Date: 14th April 2016 at 1:23pm
Written by:

Twenty years ago today at this time I was walking down Wembley Way to see Rotherham United’s first appearance at Wembley.

There were excited Millers dressed in red and white walking up and down smiling and talking to people they’d never met before as they waited for the game with Shrewsbury.

I was there with family including my seventy-six year old Mum, who hadn’t been to a football match since the 1970’s, and my great nephew who at five years old had only been to the odd Reserve game at Millmoor.

Going into Wembley for the first time was one for the memory banks as was seeing that famous pitch where thirty years earlier Geoff Hurst had ‘won the World Cup’ for England and the hat-trick hero was there that day to present the shield.

There was a pre-match game of celebrities before the main event and the only thing I remember about that was present Chris Evans was playing and afterwards came past waving to us as the players of both sides began warming up.

Then the teams came out with Rotherham being led by Archie Gemmill and John McGovern and the roar went up. My great nephew nearly fell off his seat – the Reserves at Millmoor was nothing like this!

Rotherham had a lot of early pressure and deservedly went one-nil up after twenty minutes with a goal from Nigel Jemson. On fifty-eight minutes Jemson struck again to make it two-nil but then the Shrews got back into the game. With ten minutes to go Mark Taylor netted from close range to make it two-one. There was a lot of nail biting from the red and white side of the stadium and I don’t know how long referee David Allison added on but it seemed an awful lot!

But when that final whistle eventually went we hugged, kissed, cried, shouted, laughed all at the same time – our first visit to Wembley ended in a win! The sort of things that you only read of in story books. Skipper Matt Clarke went up the famous steps to get the trophy and passed it to Nigel Jemson who looked like he was going to drop it as he walked towards the Millers fans with it. Ian Breckin had picked up a red and white plastic hat from somewhere that honestly didn’t do anything for him and all the players had scarves and banners thrust at them.

We all sang ‘We Are The Champions’ before the official staff finally moved us all out of the stadium. I can’t remember much about the trip home but the celebrations began again as soon as we walked into the house back in Rotherham as my daughter and friends, who couldn’t go due to play rehearsal commitments, had dressed the house in everything red and white they could find (including a rather large pair of pantomime knickers!!).

And all that was twenty years ago – but most of us Millers fans can remember it like it was yesterday.

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