False Hope or a new Dawn?
Posted by chris_saxon on January 18 2008 17:41:42
In years to come, tomorrow’s fixture with Wycombe Wanderers might well be regarded as one of those defining moments in the history of our club.
I truly hope that Millmoor is packed to the rafters.
Designated “United Rotherham Day”, a joint initiative between the Rotherham Advertiser and the club, is a day, which might well prove to be a real turning point in the club’s fortunes.
It seems that, at last, the Council have seen the light and are to become actively involved in moving the club into the 21st Century. Recent encouraging statements reportedly emanating from Town Hall suggest that a new stadium, so urgently required is to be a priority.
After all, there are only 92 Football League clubs and having travelled the length and breadth of these Islands; I believe that my hometown is known for its football team above anything else!
First though, it appears that they need a gesture from the fans of the club and perhaps more importantly the people of Rotherham, a sort of intent to support the team. Reduced admission and a surprisingly active advertising campaign coupled with a team playing arguably the best football seen at Millmoor for many years have certainly provided the foundations for an increased attendance, not only this weekend but for the rest of the season.
If the Directors can demonstrate that the people of Rotherham are behind the football league club, then that new stadium might well become a reality. Of course, there have been numerous false dawns in the past. I’ve been supporting the club since the late Fifties and there have been many highs and probably even more lows. Most recently, of course, we all recall those heady days when the team charged into the Championship after two successive promotions.
Perhaps if this initiative had happened then, we might well be reading this match preview prior to sitting in a shiny new stadium complete with a 15,000 crowd and playing opponents from a much higher level? Hindsight is a wonderful thing and life is littered with “What ifs.”
On the pitch, Mark Robins and his Merry Men are doing their bit by keeping the club firmly on course for automatic promotion after our superb victory at Lincoln City last weekend. Indeed, I was listening to Radio Lincolnshire’s after match interviews and Lincoln manager Peter Jackson was magnanimous in defeat by declaring that we were the best side he’d seen this season. I remember Notts County’s manager saying the same so we must be a good team.
Such is the confidence amongst supporters and players alike that defeat in our last outing at Millmoor against high flying M K Dons wasn’t the subject of any gloom and doom as is usual when you follow the Millers. In fact, it appeared to fire us all up even more than usual for the trip to Lincoln. Another bumper travelling support of almost 1500 certainly had faith that our rather unfortunate defeat could be put to bed and quickly and so it proved.
Despite our lofty position, we are now firmly at the business end of the season and every game from now on will be difficult and every three points will have to be earned.
This weekend’s opponents, Wycombe Wanderers are another club that have moved rapidly ahead, at least off the pitch, in a relatively short period of time. Their Adams Park stadium is a credit to a club that only became members of the Football League in the mid-nineties. Last season, they reached the semi-final of the League Cup and have an exciting young manager in former Celtic captain Paul Lambert.
Operating in an area hardly famed for its football connections, leafy High Wycombe has seen a string of high profile managers come and go at the club. Martin O’Neill, Lawrie Sanchez, Tony Adams and John Gorman have all earned their management spurs at Adams Park.
This season, they have promotion aspirations of their own and last weekend’s 1-0 home defeat by Rochdale was their first in seven games. They will be keen to bounce back quickly and will want to gain ground on the clubs occupying those automatic promotion berths.
After tomorrow of course, I wish them well in their quest and perhaps our two clubs will move into League 1 together come the end of the season. For now, enjoy the game and if you like what you see please, please come again.