R.U.S.T. Ramblings

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RUST Ramblings 9th Oct 2002 - Issue 14


Welcome once again to the latest round of gossip rumours and opinions from a rather disgruntled Millers fan. I say disgruntled because I was incensed by the events at Millmoor last weekend. As far as I was concerned, a potentially great contest was utterly ruined by the antics of one man. I’m talking about last Saturday’s match referee. Graham Laws was an absolute disgrace, it seemed that almost every decision he gave was incorrect.

I’ll begin with the most controversial decision, the sending off and subsequent penalty award. I’ve seen the incident several times on the box and I’m not entirely convinced that it was even a penalty. However, even if it was and I accept that these decisions are always difficult to call, there is absolutely no way that the Portsmouth player could have scored had he not been impeded. To receive a straight red card, the defending player has to be preventing a clear goal scoring opportunity. In the case of Todorov, this was certainly not the case. To substantiate this, neither the linesman, who was much better, placed than the referee, or any of the Portsmouth players appeared to suggest that it was a penalty let alone a sending off offence. That said, Paul Merson then compounded things by his celebrations in front of the Tivoli End, which almost started a mini-riot!
Now I’m all for a player celebrating a goal, but surely a seasoned professional such as Merson should have realised that his antics of bowing to our supporters would heighten our sense of injustice. He should have limited his celebrations to his own supporters. Mr Laws should have shown Merson a yellow card.

Later in the second half, Chris Sedgwick was shown the yellow card for an absolutely awful two-footed tackle. He was extremely lucky to survive and might have been sent off. This challenge was far worse than anything that Chris Swailes had been involved in. I had a feeling that the referee would somehow try and even things up a bit and sure enough, he awarded an equally dubious looking penalty for a challenge on Alan Lee. Just prior to the award, Barker had been virtually strangled by one of the Portsmouth defenders, yet neither the referee nor his linesmen appeared to see it! I understand that the club will appeal against the sending off of Swailes, if they fail then they will incur a fine of £10,000, after having six players cautioned for the second time in a single game this season!

It’s time that the Football League or the F A took a close look at the standard of referring, which, in my opinion is definitely on a downward spiral. How often do we as supporters’ end up discussing the performance of the officials rather than the performance of the two teams? Mr Laws was another in a long procession of incompetent referees that appear to want to be the centre of attention. Fans want to see two teams of eleven players’ play a full ninety minutes. They don’t want to see some jumped up, insignificant little man dressed in black with a whistle hog the limelight. Rant over!

Returning to the actual game, I was horrified at the way we gave away the first two goals. Our defence appeared to be all over the place. Rob Scott had another nightmare afternoon; lacks pace and in my opinion ought to be rested. Marvin Bryan had a fine game against Wolves the other evening; he would be an ideal replacement. I could understand why Ronnie Moore persevered with Ritchie Barker after he had scored in each of the last two games; however, he struggled throughout the game and was responsible for the error that led to the first goal. Lee’s performance, when he finally came on, was a revelation, on hindsight he should have been introduced much earlier. Darren Byfield finally scored at home and should gain confidence from that. I truly believe that Lee and Byfield are our best two strikers and barring injury, we should always start with those two. Any thoughts?

In the end, Portsmouth were rocking but their first half domination was just enough to see them through. I thought that overall they were the best side to visit Millmoor for a long time, so for our team to come near to gaining a point, and with ten men was proof indeed just how much we have improved. Having said all that, I still believe that we need a quality midfield man. Daws isn’t good at this level, Garner hasn’t fully regained match fitness, Talbot is always injured and Mullin is too inconsistent.

Dates for your Diary

RUST Fans Forums.
28 November 2002
24th February
29th May 2002 (AGM)
All the above RUST Fans Forums are held at
Carlton Park Hotel, Moorgate, ROTHERHAM.

