So … the day job sees you write about Rotherham. You also a fan? If so, what’s the journey been? Rotherham born and bred? Rotherham supporting family?
I’m Rotherham born and bred and had my first experience covering the Millers as a teenage reporter on the local paper, the Rotherham Advertiser, 35 years ago. I went off to have my own sporting career and came back to the Rotherham United beat in 2014, first with the Sheffield Star and now with the Advertiser again. My dad took me to my first Rotherham game when I was seven and the Millers have had me, heart and soul, ever since. I’m a 52-year-old fan living the dream.
Good season so far, and a run of form akin to our own! From the outside looking in, it looks like a considerable over-achievement so far, but is that just a lazy platitude from someone outside of the Millers bubble?
There may be more talented squads in the Championship but there won’t be a more bonded one. Or a fitter one, for that matter. Rotherham are punching well above their budget. Organisation. Spirit. Desire. Togetherness. They can take you a long way.
What were expectations over the summer? Has anything happened since to realign them?
If Rotherham are still in the Championship in May then it’s been a brilliant season. From what I’ve seen, they have enough about them to make sure that happens. They give everything, aren’t easy to beat and can really get at teams when they’re on form. They’re a big side. Under-estimate them at set-pieces at your peril. Survival remains the goal, but the players are looking for more.
Who are Rotherham’s owners? Of the wealthy mega-bucks variety? We hear that Warne has the smallest budget in the division; this a result of FFP or owners who want the club to be self-financing?
Lighting tycoon Tony Stewart rescued the club from administration, built New York Stadium, oversaw the rise from League Two to the second tier and became a Rotherham legend in the process. The fans will never forget what he’s done for the club. Absolutely the budget is one of the smallest in the division but the Millers are one of the most effectively-run outfits in the Football League and have no debt concerns at all.
Paul Warne – a son of Norfolk no less – has clearly done a brilliant job, not only to get you back up, but to also thrive this season. What are the qualities of the man? What style of football do his sides play?
Son of Norfolk? Son of Rotherham thank you very much. Don’t go thinking you’re getting him back because he belongs to us now. He’s an honorary Yorkshireman and even likes things ‘moist’. Playing legend, managerial legend, one of the best human beings I’ve met in football. One of the best human beings I’ve met full stop. I’m using the word, legend, a lot in this piece, aren’t I? By the way, he’s as tight as you like with his money as well – Yorkshire again.
Ha! – you need to understand, they’re only ever on loan mate 🙂
It’s poor on my part, but I’ve not seen very much of Rotherham this season. Who have been the stars of the show so far?
There are a few to pick from. Centre-half Semi Ajayi, winger/No 10 Ryan Williams and centre-forward Michael Smith would get in most Championship squads. Richie Towell and Will Vaulks are tough little nuts in midfield. You won’t see them taking a backward step.
Will they come to Norwich to have a go? Or will Warne get them to defend and play on the break?
Both. The Millers aren’t daft and know they’ll spend most of the match without the ball. But when they’re in possession their instinct is to attack.
You up to speed on our Germanic revolution? What have you made of it so far?
To be perfectly honest, Norwich have done better than I expected. It just shows that it can be worth giving a manager time to do what he thinks needs to be done. Warne is a Norwich fan and has no complaints about how things are going. Carrow Road is a good away day. I wish the Canaries well, apart from today.
Final, standard, question… score prediction?
1-1. I don’t back against my lads!
Local lad and City fan, Paul Warne, brings his Rotherham side to visit ‘home’ and hoping to continue an unbeaten run that stretched to 7 games after a midweek draw with QPR. Drawing has become something of a habit for The Millers which has left them short of points but they’re not the pushovers that some may expect based on league position.
Penney predicts: Paul Warne has a lot of respect amongst Norfolk football folk and rightly so. It’ll be tighter than some expect so for me it’s 1-0 City.
Andy assumes: I’m still thinking 🙂
Gaz (G) guesses: This will be tough… they’ll be organised, set out to frustrate, and I fear some River End edginess. But, still, I’m going for a bum-squeaker of a 2-1 City.
Cookie concludes: I expect Rotherham to ‘do a Hull’; sit deep, invite us on and try to hit us on the break. Lots of patience required from the Carrow Road crowd, which has become used to plenty of goals and winning matches. Norwich 2 – Rotherham 0
Stew suspects: I saw Rotherham last week and there’s no more spirited team in the Championship. We have the quality to get past them, but it won’t be a pushover. 1-0 City.
The oppo’s opinion: 1-1. I don’t back against my lads!
Siri says: The answer is Norwich 1 – Rotherham 1