R.U.S.T. Ramblings

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RUST Ramblings Issue 1 - 11th July 2002


Welcome to what I hope will be the first of many newsletters produced and written by a dedicated Rotherham United fan. So here goes with the first round of opinions, gossip and rumours.

First of all let me start by saying that I for one am disappointed that we appear to be stalling on bringing in new players. Whilst I accept that there are still over four weeks remaining before the big kick-off, I must confess to being a little concerned that the likes of Wednesday, Sheffield United, Grimsby, Portsmouth and even Walsall appear to be splashing out and signing up new recruits. Hardly a day goes by when I read and hear reports that Ronnie is interested in or even talking to some player or other. The list is endless, Myers and Wetherall from Bradford, Nolan from Sheffield Wednesday, Mitch Ward from Barnsley, and most recently Paul Evans from Brentford. The end result always appears to be the same, a statement refuting any interest by the club! Apparently, Mitch Ward's agent even issued a statement allegedly claiming that the player was in talks with Rotherham! Firmly denied by John Breckin.

Owusu would have been a great signing for us; unfortunately, it seems that we couldn't afford his wages, so he went to the Owls. Strange that they can afford him, only last season, they were supposed to be massively in debt and facing calling in the administrators. Now they have Owusu and Kuqi, who allegedly cost £1million, as their strike force, although I still reckon that Kuqi is a big donkey who will struggle against the better defenders.

Although I see no reason to panic just yet, I would have thought that at least one recruit might have been brought in by now. It would have given the fans a huge boost and justified the faith shown in the club by all those that have rushed out and purchased season tickets.

Only last Sunday, I read in the Yorkshire Sport, with some concern that Ronnie had allegedly stated that he might have to go with his current squad. Let's hope that this was simply paper talk. Having failed to win any of our last ten games, our current squad was not quite good enough to do well in last season's first division. Let's face it with the likes of Derby, Leicester, Ipswich, Reading and Stoke in this league next season, things aren't going to be any easier. It was evident to anybody who knows anything about football that we urgently require at least three new faces before the start of the new season.

A quality midfielder would be my priority, closely followed by another striker, then a left back. Of the current squad, I reckon that Paul Hurst, Paul Warne, Danny Hudson, Rob Scott, Chris Beech, Ritchie Barker and Nick Daws are simply not of the calibre required. Paul Hurst in particular has given sterling service to our club but I really feel that last season he was found out by better opponents! That's my opinion although I dare say many of you will disagree. Let me know who you think should be retained and more importantly who should be discarded!

What do you think about the new television deal with Sky? I believe that they could have done better but perhaps with Sky being the only real bidder, the Nationwide League had no choice. Unfortunately, for those of you who cannot afford such luxuries as Sky TV, they have the monopoly of live football once again. They've even snapped up the rights to screen all the Republic of Ireland's matches for the next four years and look at the furore that's caused! One consolation is that the BBC might be purchasing a highlights package so you Millers that haven't got Sky should still be able to see something of the team on television.

Many clubs urgently require some money in order to stave off bankruptcy, so some cash is better than none. I doubt whether any more money will be forthcoming from the court case against Carlton/Granada. First division clubs appear to be the biggest losers; a shortfall of around £2 million looks on the cards for each one. I wonder if Boothy was one of the protesters outside the television company's offices in London yesterday? With such a shortfall in revenue, can anybody really envisage, our chairman shelling out the reddies for new players, either in transfer fees or wages, I can't! Players must share some of the blame for the demise of so many clubs, sooner or later, players at least those outside the premier will have to reduce their wage demands otherwise clubs will go bust, that's definite. Those days of first division players receiving thousands of pounds per week are surely coming to an end.

In our club's particular case, things will never change at Millmoor as long as Mr Booth is in control and I believe that we as supporters have to accept that. However, we can prepare the way for the day that he eventually relinquishes control by joining organisations such as RUST and keep supporting the team and the manager on the field. Ronnie kept us in the first division against all the odds last time around; he might just do it again.

Changing the subject, travelling back to UK via France last weekend after my holiday, I was in some French services at six in the morning. As I was leaving, I saw a little girl with blond hair and wearing a Millers home shirt with the new logo on the front. Miller's fans, young and old, are everywhere it seems. Amazingly, just a couple of hours late I was in that huge shopping complex near the Channel Tunnel and was confronted by a group of young lads. One of them made some remark about my Rotherham United Polo Shirt. When I challenged him as to what he had said, he simply told me that they were all Preston fans and admired the Millers and our fans for staying up last season and wished me well!

On a different note, Nathan Lowndes joined Plymouth Argyll this week on a three-year deal, remember him, he was supposed to be a definite signing for us last season. I only saw him a couple of times during his loan spell and he didn't seem to be good enough for us so I'm not sorry that he didn't join the Millers.

Away from the Millers, next season will see two up and two down from Division Three and the Conference. Those last few weeks of the season will be even more nerve racking for those league clubs who are perennial strugglers. It will certainly make for an interesting finale.

What about all the goings on at Wimbledon? It does appear more than likely that the Dons will be playing at Milton Keynes. I'm not sure whether it will happen this season but certainly by next season. A breakaway group have formed a new club and will continue playing in South London in the Combined Counties League. Although, for Millers fans, a journey to leafy Buckinghamshire will be infinitely easier than grappling with the M25 and that horrendous trip through London, I worry that a club can simply be transferred to a different area on purely financial grounds. This could well be the first step down the franchise path. It happens in the States in various sports, a club can be purchased by a new owner and then uprooted to another town or city in order to attract larger audiences. I dare say that if it was Rotherham United being sold by Boothy and the buyer wished to transfer the whole job lot to another area, we'd be up in arms. I know that the club has a small fan base, but is it really fair to move the club to a location approximately 50 miles away.

Finally for this week, remember, there are hundreds of quality players out there, still looking for clubs, we might just be on the verge of bringing at least a couple of them to Millmoor, keep the faith!

Cheers for this week,
Chris S

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