R.U.S.T. Ramblings

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RUST Ramblings 25th September 2002 Issue 12

Welcome to the latest round of gossip and opinions from a Rotherham United fan exiled in deepest Lincolnshire.

Another superb week on the pitch as we comfortably beat struggling Brighton on Saturday. We started brilliantly and several of our early attacks were breathtaking and only lacked that killer touch. Brighton must have wondered just what they were up against as we swept forward. Sedgwick, Lee and Byfield all looked up for the game and I must admit to feeling that the three points were already in the bag long before we actually scored. When we eventually scored it certainly came in bizarre circumstances. Lee picked up a poor back pass from a defender, the linesman flagged, presumably thinking he was offside, the referee rightly waved play on and Lee lobbed the ball over the advancing keeper and into the net.

I’m not at all sure that he actually meant to score, as he seemed to stop playing on seeing the raised flag. As far as I was concerned the goal quite rightly stood as Lee collected the ball from a defender’s attempted pass back towards his goal. For once I must praise this particular referee for ignoring an incorrect flag and allowing the goal to stand.

Having said all that, it’s true that some of the visiting defenders had stopped playing, but the lesson from all this is that you must play to the whistle. As it turned out, it’s a good job that the goal was allowed as we deteriorated after that and rarely looked like adding to our tally.

Alan Lee trudged off injured and we seemed to lose our shape. Byfield faded and Sedgwick struggled to maintain his superb start. Once again though, our real problems were in the middle of the park. Daws lacks pace and if his passing is off the mark then he’s a bit of a luxury. Garner did reasonably well and can at least deliver a good cross; Paul Warne had a poor game by his standards. Later on, he was pushed up front but in truth was even less effective. All in all, with Talbot and Mullin out injured we lack that bit of class and that real bite. If they are to be out for any length of time, then surely it’s time to bring someone in.

Up front, although we continued to dominate in terms of possession, we hardly created a clear-cut chance. Ritchie Barker gave us his usual 100% effort but he struggled to make any impression. I really felt for Mark Robins sitting on the bench, he must be wondering what he had to do to make an appearance, Brighton’s defence looked tailor made for his style of play.

Although the second half was a non event, we really never looked like conceding a goal against a side that lacked belief and on this showing will go back down to division two. Ironically, they have managed just four points from their first ten games, exactly the same total that we achieved at the same stage last season. We survived, so I suppose that there is hope for the south coast team.

Eighteen points from our first ten matches is a superb start but let’s not get carried away. We need only another thirty-two points to ensure survival, that’s only eleven wins and there’s still thirty-six games left! I reckon things look pretty good if you support the Millers!

Changing the subject, Guy Branston was wanted by Colchester United on loan last week. Ronnie turned down their request as he feels that Guy is a first team squad member and provides good back up for our current two centre backs. Personally I think that some first team match practice would have been good for the player and good for Rotherham United. Still, Ronnie obviously feels that Branston will be needed and soon. Maybe with all these bookings that we’ve picked up, Swailes and McIntosh might soon suffer suspensions and Guy will be needed.

Lots of good feedback this week after my comments concerning the proposed stand from Leicester City coming to Millmoor. Gary, a loyal Miller, is adamant that facilities need to improve and says. “ It is obvious that the footballing side alone cannot attract any more fans into the ground, unless we get a big team in a cup competition. I think we need to do something with the ground to stimulate some interest. Millmoor is a throwback to a different footballing age. As much as I love our ground, the modern, young fan expects to see a modern all seater stadium, just like they see every Saturday night on the premiership. I am completely at a loss to explain why the current team, that competes week in and week out with some of the biggest names in football, cannot attract a regular nine to ten thousand. I think we need to work on the stadium before we are relegated or I dread to think where we will go.”

