Rotherham United’s season will soon be starting in the Championship but what other teams will we be meeting there?
Championship Teams – S-W
Sheffield United were formed in1889 as an offshoot of Sheffield United Cricket Club and won the original Football League in 1898. The Blades, so nicknamed because of the city’s history of stainless steel production, have won the FA Cup four times, the last one being in 1925 against Cardiff City at Wembley. Arguably the Blades darkest days were between 1975 and 1981 when they were relegated to the Second Division before getting another relegation to the Third Division in 1980. After promotion they were to fall into the bottom tier again in 1988 but after fourteen years returned to the First Division in 1990 and were founder members of the Premier League in 1992. Various managers and owners later and a few ups and downs Sheffield United got back into the Championship in the 2016/17 season. The 2018/19 season saw them promoted to the Premier League as runners-up where they finished ninth but the following season saw them end in bottom spot and relegated back to the Championship.
Of the thirty-two league games the Millers and Blades have played Sheffield United have won eighteen of them to Rotherham’s seven. The last time the pair met was at Bramall Lane in March 2019 when Jack O’Connell put the hosts one up on five minutes. The Millers went down to ten with Will Vaulks getting sent off on twenty-eight minutes the Blades doubling their score with fifteen minutes to go with a Mark Duffy goal.
The Blades ended last season in fifth place taking on Nottingham Forest in the play-off semi-final. Both teams won one game each with Forest going through to the final on penalties. With fifteen goals top score for Sheffield United last season was Billy Sharp.
Ground – Bramall Lane
Nickname – The Blades
Manager – Paul Heckingbottom
Founded in 1878 as Stoke Ramblers the club changed its name firstly to Stoke in 1878 and then to Stoke City in 1925 and were the second oldest professional football club in the world being founding members of the Football League in 1888. The Potters have won just one major trophy in their footballing life which was the League Cup in 1972 but have twice won the Football League Trophy. 1972/3, 1974/5 and 2011/12 saw Stoke City in Europe. Stoke played at the Victoria Ground until they moved into their new ground which is now called the bet365 Stadium. Stoke spent ten years in the Premier League and while there reached the 2011 FA Cup Final losing one-nil to Manchester City. 2018 saw them return to the Championship where they have been ever since.
The Millers and Potters have played forty-eight times against each other in the past, forty-four of those being league games. The teams last met in the league in January 2021 in a game that saw six goals. An Angus MacDonald own goal gave the visitors a fourteen minute lead with Matt Crooks equalising seventeen minutes later. Michael Smith put the Millers ahead six minutes into the second half with Danny Batth getting a Potters equaliser but minutes later Crooks got his second and Rotherham’s third. With fifteen minutes to go Nick Powell got a third for Stoke to give both teams a point.
Last season the Potters finished fourteenth in the Championship with sixty-two points and top scorer was Jacob Brown with fourteen goals.
Ground – bet365 Stadium
Nickname – The Potters
Manager – Michael O’Neill (MBE)
Founded as Sunderland and District Teachers AFC in 1879 evidence suggests that they were re-founded a year later as Sunderland AFC and joined the Football League for the 1890/1 season. Sunderland won the title in consecutive years and became the first team to score one hundred goals in a season regaining the time in the 1894/5 season. In 1898 they moved from Newcastle Road to Roker Park and won their fourth league title in the 1901/2 season. After suffering a few scandals the late 1950’s saw them charged with making payments to players other than the minimum wage and after the Chairman and the following season saw Sunderland relegated for the first time in their history which saw them out of the top flight for six years. 1964 saw them promoted but at the end of the decade, they were again relegated to the Second Division. 1973 saw them win their first major trophy beating Leeds United in the FA Cup at Wembley seeing them get to the UEFA Cup Winners Cup the following year. A couple of up and downs happened before Sunderland saw themselves relegated to the Third Division in 1987. They did go back up but came close to relegation again in 1995 but Peter Reid managed to keep them up and a promotion the following year saw them in the Premier League but relegated again the following season returning in 1999 as First Division Champions. In between this they had moved away from Roker Park to The Stadium of Light. A few more ups and downs between the top two divisions ensued before consecutive relegations saw them drop to League One in 2018.
December 2020 saw Lee Johnson appointed as Head Coach when the Black Cats were just one place below a play-off place. In March Sunderland beat Tranmere in the 2021 EFL Trophy Final at Wembley and they finished fourth in the table but there was no return to Wembley as they lost three-two on aggregate to Lincoln City in the play-offs. With a cracking twenty-six goals the top scorer for the Black Cats was Charlie Wyke.
February 2022 saw Alex Neill appointed as manager and it was two months later, on a Tuesday night that the Millers and Black Cats last met, this time at the Stadium of Light when Michael Ihiekwe turned from hero – after scoring on seventeen minutes which looked like giving the Millers promotion – to villain – after scoring an own goal with just two minutes of the match left. As we now know, the Millers were promoted on the last day of the season with the Black Cats having to go down the play-off route beating Wycombe at Wembley to see them in the Championship for this coming season. Ross Stewart was top scorer last season with twenty-six goals.
Ground – Stadium of Light
Nickname – The Black Cats
Manager – Alex Neill
Swansea City was founded in 1912 as Swansea Town joining the Football League in 1921 and changed from Town to City in 1969. After years of ups and downs 1981 saw them win promotion to the First Division topping the table on a few occassions finally ending the season in sixth place. More seasons of downs, downs and a couple of ups and worry of liquidation Swansea fought their way back into League One for the start of the 2005/6 season which also saw them move from Vetch Field to their new Liberty Stadium. 2011/12 saw Swansea back in the top tier in the Premier League after beating Reading in the Championship play-off final. The 2012/13 season saw them win their first major trophy when they beat Bradford in the Football League Cup giving them a place in the Europa League the following season. The Swans found themselves back in the Championship for the start of the 2018/19 season after taking the third relegation slot the season before.
