season pushing for a play-off spot the following season before finally achieving that in 2011 losing to Stevenage in the semi’s.
2018 saw them finally promoted to League One and last season they finished fourteenth with top scorer’s BILLY KEE and SEAN McCONVILLE getting fifteen goals apiece.
The last time the Millers and Stanley met was in League Two at the New York Stadium for the last game of 2012. An own goal from Tom Eckersley gave the Millers the lead with Craig Lindfield getting an equaliser five minutes before half-time. But two goals from Daniel Nardiello and one from Michael O’Connor in fourteen second-half minutes gave the hosts a four-one win.
Ground – Bloomfield Road
Nickname – The Seasiders, The Tangerines, ‘Pool
Manager – Simon Grayson
Founded in 1887 they won the Fylde Cup and Lancashire Junior Cup in their first season and became founder members of the Lancashire League in 1889 and joined the Football League in the 1896/7 season in the Second Division. After just one season they found themselves back in the Lancashire League but May 1900 saw them re-elected to the Football League which is also when they moved to Bloomfield Road. At the end of the 1929/30 season Blackpool were promoted to the First Division where they lasted three seasons before being relegated and were there until promoted again at the end of the 1936/7 season and were top of the table when war broke out and league football was abandoned. In 1953 Blackpool won the FA Cup – a final that is now known as the ‘Matthews Final’.
Coming up to date, the club were relegated to the Third Division at the end of the 199/2000 season but went straight back up via the play-offs and 2002 and 2004 saw them win the Football League Trophy. May 2007 saw them promoted to the Championship, again via the play-offs, beating Yeovil two-nil. Blackpool found themselves in the Championship play-off final in May 2010 and beating Cardiff City three-two saw them climb into the Premier League. Unfortunately, they lasted just that one season and were relegated alongside West Ham and Birmingham City and got to the play-off final in the Championship again, but this time lost to West Ham. April 2015 saw the Seasiders relegated to League One with six games still to play. The last game of the season was abandoned when protesting fans ran onto the pitch just after half-time. The club suffered a second relegation in May 2016 with former Miller Gary Bowyer taking over as Manager two weeks into the following season and helping them to the play-off final against Exeter City. Bowyer resigned in August 2018 and a month later Terry McPhillips, Bowyers Assistant, was given the job. February 2019 saw the club into receivership by the High Court and two months later Michael Bolingbroke was appointed as Blackpool’s executive chairman. McPhillips resigned this summer and Blackpool have appointed Simon Grayson for a second spell in charge.
Despite all the off-field problems Blackpool finished in tenth place last season with sixty-two points and French forward ARMAND GNANDUILLET was top scorer with thirteen goals.
Rotherham and Blackpool last met in League One at Bloomfield Road in May 2018 when Will Vaulks scored the only goal of the game to give the visitors all three points.
Ground – University of Bolton Stadium
Nickname – The Trotters, The Wanderers
Manager – Phil Parkinson
1984 saw Christ Church Football Club formed changing their name to Bolton Wanderers three years later. Although they’ve played in every league they are probably best known for their exploits in the FA Cup, winning it four times in seven appearances. In 1958 Bolton won the A Charity Shield and in 1989 they were winners of the Football League Trophy.
Severe financial problems over the last few years last season saw players going on strike due to unpaid wages, a temporary closure of the training ground and a winding-up petition was all brought to a head when the PFA supported a strike by the players seeing the club having to cancel a game against Brentford which the Football League eventually saw them give three points to the Bees. By that time the club had already been relegated to League One from the Championship. In May the club went into administration and this season will see Bolton start on minus twelve points while it was made public that non-playing staff were still awaiting April’s wages.
JOSH MAGENNIS was Bolton’s top scorer last season with seven goals.
Of the thirty-six league games the Millers and Wanderers have been involved in Rotherham have won fifteen to Bolton’s nine. The pair last met in the Championship last season at the University of Bolton Stadium on Boxing Day which saw Sammy Ameobi open the scoring for the hosts with Will Vaulks equalising four minutes later but a sixty-fifth minute goal from Gary O’Neil gave Bolton their only win of the month.
Ground – Memorial Ground
Nickname – The Pirates or The Gas
Manager – Graham Coughlan
Founded in 1883 as Black Arabs FC they were also known as Eastville Rovers and Bristol Eastville Rovers before becoming Bristol Rovers in 1899.
