Rotherham United are on their way to Wembley for the fourth time in their football history.
Now, I’ve been following the Millers since I was born in the mid-50’s and, because for many years the only way you could get to Wembley was if you got into the final of the League or FA Cup – and that was never going to happen in my lifetime.
So, when we made that first trip to Wembley it was a great feeling, a feeling you can’t explain unless it’s happened to you, from the queuing up at Millmoor for tickets, to getting on the coach with my family, to walking up the famous ‘Wembley Way’ to getting into the ground. A wonderful experience.
That first time was in the Auto Windscreen Final when the Millers took on next Sunday’s opponents Shrewsbury Town. Man of the Match Nigel Jemson scored twice for Rotherham with Mark Taylor pulling one back for the Shrews making it a nail biting last ten minutes for the red and white side of the stadium. The team walked round the pitch with the Trophy, which was nearly as big as Jemson, and one of the only real pictures I have in my mind was of Ian Breckin wearing a silly red and white hat!
Subs – Gary Bowyer, Andy Haywood, John McGlashan
Manager – Archie Gemmill and John McGovern
The second time Rotherham found themselves down Wembley Way was in the 2010 League Two Play-Off Final when Ronnie Moore was in charge.
The Millers were against Dagenham and Redbridge who got their with a six-nil win over Morecambe, winning the tie seven-two. Rotherham took on Aldershot and won the away leg one-nil and the second game at Millmoor two-nil.
Twice the Millers went behind at Wembley – firstly Paul Benson and then Danny Green scored for the Daggers with Ryan Taylor twice getting Rotherham back into the game. But when Jon Nurse put the Daggers three-two up neither Taylor or any other Millers could get another to give the Millers a chance of going into extra time. Most, if not all, Rotherham fans stayed behind after the game to show their appreciation to the players and management team.
Adam Le Fondre
Subs – Jamie Annerson, Jamie Green, Josh Walker, Marcus Marshall, Abdulai Bell-Baggie, Paul Warne, Drewe Broughton
Steve Evans was the Manager the last time the Millers were at Wembley when they were in the same position they are now in the League One Play-Off Final.
Things didn’t start well when Moses Odubajo and Dean Cox put Leyton Orient two up in the first half. Whatever Evans said to his team at half-time it worked because ten minutes in Alex Revell made it two-one and five minutes later probably the best goal ever scored at Wembley, that ‘ambitious but brilliant goal’ again from Revell made it two-all and took the tie to extra time. Those thirty minutes brought no more goals so it went to penalties. Some misses, some good saves saw the Millers win four-three and go into the Championship.
Subs – Scott Shearer, Richard Brindley, Claude Davis, Michael O’Connor, Rob Milsom, Haris Vuckic, Tom Hitchcock
Now, I might be a bit old-fashioned but I am of the thought that Wembley should be sacred, should only be used for Cup Finals, England games, not for semi-finals, not for play-off finals and definitely not for Premier League games. Oh and all these games should have a 3.00pm kick-off. But, that might just be me.
So, will I be there next Sunday? Bet your bottom dollar I will!