Rotherham United: Millers chance to progress as a club

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If Rotherham United clinch promotion next Saturday, they will not only celebrate the achievement but also realise what it could mean to them, writes Les Payne.

Going up doesn’t just take them to the next level in playing terms but also offer them the opportunity to go to the next level as a football club.

Over recent decades, a new ground has often galvanised a club and, in many cases, some sort of success has followed.

There is no doubt the New York Stadium has been the catalyst behind Rotherham United’s re-birth as a club.

Chairman Tony Stewart threw everything he had in terms of time, effort and commitment - not forgetting many millions too - into producing a stadium that would get the club back into Rotherham and put pride back into the town and its fans.

In his five years in charge, he has been desperate for promotion but especially so this season, the first in their new stadium which has earned praise from all quarters.

He backed his manager, Steve Evans, to the hilt and demanded promotion this time. He is on the brink (a win or even one point would be enough) of delivering.

There will be a full house and it is the increased support which will be a factor too if they move up.

Gates this season (even ignoring the five figure ones) average a healthy 7,000 plus. Double those at Don Valley.

The extra support the new ground has gleaned can be expected to stay - and be added to. Then there will be additional away support, substantial in terms of some of the bigger clubs who will be in League One. They could start playing regularly to gates of 8-9,000.

On top of increased season ticket sales, all this is valuable extra revenue.

Of course, the extra income can help to take player recruitment up a notch. Which, in turn, can help establish a club at the next level.

Given the right approach, they can build on that and aim for the Championship push which is chairman Stewart’s dream. Which is why next Saturday is so pivotal to the club’s longer-term prospects.