Rotherham United lost a few players in the summer – some who were surplus to requirements, some who were on loan and went back to their parent clubs and some who opted to leave – but in the first few weeks of the new season what’s been happening to them?
Firstly goalkeeper Marek Rodak who, last season, was in his second loan spell with the Millers. His parent club, Fulham, wanted him back this season and although he hasn’t made a first team appearance he has been on the bench for each of the four games so far this season.
Zak Vyner joined the Millers on a season long loan from Bristol City last summer. He made thirty-four appearances in a Rotherham shirt last season before returning to Ashton Gate at the end of the season saying that, despite abuse he got from some fans (why would anyone do that to a player in your own team?), wouldn’t rule out returning this season. That didn’t happen and the twenty-two year old joined Scottish side Aberdeen on a season long loan and was on the bench for the Dons’ Europa League qualifier against Rijeka. Zak has gone on to play twice for Aberdeen starting in a Scottish Premier game and coming off the bench in extra time of a Scottish League Cup win away at Dundee.
Skipper Will Vaulks was with the Millers since July 2016 coming South of the Border from Falkirk. He soon became a fans’ favourite with many sad to see him leave in the summer. He scored his first goal on his debut at home in a two-all draw against Wolves going on to play another one hundred and thirty-nine times adding another sixteen goals to his tally. After much speculation Will stayed in the Championship joining up with former Millers Manager Neil Warnock at Cardiff City. He’s been involved in three games so far, coming off the bench twice and the only game he started lasted just forty-five minutes.
Tall Nigerian Semi Ajayi was firstly on loan at the New York Stadium from Cardiff City before becoming a permanent player in July 2017. The defender went on to make one hundred and ten appearances for the Millers, his first of fourteen goals coming in our home defeat to Huddersfield Town on Valentines Day 2017. After playing in the pre-season friendly against Parkgate it looked – or probably more was hoped – that Semi would be staying but on 20th July he went back to play in the Championship with West Bromwich Albion. Semi has stated all five game so far this season for the Baggies who are currently sixth in the Championship.
After turning down a new contract with the thought that he still wanted Championship football winger/midfielder Anthony Forde ended up joining League One side Oxford United. Anthony joined the Millers from Walsall in the summer of 2016 on a three year deal going on to make one hundred and fourteen appearances, though quite a few last season were off the bench. He has played four times this season, starting twice and twice being a substitute. He scored his first goal for the U’s in their four-two loss to Burton at home.
Another who decided to look elsewhere was winger Jon Taylor who signed for Rotherham in August 2016 for what was reported to be a club record fee. Jon played one hundred and nineteen games in a Rotherham shirt scoring thirteen goals with last season seeing him in and out of the team as Paul Warne rotated players. After the season had begun Jon joined neighbours Doncaster Rovers making three appearances all of which came off the bench.
Another loanee Richie Towell it is believed was offered a deal with Rotherham at the end of the season after his second loan spell from Brighton and Hove Albion ended. Richie, who had made seventy-nine appearances in his two loan spells, joined new boys to the league Salford City at the beginning of July and has started all five games for the Ammies so far this season.
Midfielder Darren Potter signed a two year deal with the Millers in June 2017. Due to injuries his first season saw him make just eighteen appearances with his only game last season being the last when he came off the bench for the last twenty-five minutes against Middlesbrough at the New York Stadium. When his contract expired at the end of the season Darren was released. In June he signed a one year deal with fellow League One side Tranmere Rovers starting one league game and one Carabao Cup game.
A favourite with Millers fans Joe Newell was another who turned down a new contract with Rotherham in the summer. August 2015 saw the utility player join from Peterborough and he went on to play one hundred and fifty times for the Millers scoring fifteen goals. In June Joe joined Scottish Premier side Hibernian and has played in three Scottish League Cup ties and two league games his only goal so far coming in the Cup in Hibernian’s two-nil away win against Elgin City.
Australian Ryan Williams joined the Millers from neighbours Barnsley in the summer of 2017. The winger scored four goals in his first season the first coming in Rotherham’s five-nil home win over Southend in the August. In forty-one appearances last season his only goal came in the three-two home win over Blackburn Rovers in March. Ryan declined a new contract with reports saying he wanted to stay in the Championship but in June moved back to his first English club Portsmouth of League One. An injury kept Ryan out of Pompey’s pre-season friendlies and must have been worse than first thought as he is yet to make it to the bench let alone on the pitch for his new club.
Striker David Ball joined the Millers in June 2017 from Fleetwood Town. His first season at the New York Stadium saw him score nine goals in thirty-eight appearances but after just three games he went out on loan to Bradford City for the rest of the season playing forty-two times and scoring seven times but couldn’t help the Bantams stave of relegation. After his release from Rotherham he moved to New Zealand signing for Wellington Phoenix of the Australian A-League.
After leaving his boyhood club left-back Ben Purrington joined the Millers in January 2017 from Plymouth Argyle making his debut the following month. The following season injuries saw him play just twelve times and he started last season on loan at Wimbledon. Recalled In January Ben was straight back out on loan but this time with Charlton Athletic which saw him help them to the League One Play-off Final at Wembley with his thirty-fifth minute goal helping them to the Championship. July saw Ben back at The Valley having signed a three-year deal and has played four games this season scoring on the opening day of the season to give the Addicks a win over Blackburn.
January 2017 saw winger Alex Bray join on loan from Swansea that being made a permanent deal two months later. He played five games in his first season and just four the next season before having loan spells with Forest Green, York City and Weston-super-Mare before being let go at the end of last season. In May, Alex signed a one year deal with National League North side Hereford.
Manny Onariase joined the Millers from Brentford in August 2017. After appearing in just two Football League Trophy games Manny found himself out on loan at Cheltenham. October 2018 saw him out on loan again this tie with Dagenham and Redbridge who he played over thirty games for and signed a one year deal with them in July making just one appearance so far this season.
It looks like we will be seeing a few ‘old’ players in on the opposition teams this season – do you think the ones who wanted to leave made the right choice? Do you think the ones we let go might have been doing a job for us this season?