Dean Hall column: 2015/16 had it all for Millers
Three gaffers, fall-outs, players out of favour, twists and turns, from the depths of despair to survival celebrations - Rotherham United's season in a nutshell.
Three gaffers, fall-outs, players out of favour, twists and turns, from the depths of despair to survival celebrations - Rotherham United’s season in a nutshell.
And, despite so many low points throughout 2015/16, 2,500 Millers were left celebrating in the sunshine last week at Hull City, applauding Neil Warnock and his players from the field after a 5-1 drubbing – weirdly bizarre, but richly deserved after securing Championship status for a third consecutive year.
Last week’s result at the KC Stadium mattered little in the grand scheme of things, but will have put a slight dent in Warnock’s personal pride, as he saw his team collapse for 20 first-half minutes which ultimately cost them the game after taking a 16th-minute lead.
More pressing matters, though, still surround the manager’s contract and future. Talks remain ongoing with chairman Tony Stewart as we also wait for the club’s retained list and who is likely to be offered a new contract.
I’d like to see the contractual situation with the gaffer sorted sooner rather than later so we can begin to plan early for another tough campaign. While Neil’s name is linked with a host of other jobs such as Blackburn and Forest, Millers fans remain hopeful he’ll commit his immediate future to New York Stadium. But if that’s not to be, I’m sure we’d all like someone at the helm as soon as possible.
On the playing side, key duo Lee Frecklington and Richie Smallwood have a year to run on their current deals, and from a fans perspective I think it would be wise to add a bit of quality around a solid spine.
Serious thought should be given to handing Kirk Broadfoot, Richard Wood and Matt Derbyshire new deals. While many of the fringe players and loanees will expect to be moved on as the squad is trimmed, it’s important that we get recruitment bang right this summer and address some of our previous mistakes. As well as whatever budget is available to strengthen key areas, coaching and getting the best out of what you’ve got is paramount too, which is why Neil is such a great fit for us at this level.
Que sera, sera, anyway. The beauty of football is such that we’ll have contrasting league trips to Newcastle and Burton Albion next season. It’s a crazy old game, which is why you’ve always got to dream, believe and strive to achieve.
Signing off for the summer. Up the Millers.