Paul, a Millers fan working in Doncaster comments as follows “Surely the fact that we wouldn't be able to fill a 7000 seater stand is secondary to the important commercial opportunities the right stand would offer. Better corporate hospitality suites, restaurants and banqueting suites for use by all and sundry for weddings, parties, conferences, etc. has got to be the sensible way forward to increase revenue, especially if you have low crowds as we have. Look at Walsall, lower crowds than us but far better facilities, and if their programme is to be believed all are well utilised.”

Steven another Millers fan writes “Regarding the Leicester City stand. The missus and I were fortunate enough to get season tickets for the enclosure that are just outside the covered area. This meant that against Reading we were absolutely saturated and to be honest I couldn't wait for the final whistle to blow regardless of the result. This emphasises the point that whilst the teams performance is obviously important to all fans we need to improve the facilities at the ground if we are to attract new fans and improve the revenue levels for the club. A town of Rotherham's size should be able to attract far better crowds than our current average. In my opinion the poor facilities and laughable commercial department contribute heavily to the current levels of attendance. Get the ticketing prices and facilities right and I'm sure people will come to Millmoor.”

He also goes on to comment about the need to strengthen the team and says “One last thing before I go. After many discussions with fellow Millers at work I am convinced that a relatively small outlay by Mr. Booth could reap immense dividends at the moment. Anyone can see that we need to strengthen the midfield and if I'm being greedy, a solid defender and decent striker would also be welcomed. This could change us from a team that are regarded as being workmanlike and lucky to stay up to a real established force in this division. If Millwall were capable of play off positions last season then I don't think it's as daft as people think that with the addition of a few decent players we too could be up there challenging.” I for one certainly agree with this point of view, however, unless Ken Booth is taken over by an alien, I really can’t see any significant outlay in either improving our playing staff or ground development. Let’s hope that I’m proved wrong.

Thanks for all the feedback and keep it coming, it’s most definitely appreciated.

On the rumour front, I’ve heard several reports that Hull City are interested in bringing Ritchie Barker to Boothferry Park. According to sources close to Hull City, they would like to exchange Gary Alexander in a straight swop deal. A friend of mine, who also happens to be a Hull season ticket holder, is up in arms about this. He really rates Alexander and feels that he will score a bag full of goals in division three. He tells me that some of the City regulars have been giving him some stick for missing a few chances recently so the Hull man might just fancy a move to a first division club. This might prove to be a good bit of business for us, Barker isn’t quite up to first division standards, although Alexander is unproven at this level.

This weekend, it’s a trip to Nottingham Forest, for a sort of top of the table clash! Last season, I witnessed our demolition by the Midlands side so any sort of result or performance would be an improvement. Alan Lee looks likely to be missing so we might just struggle to score. Here’s hoping for a good result anyway.

Finally for this week, I’ve received a request from a subscriber in Australia for various stats relating to the team, so here goes. Rotherham currently lie in fourth place in division one on 18 points. Portsmouth are top with 25, Leicester are second with 23, Norwich are third with 21. Just behind the Millers on goal difference are Sheffield United and Coventry. Our opponents this weekend, Nottingham Forest have 17 points. Everybody in these top few having played ten games. At the bottom, Grimsby are the strongest team in the league, holding everyone else up with just 2 points. Brighton are one place above them with 4. Then Millwall have 9 points and are third bottom.

The following players represented Rotherham last weekend, the ratings are my personal ones and no doubt many of you will disagree with them: -

Pollitt 7, Hurst 7, Swailes 8, McIntosh 8, Scott 7, Daws 5, Warne 5, Sedgwick 6, Lee 7, Byfield 6, Garner 7. Barker 6 (replaced Lee) Monkhouse 6 (replaced Byfield)

A somewhat curtailed newsletter this week due to the fact that I’ve been in hospital for a couple of days, normal service should be resumed next week.

Cheers for now,
Chris S

********* STOP PRESS **********

David Artell has today joined 3rd division Shrewsbury Town on a months loan.

NEXT RUST FORUM - Thursday 28th November, Carlton Park Hotel, Moorgate, Rotherham.

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