Rotherham United haven’t had the start to the season in League One that most of us thought they would. In the summer we lost players, brought players in and there were fans who were thinking we would be in the top three from the beginning of the season.
Well, it hasn’t happened like that.
The Millers started well, winning their first game which was away at Wimbledon but lost at home to Lincoln. Rotherham have played nine league games throughout the first two months of this season winning two away and one at home, drawing two away and one at home and losing three of which two of those were away. We also got through the first round of the EFL Cup – away at Shrewsbury – but lost to neighbours Sheffield Wednesday at the New York Stadium in the second round,
We go into October in thirteenth place having played at least one game less than many of our League One opponents above us.
Fans of Rotherham United started the season happy but over the last weeks have been disappointed with the moaning and groaning starting and now the ‘sack the Manager’ calls are being seen on social media.
I’ve had a little look back at some other times we were in League One – or it’s former name of Division Two – and things, to me, look a bit similar.
The 2013/14 season saw Steve Evans in charge of the Millers in League One. Like this season we played nine league games in the first two months with the Millers winning two away games and two at home, they drew four games of which two were away and two at home and lost to Peterborough at the New York Stadium. We also won our first round Capital One Cup game (against Sheffield Wednesday at home) but lost in the second round away at Aston Villa. At the end of this season we went up via the Play-Offs at Wembley.
Before the present season the last time we were in League One, which was under Paul Warne, was for the 2017/18 season. August and September were mammoth months with the Millers playing eleven league games – six were wins, five of which were at home, five we lost of which one was at the New York Stadium and the rest away from home. Again we got through the first round of the EFL Cup (at home to Lincoln) losing away to Huddersfield Town in the second round. We beat Shrewsbury Town in the Play-Off Final at Wembley at the end of the season.
Ronnie Moore and the Millers were in the third tier, then Division Two, for the 200/01 season when the first two months of the season saw ten league games. The Millers won four of those, three being away games and one at Millmoor, drew one game at home and one away losing four of which three were home games. We lost over two legs to Barnsley in the League Cup that season too. We ended the season as runners-up to Millwall and got promotion.
Of course, football is such a different game now than it was nineteen years ago – different rules (though most of them not for the better I don’t think), new ideas, new training facilities, quicker and taller players.
Looking back at a couple of these other seasons has given me something to think about and I’m not for one minute saying we will get promoted at the end of the season (of course, I hope we are but nothing ever in football is set in concrete, especially in the opening two months). People, of course, are entitled to their opinions on their football team and I personally don’t think we are physical enough, we probably don’t fall down enough under challenges, our defending could be better (it really could) and we are missing a long throw merchant. But, we do get chances, we don’t often take them but they are there and I do believe we are triers – and I’m glad I don’t have to follow a team around the country who are negative like we saw last weekend at the New York Stadium, but maybe that’s how we should play?