Rotherham United: Stewart targets third successive promotion

Tony Stewart
Tony Stewart
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Chairman Tony Stewart has set his sights on a third successive promotion and Premier League football for Rotherham United.

Next season the Millers rub shoulders with the big guns of the Championship, but the challenge ahead holds no fears for the ambitious New York Stadium chief.

“If you asked me if I’d be happy with 10th, I’d say no’,” he said. “Would I be happy with fifth? No.

I think, for me, anything is attainable. And when you’re making statements and commitments you have to go full on and say if we we’re going to compete at the highest level we’ve got to be positive and say we will aim to get promotion.

That’s the aim. If you haven’t got that aim then I don’t think you should be in football.”

Rotherham won promotion to League One in their first season at the stadium Stewart built and followed that up by beating Leyton Orient in the League One Play-off Final at Wembley last month to secure their Championship status.

If they defied the odd and did go up next season the Millers would reach the top flight for the first time in their history.

Stewart, who has masterminded their amazing rise with manager Steve Evans, added: Are we frightened of a team like Nottingham Forest? No. Let’s talk nearer home, are we frightened of Derby? No.

“We will go into battle with these teams and we will match ourselves against them.

“What have we got in our armoury? We’ve got speed and tempo and desire.

The Millers have already made five new signings, including paying a club-record fee for striker Jordan Bowery from Premier League Aston Villa.

And Stewart says the record will go again if one of the bids made for other players succeeds.

He declared: “Ambition is being able to compete with the best. Ambiton by itself is hollow. It doesn’t mean anything. If you’re ambitious, it’s saying I have to compete with the best.

“You sometimes hear chairman say ‘we’ve been in this league for 10 years and we’re happy’. Well maybe they’ve found their level.

“We’re on a roll. Promotion one and two have been achieved, Let’s go for three. I think we are going to turn one or two heads.

I’m not promising miracles but we will try damned hard, not to play well but to win the game, and Steve is the same kind of person as me.

If we played Manchester City and we lost, fans might say: ‘Well, it’s Man City’. I say: ‘We lost’.

“Against all adversity you have to succeed. It’s raining, it’s cold, it’s damp, there’s snow on the ground ... all excuses.”

Meanwhile, the draw for the first round of the Capital One Cup is made today.