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RUST Ramblings 18th September 2002 - Issue 11

Hi,

Another week passes and another couple of games are assigned to the record books. Welcome to the latest round of gossip, opinion and rumours from your man in Lincolnshire.

Let’s begin with the bad bits. Having been to Bramall Lane at the weekend, I have to say how disappointed I was, not just at the result but by the way we played. Those tactics simply don’t suite our players, we’ve tried and failed with that defensive 4-5-1 formation before, remember our visits to Wolves, Wimbledon and Crystal Palace last season On each occasion we ended up on the losing side. I was absolutely flabbergasted at the sight of three strikers, Robins, Byfield and Barker all out on the pitch still sporting their training tops long after the starting eleven had left for the dressing room to prepare for the kick-off. What was Ronnie thinking of, I know that he really rated the opposition but surely we gave them far too much respect?

Michael Tonge was a danger, we all know about him after the rave reviews he’d received this season but we’ve faced and coped with his calibre before without resorting to assigning Hursty to do a man-marking job, unless Tonge really is as good as Prosinecki? I’m not so sure that he is, a little bit of hype about one player and our whole style of play went out of the window. Several of our team appeared to be quite lost and didn’t really know what to do. Top of that list was Chris Sedgwick, who just didn’t know what he was supposed to do when he received the ball, which wasn’t all that often.

Alan Lee did reasonably well up front but was tired out long before the end of the game. If we are to play five across the middle, our passing has to be spot on. Our front-runner needs the ball to his feet and needs instant support when in possession. This simply didn’t happen because our passing was abysmal and when we did try to deliver a pass to him, it was almost always in the air! Apart from Warne, Lee rarely had any support. Our back line struggled to string two passes together throughout the entire ninety minutes. Chris Beech had a nightmare game and ought to have been replaced at half time. Paul Hurst could have slotted into the full back berth and a striker would have given their defence something else to think about.

Overall we played with great spirit but not much direction against fairly mediocre opposition. McIntosh and Swailes did OK and Scott had a reasonable game although he was frequently caught out with his lack of pace. In the middle, Warne had another good game but his shooting was awful, he was one of the few Rotherham players that appeared capable of going past opponents, but he really needs some coaching in the art of directing his shots. Mullin had his usual in and out sort of match, occasionally brilliant, often mediocre. Daws looked composed early on but faded badly as the game went on. In goal Mike Pollitt made two great saves to keep us in the match but ought to have done better with the goal he conceded from Ndlovu’s shot. From where I was at, the ball appeared to go underneath him, another elementary error that seems to haunt him. Paul Hurst did a fine job on their danger man, but as I’ve already said, did he really need to do so?

It’s not often that I openly criticise Ronnie Moore, but he completely spoilt my weekend. I would have far rather seen us lose by a greater margin after giving it a real go in attack. This was a game that we couldn’t win playing those tactics. We were either going to come away with a goalless draw or lose one or two nil. Indeed, it might have been better had Pollitt not saved that header just on halftime. Perhaps, that would have prompted a change in tactics during the break and we would have scored a goal or two. We haven’t the players capable of playing that formation, please Ronnie don’t repeat it, otherwise fans will simply stop attending away games. Twenty quid down the drain was how I viewed Saturday’s trip. I’d be interested in other Millers thoughts on this matter.

Finally, on Saturday’s match, I’d just like to mention the referee, who had a nightmare game. He immediately set out his stall with a couple of undeserved early yellow cards, then made things worse by only awarding a yellow to Murphy for a blatant elbow. I’m not sure how many cautions the team received, but it must have been quite high. It seems that the standard of refereeing is actually deteriorating, if that’s possible!

Changing the subject, another trialist came and quickly went. That Algerian, Mamouni, was deemed not good enough for our squad. Perhaps, Bradford will offer him a lucrative deal; they seem to frequently be able to do that these days. They’ve taken another player, this time from Liverpool, on loan. How they can get away with this is quite beyond me and really annoys!

After our unexpected superb start, many of the Rotherham fans leaving Bramall Lane must have been wondering if we were on the slide. Last night’s superb result must surely have dispelled much of those fears. Walsall are on a slump at the moment but this is the sort of fixture that is the most dangerous, the sort of game that we seem to always lose. I’d have settled for a draw before last night so a 4-3 attacking style victory was tremendous. Darren Byfield must have loved it! A couple of goals against his old club, which silenced all those doom and gloom merchants from both Rotherham and Walsall in one sweep, fantastic! I can’t wait for Saturday’s match at home to Brighton, if only to see what Byfield will do next.

Moving on and that six pointer at home to Brighton, another side that are really struggling and another game that we must get something from. Methinks that we should learn a lot from this particular game; a potential banana skin if ever there was one. We are well capable of winning and winning well but we are also capable of losing.

Despite our quite unbelievable league position, I still believe that we need a couple of signings and soon if we are to continue to do well this season. John Mullin was injured last night so we are really looking a bit thin in the midfield area. Please Ronnie, there must be players available that can do us a decent job and want to come and play in the first division.

Finally for this week, no news yet about that Leicester stand that everyone in the know appears to have been claiming is a done deal. Despite the likes of Gerry Somerton and others assuring Millers supporters that the stand is on the way, I’m not so sure. Our Chairman is hardly the most benevolent of people and if you look at it from his point of view, perhaps, he’s thinking that we wouldn’t be able to fill a 7,000 all seater stand, not by a long way. Our recent gates at home have been disappointing, that’s for sure. We are in our highest league position for years, yet against Reading; we attracted a paltry crowd of less than 6,500. There weren’t many first division games being played that Saturday either. What do you think? will the supporters turn out in droves if we improve the facilities? On the plus side, our attendances have improved by almost 100% over the last ten years. Only Gillingham and Preston can better that in our division, so maybe I’m being too harsh.

That’s about it for another week folks, much of this newsletter is a bit on the negative side, but tonight we are in a healthy fifth place in division one, can’t be all that bad can it?

Here’s to another win on Saturday,
Cheers for now,
Chris S


The views and opinions in this newsletter may not be the same as the Rotherham United Supporters Trust.
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