Rovers were admitted to the Football League in 1920, and apart from one season, 2014/15, when they dropped to the Conference Premier, have played there ever since, though it has been a close thing on a number of occasions, including 1939 when they had to be re-elected.
In February 2016 it was announced that a 92% stake in the club had been bought by the Jordanian al-Qadi family with the club now being owned by Dwane Sports Ltd with 92.6% of the shares with Bristol Rovers Supporters Club owning the remaining 7.4%. After joining Rovers as a defensive coach in 2018 former Miller Graham Coughlan became caretaker manager and was given the job on a permanent basis in January 2019.
Last season saw the Pirates finish in fifteenth place with former Miller JONSON CLARK-HARRIS joining in January helping them beat the drop being top scorer with eleven goals.
The Millers and Pirates last met in League One in April 2018 at the New York Stadium when Michael Smith and Caolan Lavery gave Rotherham a two-nil win.
Ground – Pirelli Stadium
Nickname – The Brewers
Manager – Nigel Clough
Formed in 1950 Burton Albion joined the Birmingham and District League going on to play in the Southern League before a league reorganisation saw them moved into the Northern Premier League. At the end of the 2001/2 season Burton were promoted to the Conference and saw them get promoted from there to the Football League in 2009. May 2012 saw them lose out in the League Two play-off Final to Fleetwood Town. They were promoted to League One at the end of the 2014/15 season and then into the Championship the following season. At the end of the 2017/18 season the Brewers found themselves relegated back to League One.
Last season Burton finished in ninth place although they did get to the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup losing to Manchester City ten-nil on aggregate. To scorers last season with fourteen goals each were LUCAS AKINS and LIAM BOYCE.
The Millers and Brewers last encounter was in the Championship in December 2016 at the New York Stadium when former Miller Chris O’Grady put the visitors in front on thirty-six minutes with Jackson Irvine making it two-nil before Tom Adeyemi halved the deficit on the stroke of half-time but the match was a win for Burton.
Ground – Gigg Lane
Nickname – The Shakers
Manager – Paul Wilkinson
Following a meeting in the White Hart Hotel between the Bury Wesleyans and Bury Unitarians Football Clubs Bury FC was formed in 1885. The Shakers have been in the Football League since 1894 and have twice won the FA Cup – beating Southampton in 1900 and Derby County three years later.
May 2005 saw Bury became the first football club to score a thousand goals in each of the top four tiers of the English football league and the following year saw them became the first team to be thrown out of the FA Cup after fielding an ineligible player. July 2019 saw Paul Wilkinson become manager
Last season saw Bury promoted from League Two in second place getting there despite a winding-up order hanging over their heads and unpaid wages to staff. With twenty-one goals NICKY MAYNARD was the Shakers top scorer.
The Millers and Bury last met on Boxing Day 2017 at Gigg Lane when goals from David Ball, Lee Frecklington and Will Vaulks gave the Millers a three-nil victory.
Ground – St Andrew’s
Nickname – Sky Blues
Manager – Mark Robins
Formed as Singers F.C. in 1883 Coventry City took on their name fifteen years later joining the Football League in 1919. In 1992 they were an inaugural member of the Premier League spending thirty-four seasons there until relegated in 2001. After eleven years in the Championship they were relegated again to League One and 2017 saw them drop to League Two although they did win the EFL Trophy at Wembley. August 2005 saw them move from Highfield Road to the Ricoh Stadium and two years later they were close to going into administration and in 2013 they had to play their ‘home’ games at Northampton’s Sixfield Stadium returning to the Ricoh the following season. At the end of the 2017/18 season the Sky Blues were promoted back to League One via the play-offs but once again find themselves ground sharing, this time with Birmingham City.
Last season former Miller Mark Robins led his City side to eighth place in League One with JORDY HIWULA-MAYIFUILA was top scorer with twelve goals.
The last time the Millers and Coventry met was on New Years Day 2014 at the New York Stadium. Joe Skarz gave the hosts the lead on thirty-five minutes but a mad twenty last minutes where Craig Morgan was sent-off with Carl Baker scoring from the resulting penalty plus a Franck Moussa goal and another from Baker saw City win against Rotherham’s ten men.