Rotherham United are in Germany at a pre-season training camp, where they take on Bremen II later today, so while they are getting a work-out over there let’s have a quick look at who the Millers will be taking on in the coming season.
Ground – Spotland Stadium
Nickname – The Dale
Manager – Brian Barry-Murphy
Formed in 1907 Rochdale were accepted into the Football League in 1921, playing in the new Third Division North but had to reapply at the end of the season as they finished bottom of the league, something they had to do again at the end of the 1977/8 season.
1962 saw them reach the FA Cup Final which was the first time a club from the bottom division had done that – they lost to Norwich City.
1969 saw them promoted for the first time but a bit of ups and down saw them play thirty-six consecutive years in the Football League’s bottom tier – from 1974 to 2010 – the longest time any team has been in the bottom division of the League. Two years later they were relegated but 2014 saw them gain promotion back to League One.
Brian Barry-Murphy was given the caretaker job at Spotland in March , after Keith Hill was shown the door, with it being made a permanent position a month later. Dale finished in sixteenth place in League One with former Millers loanee IAN HENDERSON ending the season as top scorer with twenty-one goals.
March 2018 was the last time the Millers and Dale met in League One which saw Stephen Humphrys get the only goal of the game on sixty-seven minutes for the visitors.
Ground – New Meadow
Nickname – The Shrews, Salop, The Blues, The Town
Manager – Sam Ricketts
Formed in 1886 the club were founder members of the Shropshire & District League, later being admitted to the Birmingham & District League in 1895/6 and later playing in the Midlands Champions League before being elected to the Football League in 1950 in the Division Three (North).
1958/59 saw them promoted to the Third Division where they lasted thirteen years before slipping to the Fourth Division. In 1974/5 they were promoted back to the Third Division and three years later with help from Richie Barker and later Graham Turner were promoted to the Second Division as champions where they stayed for ten years. 1992 saw them relegated to the Fourth Division but twice got promoted. After fifty-three years in the league the Shrews found them starting the 2003/4 season in the Football Conference but went straight back up.
2007 saw them move into their new home New Meadow and at the end of the following season the found themselves in the play-off final but were beaten one-nil by Gillingham. 2011 saw them promoted to League Two and, after two seasons, to League One but at the end of the 2014/15 season were relegated, although just a year later, were back in League One. 2017/18 saw former Miller Paul Hurst lead the Shrews to the EFL Trophy Final losing to Lincoln and they were back at Wembley in May when they met the Millers in the League One Play-Off Final.
The Shrews appointed Sam Ricketts as Manager in December 2018 and ended the season in eighteenth position with top scorer Fejiri Okenabirhie scoring thirteen goals.
The Millers and Shrews last met at Wembley in the above mentioned final which was a two-one win for Rotherham. After a missed penalty by David Ball Richard Wood opened the scoring for the Millers just after the half-hour mark with an Alex Rodman second half goal sending the tie into extra time and there was Wood again to give the Millers a two-one win.
Ground – Roots Hall
Nickname – The Shrimpers
Manager – Kevin Bond
Southend were founded in 1906 playing in the Southern League until 1920 when they were co-founders of the League’s new Third Division which, a year later, was regionalised and they were in the Southern section. In 1958 they were in the new national Third Division where they stayed until relegated to the Fourth Division in 1966. They spent the next few years yo-yoing up and down between the divisions but 1981 saw them Champions of the Fourth Division.
1983 saw them ‘Anton Johnsoned’ when, although still Chairman of Rotherham, bought 44.9% of the club that was already in debt. A year later they were relegated to the Fourth Division and in October of that year Anton Johnson was arrested and banned from any future involvement in football.
Successive promotions in 1990 and 1991 saw them in the old Second Division unfortunately 1996 and 1997 saw them go the other way getting back to back relegations. 2005 saw them promoted after beating Lincoln in the play-off final at the Millennium Stadium and the following season they reached the Championship although they only lasted a season. A few years in League One then a few years in League Two saw the Shrimpers promoted back to League One via the Play-Offs in May 2015.