Gillingham at Millmoor is up next and is a game that we simply must win if all our early season good form isn’t to be wasted. The Gills are dangerous opponents and are a bit similar to the Millers, quite capable of beating anybody on their day but equally quite capable of losing to anybody. If we play to our best form and have a bit of luck and a decent referee (chance would be a fine thing!) we ought to get back to winning ways. It’ll be interesting to see how many people actually turn out to watch the game. Portsmouth brought a big travelling support; the Gills won’t bring many. I reckon that Ronnie Moore might well be disappointed at a crowd of around 6,000. If you haven’t been to Millmoor this season, please give it a go, we’re playing some cracking stuff and deserve more support.

Changing the subject, I had to laugh at Thursday’s Daily Star report on the Sheffield Wednesday versus Leicester Worthington Cup game. It was headed up as Sheffield Wednesday 1 Leicester City 0 seems that their reporter left a tad early and missed the Leicester equaliser and the subsequent extra time goal. What was even more upsetting for any Owls fans were comments in the body of the report about likely premiership opponents in the next round! Great stuff for anybody other than Wednesdayites.

Another item that made me chuckle, was alleged comments made by Paul Hall, the former Coventry City player now with Rushden. His new team was playing his former club in the Worthington Cup and on the eve of the game, he was reported to have said “We can give them a game and match them all the way…. I’m going back to hurt them” Unfortunately, for Hall it seems that someone forgot to mention this to Coventry, who ran out 8-0 winners!

I was stunned at the news from Oakwell that Barnsley have gone into administration. How the mighty have fallen, they were in the premiership just a few years ago and right up to the beginning of last season had ambitions to return. They have a magnificent stadium and some good players, so just how they’ve managed to plunge to such depths both on and off the pitch is mystifying. Perhaps, they are another example of a club that has spent beyond its means, not so unusual these days. Players on premiership wages playing in the first division, now those same players on first division wages playing in division two! I recall several phone ins from Barnsley supporters towards the end of last season, when the club were trying to sign Craig Hignett and Ashley Ward. With both deals in the balance, fans were phoning in saying that the club should pay them what they wanted, a reported £12,000 per week each! Perhaps, it’s not only the clubs that needs to get back to reality. We all know what a miser our chairman is, but maybe, just maybe, his policy of holding on to the profits might well prove to be sensible in the long term. Sometime soon, one of those clubs in financial straits is going to go out of business, I really hope that Barnsley isn’t that club. Coventry, Bradford, Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday, Watford and now Barnsley all in deep trouble, who’ll be next in the first division.

Talking of finance, I was a bit surprised to hear that the Football league have agreed a football highlights television package with ITV. Have they forgotten just who is responsible for much of this financial mess that clubs outside the premiership find themselves in? The deal is for two years and will cost ITV a reported £5 million. First division clubs will receive approximately £90,000 per year with second division clubs receiving £40,000. A drop in the ocean for most clubs but I suppose that any extra revenue is better than nothing. At least all those supporters who haven’t access to Sky Television will be able to watch their team’s goals each weekend.

I see that the managerial merry go round is in full swing. Peter Reid has been dismissed from his post at Sunderland; Martin Hinshelwood has been sacked at Brighton. I also understand that Terry Yorath is under pressure at Hillsborough and there’s even talk of George Burley at Ipswich facing dismissal after a series of poor league results. I expect that somewhere along the line, Ronnie Moore will be linked with some vacancy or other. Don’t worry about what the papers say, Ronnie has been linked with other clubs in the past and is still at Millmoor. I fully expect him to remain in his post at least until the end of this current season.

Finally for this week, Dave Nicholls has been confirmed as the guest speaker at the next RUST Forum scheduled for 28th November at the Carlton Park Hotel. For those exiled Millers that cannot attend an evening meeting in Rotherham, but would like to put certain questions to him. You can do so through me or by submitting your questions via e-mail to [email protected] beforehand. I will try and ensure that as many of your questions are actually put to him on the night. So start thinking of questions that you might like answering, I’m sure that there are quite a few. While you’re at it why not think about joining RUST if you haven’t already done so.

There are also NEW cartoons from Moulin Rouge and RUST cartoonist BLIST, just click the Cartoons button further up this page!

That’s all for another week folks, keep the feedback rolling, it is always appreciated.
Cheers for now,
Chris S

The views and opinions in this newsletter may not be the same as the Rotherham United Supporters Trust.
(c) rufctrust.co.uk

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