Rotherham United: Bad signings? Not anymore, vows Millers chairman Stewart

Tony Stewart
Tony Stewart
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The recruitment errors of the past will never be allowed to happen again at Rotherham United, chairman Tony Stewart has pledged.

The Millers are paying the price for former boss Alan Stubbs’ summer of poor signings and are 15 points adrift of safety at the foot of the Championship.

But Stewart says the appointment of a head of recruitment, Jamie Johnson, means that no manager in the future will ever be responsible for identifying players in the way Stubbs, sacked in October after less than five months in charge, was.

Talking about the new arrivals of the Stubbs era and others before that, Stewart told The Star: “We’ve not spent wisely.

“Some of the players we have brought in - and we’ve had many a player - have not been fit for purpose.

“The way we go to business now is totally different. Playing wise, we’re now putting pieces in place that fit the jigsaw of Rotherham United. The pieces we got before didn’t fit the jigsaw. We’ve all seen that.

Alan Stubbs joins the Millers

Alan Stubbs joins the Millers

“Mistakes have been made. The club has always relied, under my direction, on the manager being able to pick and choose his own squad. It needs more than just a manager.”

Stewart has been delighted by the role played by Johnson so far and says his influence was felt in the January-transfer-window signings of players like young Plymouth Argyle left-back Ben Purrington.

“The fans and the board wanted change. We have brought in change,” Stewart said. “We’ve brought in a recruitment guy who works directly for the club. Players now are scrutinised.

“Players we sign now will have the want, desire and athleticism that this club requires to move forward. I can’t speak highly enough of the recruitment guy. His knowledge and experience is directing not just the board but the manager.

“The manager has a say in this. But what the director of recruitment has brought to the party is options. Not just one player for a position, but many players. I’m very impressed how he goes about his business before suggesting certain players. That’s been in place for around two months now.

“People might say it’s a bit ‘too little, too late’, but I think it’s a lot for now and it’s a lot moving forward. It’s not just one guy. There’s a team of them, and they report back to the club.”

The Millers owner also spoke of the problem when a p layer signs and turns out not to bewhat the club were hoping for.

“Bringing in players is akin to employing salespeople in my company, ASD Lighting,” he said. “They look the part, they audition for the part but, when you put them in place, it doesn’t always happen.

“In business, a bad salesman is replaced by a good salesman. You can move the failing salesman on. But in football, sometimes, you have someone with a three-year contract that presents an obstacle to doing the right thing.

“It’s easy to get players in, it’s very difficult to move them on. That’s hampered our moving forward after the bad start to this season we had.”

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