In April Southend brought in Kevin Bond as Manager with the Shrimpers keeping their League One status on the last day of the season thanks to a win at Sunderland making their goal difference better than Plymouth’s. With seventeen goals SIMON COX finished Southend’s top scorer.
The last time the Millers and Southend met was in League One in March 2018 at Roots Hall when goals from Stephen McLaughlin and Simon Cox won the hosts all three points.
Ground – Stadium of Light
Nickname – The Black Cats
Manager – Jack Ross
Founded as Sunderland and District Teachers AFC in 1879 evidence suggests that they were re-founded a year later as Sunderland AFC and joined the Football League for the 1890/1 season. Sunderland won the title in consecutive years and became the first team to score one hundred goals in a season regaining the time in the 1894/5 season. In 1898 they moved from Newcastle Road to Roker Park and won their fourth league title in the 1901/2 season. After suffering a few scandals the late 1950’s saw them charged with making payments to players other than the minimum wage and after the Chairman and the following season saw Sunderland relegated for the first time in their history which saw them out of the top flight for six years. 1964 saw them promoted but at the end of the decade, they were again relegated to the Second Division. 1973 saw them win their first major trophy beating Leeds United in the FA Cup at Wembley seeing them get to the UEFA Cup Winners Cup the following year. A couple of up and downs happened before Sunderland saw themselves relegated to the Third Division in 1987. They did go back up but came close to relegation again in 1995 but Peter Reid managed to keep them up and a promotion the following year saw them in the Premier League but relegated again the following season returning in 1999 as First Division Champions. In between this they had moved away from Roker Park to The Stadium of Light. A few more ups and downs between the top two divisions ensued before consecutive relegations saw them drop to League One in 2018.
Last season the Black Cats finished fifth in League One making it to the Play-Off Final at Wembley only to lose two-one to Charlton Athletic. JOSH MAJA was top scorer with fifteen goals.
The last time the Millers and Black Cats met in the league was in February 2005 at the Stadium of Light. Two goals from Sean Thornton plus goals from Dean Whitehead and Gary Breen saw the hosts go into a four-goal lead with the Millers getting a consolation goal from Andy Monkhouse.
Ground – Prenton Park
Nickname – Rovers
Manager – Micky Melon
Founded in 1884 as Belmont Football Club they became Tranmere Rovers a year later. In 1921 they became founder members of Division Three North and were members of the Football League for ninety-four years. 1987 saw Rover go into administration but came out of that the other side coming a whisker away from being in the Premier League while having a number of good cup runs including FA Cup quarter final games in 2000, 2001 and 2004.
2015 saw them relegated to the National League which they got out of via the play-offs in May 2018 and last season they were promoted for the second season on the bump with another Wembley appearance beating Newport County one-nil. With a whopping thirty-two goals JAMES NORWOOD was top scorer last season.
The Millers and Rovers last met in League One at Prenton Park in January 2014. Alex Revell scored in both halves for the visitors with Andy Robinson getting a last minute consolation goal for Tranmere.
Ground – Adams Park
Nickname – The Chairboys
Manager – Gareth Ainsworth
History is rather vague as to when Wycombe Wanderers came into being but a team called North Town Wanderers were around in 1884 and three years later Wycombe Wanderers appeared and a year later they were entered in the FA Cup. In 1986 they joined the Southern League and 1908 saw them join the Great Western Suburban League and after the war joined the Spartan League. 1921 saw them move into the Isthmian League remaining their until 1985 when they accepted promotion to the Alliance Premier League and although they were relegated on goal difference they returned in 1987 which was now called the GM Vauxhall Conference. In 1993 the club reached the dizzy heights of the Football League Division Three and they went further the following season by beating Preston North End in the play-offs to move to Division Two. Wanderers became a bit of a yo-yo club for the next few years before they started off last season back in League One.
Last season Wycombe finished seventeenth in League One with top scorer ADEBAYO AKINFENWA getting eight goals.
The Millers and Chairboys haven’t met since both were in League Two in March 2013 which was at Adams Park. Joel Grant opened the scoring for the hosts with Daniel Nardiello putting the Millers in front with two second half goals only for Gary Doherty to get a point for Wanderers in the last ten minutes of the game.