The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP -

SO, ROTHERHAM United are head­ing back to League One next sea­son and I must ad­mit, as ev­ery week and sub­se­quent re­sult has passed, the hurt in­side me has in­creased.

When I con­sider the hard work and sheer de­sire that went into lead­ing the Millers to back-to-back pro­mo­tions to the Cham­pi­onship and then es­tab­lish­ing them in that first sea­son, it is not only me who feels that pain.

The sup­port­ers are the lifeblood of any club and at The New York Sta­dium they are fan­tas­tic. They are fewer in num­ber than at Leeds United, but I know from liv­ing among and with them for nearly four years that they love their club just as much.

To my as­ton­ish­ment, I have heard and seen chair­man Tony Stewart be­ing crit­i­cised. Let me be clear, he has put some­thing like £30mil­lion into his club.

Some of these huge sums helped build a fan­tas­tic new sta­dium and, of course, largely fund the team, but to some it is not enough. Please see it for what it is and sup­port the man.

The re­al­ity is that Tony has been badly let down by man­agers tak­ing on the role, fail­ing and then look­ing for some­one to blame. Scan­dalous!

It is a fact that, had my good friend Neil Warnock not pro­duced a near mir­a­cle, the Millers would have been rel­e­gated last sea­son.

Tony Stewart is a fan­tas­tic chair­man and he does not de­serve the pain he has en­dured in the last eight months. I know that be­cause we have spent many a Satur­day mes­sag­ing each other the sup­port that is needed when things go wrong.

If they can get the right man­ager in place this time, they will be a real force in League One next sea­son.

Big de­ci­sions will have to be made soon and the chair­man will never shirk from mak­ing them. The new man­ager is the big­gest of all.

I be­lieve the strat­egy for suc­cess next sea­son should be sim­ple: keep the best play­ers like Lee Freck­ling­ton, who is Cham­pi­onship class, and sign only those that can win pro­mo­tion at the first at­tempt.

‘Once a Miller, al­ways a Miller’ is of­ten said by the sup­port­ers and I know ex­actly what that means be­cause I share that feel­ing from the good times I had there.

They have a chair­man in Tony Stewart who rides the roller­coaster with the man­ager. I wish the Millers, and him in par­tic­u­lar, ev­ery suc­cess!

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