Rotherham United: Stewart responds to flak from Millers fans

Tony Stewart
Tony Stewart
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Chairman Tony Stewart says he understands why he is in the fans’ firing line after a season of struggle for Rotherham United.

The Millers are 15 points adrift of Championship safety with only 16 games to play and Stewart has come in for criticism from some supporters as the club have slipped further and further off the survival pace.

“The buck stops with me, the Rotherham owner told The Star. “I have no grievance whatsoever with the fans.

“I have no axe to grind with people who give an opinion, no matter how brash it is. They’re saying it because they want their club to do well. I understand that.”

The Millers are paying the price for a summer of poor signings by then-manager Alan Stubbs, sacked in October after less than five months in charge, and missed out on two major targets in the January transfer window, striker Omar Bogle and centre-half Jordan Willis.

Kenny Jackett arrived as Stubbs’ replacement but lasted only five matches before quitting. Paul Warne has been caretaker boss since the end of November and Stewart says the fitness coach will remain at the helm until the end of the season, when the club will assess their options.

A head of recruitment, Jamie Johnson, has been appointed, with the chairman determined to ensure that transfer mistakes of the past aren’t repeated.

“The fans want what we want,” Stewart, who built New York Stadium and financed Rotherham’s rise from League Two to the second tier, said.

“I have inside knowledge of what’s happened, they haven’t. They have a frustration that builds up and builds up. Football is a sport where people show their emotions quickly and easily.

“I’m quite forgiving if people maybe forget where we have come from.I don’t get down, I get up. Life is about looking for solutions, and that is what Rotherham United are doing.

“I’m still in it. I like it. I don’t like walking away from things. We’re not short of cash. We need to use our cash more wisely.”

Meanwhile, Stewart described Jackett’s quickfire U-turn as “amazing”. The ex-Wolves boss spent just 39 days in the Millers hot-seat.

“Never in my life have I had someone come along with the want and desire and then fall short of giving himself a chance to bring his influence to bear on Rotherham United,” he said.

“Only Kenny Jackett knows why. I thought the man had a wealth of experience and knowledge, but he felt, after five games, that he’d got only one point and that was failure. His decision was amazing.”

Rotherham are at home to Blackburn Rovers, who are also in the drop zone, on Saturday.

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