The Millers and the Swans have played in seventy-two league games together in the past, the last one being at the New York Stadium in January 2021. The visitors took a two goal lead thanks to goals from Conor Hournihane and Matt Grimes with Freddie Ladapo pulling one back for the Millers in the second half with a Jay Fulton goal making it three-one to Swansea.
The start of last season saw Russell Martin take over as manager. Swansea ended the season with sixty-one points in fifteenth position in the Championship with a minus ten goal difference. With twenty-four goals Joel Piroe was top scorer.
Ground – Liberty Stadium
Nickname – The Swans
Manager – Russell Martin
Founded in 1881 as Watford Rovers they began playing in the Southern League in 1896 being elected to the Football League in 1920 as Watford. Spending most of the next fifty years in the lower divisions the Hornets started to do well when Graham Taylor took over as manager in 1977 when they rose from Fourth to First Division finishing second in the First Division at the end of the 1982/3 season. Taylor left after ten years and Watford went into a bit of a decline getting relegated in 1988 and were relegated again in 1996 to Division Two. In 1996 Graham Taylor returned as Manager and helped Watford to a double promotion but their first in the Premier League ended with relegation. In 2006 Watford, under Aidy Boothroyd, beat Leeds United in the play-off final to get back into the Premier League only to get relegated the following year. Watford were promoted back to the Premier League at the end of the 2014/15 season and spent five years there before being relegated again at the end of last season, finishing next to bottom with twenty-three points and a goal difference of minus forty-three.
The Millers and the Hornets have met twenty-seven times in the past in all competitions with Watford winning twelve league games to the Millers four. The pair last met at the New York Stadium in March 2021 when the Hornets were three up before half-time, goals coming from Francisco Sierralta, Ismalia Sarr and Ken Sema. Semi Ajayi made it three-one on the sixty-eighth minute but a minute later Dan Gosling scored again for Watford giving them a four-one win.
At the end of the season Roy Hodgson left the club and Watford appointed Rob Edwards as manager. Top scorer for Watford last season was Emmanuel Dennis with ten goals.
Ground – Vicarage Road
Nickname – The Hornets
Manager – Rob Edwards
West Bromwich Albion
West Brom came into being in 1878 and were founding members of the Football League in 1888 where they were crowned as champions at the end of the 1919/20 season. The Baggies have won the FA Cup five times and the Football League Cup in 1966. West Brom have called The Hawthorns their home since 1900 which is the highest ground in the Football League and Premier League. 2004/5 saw the Baggies first in the Premier League just keeping their heads above the relegations that first season but not managing that the next season. They were back again for the 2008/9 season but relegated straight away but got promoted straight back. They stayed there until finishing bottom in the 2017/18 season but were promoted again for the 2020/1 season unfortunately getting relegated back to the Championship.
The Millers and Baggies have met just thirteen times in the past, eight times league games West Brom winning four to the Millers two. The last time the pair met was at the Hawthorns in April 2019 with Clark Robertson putting the visitors in front but a seventy-seventh minute penalty from Jay Rodriguez then a Rekeem Harper goal two minutes gave the hosts a two-one win.
Steve Bruce took over as Manager in February last season taking over from Valerien Ismael, with the Baggies finishing tenth in the Championship on sixty-seven points, top scorer being Karlan Grant with eighteen goals.
Ground – The Hawthorns
Nickname – The Baggies, The Throstles, The Albion
Manager – Steve Bruce
Formed in 1932 Wigan were finally elected to the Cheshire County League finishing as champions at the end of the 1933/4 season followed by a second title the following season. Finishing bottom of the league in 1946/7 they failed to get re-elected and joined the Lancashire Combination winning the title in their first season and moved back to the Cheshire League in 1961 and won their first title four years later. Wigan were founder members of the Northern Premier League and won the title in 1971. In 1972 Wigan bizarrely applied to join the Scottish League’s Second Division but, not surprisingly were knocked back. After numerous election attempts Wigan were finally elected to the Football League in 1978. They got their first League promotion at the end of the 1981/2 season and hung about there nearly getting promoted by the play-offs in 1987 losing to Swindon. 1992/3 saw Wigan relegated and were lucky not to get relegated again after ending in the bottom four of the league but with no clubs ready to be promoted from the Conference they were saved. Things didn’t really get any better until Dave Whelan, local millionaire, took over the club in February 1995 and the following year were Division Three Champions. Losing in League Two Play-Off finals three times they finally became Division Two Champions under Paul Jewel at the end of the 2002/3 season with one hundred points. May 2005 saw the Latics promoted to the top tier of the Football League finishing their first season in tenth place. After a few ups but, unfortunately, more downs, Wigan finally ended their eight year association with the Premier League at the end of the 2012/13 season – although they did win the FA Cup that year against Manchester City, becoming the first team to win the FA Cup and be relegated. 2014/15 saw Wigan relegated to League One with them getting promoted back to the Championship the following season but relegation came again and they found themselves starting 2017/18 season back in League One. Again Wigan were promoted straight away but found themselves back in League One last season.
Of the thirty-two league games the Millers and Wigan have played together Wigan have won seventeen to Rotherham’s seven. The last time the pair met was at the New York Stadium when Stephen Humphry’s put the visitors in front with Ollie Rathbone getting Rotherham a point with a goal fifteen minutes from time.
Last season saw Wigan take the League One title on ninety-two points, two more than the Millers with top scorer being Will Keane on twenty-six goals.
Ground – DW Stadium
Nickname – The Latics
Manager –Leam Richardson