Sunday, 27th May is a big day for Rotherham United and Shrewsbury Town because at the end of the day one of those teams will know they are in the Championship next season.
Both Managers, Paul Warne for the Millers and Paul Hurst of the Shrews are former Millers, former team mates, both having got promoted with Rotherham United.
Striker Warne first joined the Millers in 1999, from Wigan, and played over two hundred and fifty times before moving onto Oldham then Yeovil before coming back to Rotherham in 2009 finally hanging up his boots in 2012 when he was handed a testimonial for all his service to the club.
When he retired from playing he joined the back room staff at the New York Stadium finally becoming the fitness coach. When Managers left, or were shown the door, Warney helped out with the first team in the dugout. So it was no surprise to us Millers that when Kenny Jackett decided the Millers weren’t for him that Paul Warne was put in temporary charge, which led to a deal until the end of the season ending with a rolling contract which he is still on today.
Defender Hursty played his whole career at Millmoor – from 1993 to 2008 – although he did have a seventeen game spell at Burton. One of his games for Rotherham was in their first Wembley appearance, against Shrewsbury, in the Auto Windscreen Final which saw him pick up a winners medal.
After retiring from football in 2008 he went into management with former team mate Rob Scott at Ilkeston Town before they both moved to Boston in May 2009. March 2011 saw them move to Grimsby Town. Scott was relieved of his duties in September 2013 leaving Hursty in sole charge and that season he helped the Mariners back into the league in the National League Play-Off Final at Wembley. In October 2016 he joined the Shrews and the rest, as they say, is history.
So, which former team mate will come good? That Sunday at 3 o’clock there will be two sets of excited fans at Wembley and, probably by 5 o’clock there will be one set of those fans going home with sad faces. But, which ever team loses out, those fans have to remember how and why they got to be at Wembley in the first place – and give a big thanks to their Manager and his back room staff.