The last month of the year began with the Millers looking for a new Manager – the rumours saying that Ronnie Moore, Keith Hill, Tony Mowbray and Kevin Blackwell were all in the frame. But Paul Warne, who was caretaker, said it was a job he didn’t want. Later in the month Steven Pressley was added to that list.
The Chairman Tony Stewart explained why Kenny Jackett had gone saying, ‘I got a call about half-past six on Saturday with Kenny saying ‘I’ve achieved one point out of fifteen and I don’t think that’s very good are you going to sack me. I said no, and he said ‘well I ought to resign’ and I told him to sleep on it and if he still felt the same ring me in the morning. He did saying he was resigning.’
Warney called for the fans to get behind the lads on the pitch for his first game in charge at the Pirelli Stadium. Rotherham lost two-one with Jackson Irvine and Matty Palmer scoring for the hosts and Tom Adeyemi getting a late consolation.
In the after-match interview a very emotional Warne said, ‘It’s difficult, I gave everything I could today, and I am sorry that it’s not enough, it’s hard to take. ‘I honestly believed if there was a soccer god we would have won today. I am not religious but I believe in fate. I tried to put that into the lads and they gave everything.’
Rumours had it that Grimsby Town’s Omar Bogle was interesting the Millers. Later in the month we were also being linked with Rochdale winger Nathaniel Mendez-Laing.
Warney appointed John Breckin to help him and Matty Hamshaw on the coaching staff.
Rotherham were drawn at home in the FA Cup against Oxford or Macclesfield who had to replay.
December saw the Reserves get their first win of the season with Fabian Bailey getting the only goal of the game away at York.
The 8th of the month saw Warney tell us that he thought Lee Frecklington could be back sooner rather than later.
Paul Warne got his first win as Rotherham’s caretaker Manager when QPR were in town. An Izzy Brown goal on twenty-four minutes was the only goal of the game.
‘For them to win give me great pride,’ Warney said after the game. ‘They are buzzing like we’ve won the Cup Final.’
‘The win was for Warney,’skipper Lee Frecklington, who made his first start since mid-October told us.
After the game Paul Warne was named Manager in the Football League Team of the Week.
The Millers Tuesday night trip to Craven Cottage saw Joe Newell put them in front. Unfortunately Stefan Johansen and Floyd Ayite scored for Fulham giving them the three points despite Lewis Price saving a Chris Martin penalty.
‘I knew it was a hard ask. We prepared well, the lads believed they were going to get something out of the game, and I thought in the first 20 minutes we were really dangerous on the counter attack,’ Warney said after the game.
The final game before Christmas was the shortest away game of the season for the Millers as they travelled to Hillsborough. Tom Adeyemi had the ball in the net for the Millers in the first half but the Referee ruled it out because he ‘saw’ a foul. With it looking like it would be goalless Referee Tim Robinson got more up the travelling fans’ back when he ‘saw’ something else in the box three minutes into added on time, sending Richard Wood off and awarding the Owls a penalty which Steven Fletcher scored.
After the disappointing defeat, Warney said, ‘I don’t know how that was a sending-off. It was more a case of the player winning the penalty. And I’ve watched our disallowed goal back numerous times and I cannot see where the foul is, I can’t even see where it might have been.’
The Millers appealed Wood’s red card and won meaning he would be available for the Boxing Day game.
Young defender Mason Warren went out on loan to Matlock Town.
Nathan Jones, Manager of Luton Town, was the next Manager being linked with Rotherham.
The Reserves entertained Peter Beardsley’s Newcastle Reserves at Roundwood. One down, Alex Wiles scored the equaliser and in the second half Fabian Bailey gave them the lead. Twelve minutes from the end Newcastle made it two-two.
Sad news coming to us this month was the death of former striker Albert Bennett.
After a lot of cloak and dagger and rumours Jamie Johnson was announced as Head of Recruitment.
Warney got a bit of an early Christmas present when Chairman Tony Stewart said he had the Managers job until the end of the season.
Boxing Day saw Wigan Athletic at the New York Stadium. The Millers won the game which was a five-goal thriller. Aimen Belaid, Richard Wood and an own goal in time added on at the end of the first half from Dan Burn gave the Millers a three-nil lead. Yanic Wildschut pulled one back on fifty-one minutes and Jordi Gomez made it an interesting game with ten minutes to go. But the Millers held on for all three points.
‘I was a nervous wreck,’ Warney admitted after the game. ‘When their first one went in I thought ‘here we go’. I felt helpless. They kept coming at us but I was proud of the lads.’
With the January Transfer Window round the corner rumours were starting about teams coming in for Danny Ward but Paul Warne said that only ‘proper money’ would make the Millers sell the top striker.
The last game of 2016 saw Burton Albion at the New York Stadium. Former Miller Chris O’Grady opened the scoring for the Brewers with Jackson Irvine doubling the lead. With Tom Adeyemi halving the deficit four minutes into time added on in the first half it should have been an interesting second half. But Burton held on and got their first away win of the season.
After the game Warney said, ‘We were the better team and played really well.
Vital Rotherham’s Man of the Month for December went to Joe Newell.
The Millers ended December in bottom spot in the Championship, five points behind Wigan and seven points behind Blackburn.
Don`t forget, you can also catch Vital Rotherham on Facebook and Twitter!
Vital Rotherham on:
Vital Rotherham on:
RUFC – A Look Back At Last Season – December