Richard Wood column: The day I was on a coach attacked by fans

It was a disappointing way to end the season.

Thursday, 12th May 2016, 12:00 am
Updated Thursday, 12th May 2016, 2:26 pm
A can is thrown at the Manchester United team coach

Losing 5-1 is not acceptable, but at the end of the day, the survival job was already done before the Hull City match and overall it’s been a successful season for the club.

Speaking of final games, the scenes from the Boleyn Ground on Tuesday night were captivating to watch. The atmosphere was incredible and it must have been great to play in the final game there.

Action from the final game at Hull

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

I have been lucky enough to play there, and it is a great stadium, steeped in tradition. It will be a loss to football. But clubs have got to move with the times.

Just as other clubs have successfully moved to new grounds, as is the case with Rotherham United, West Ham now head to the Olympic Stadium, which will be a terrific place to play.

A sour note was the trouble before the game with the damage to the Manchester United team bus. Eye-witness videos I have watched of the event bring back memories of the time I was involved in a similar occurrence, although not on the same scale.

I was playing for Sheffield Wednesday and we had a game at Ashton Gate against Bristol City.

The home fans were frustrated towards the end of the game when a spectator was hit by the ball, following a clearance from one of the Wednesday players. There was some anger vented at our players because of this, and this escalated further when we left the stadium on the team bus.

We had just pulled away when somebody launched a brick at the window of the bus and we all dived down into the aisle. Luckily, it didn’t smash the window because it was safety glass, but it was heavily damaged and I don’t know how it didn’t break.

It is not a nice situation to be in and incidents like this should not be happening in English football. Images and videos of Tuesday night will be shown all over the world and will tarnish the image of the sport in this country.

With the Championship campaign at an end for Rotherham United, the question I get asked most often is: What do you do now the season is over?

Action from the final game at Hull

Firstly, in modern-day football you always have to maintain your fitness.

Gone are the days where you do nothing in the close season, come back unfit and overweight and use pre-season as a means to get fit.

Our fitness coach, Paul Warne, has given every player an off-season programme to adhere to and it is down to the individual player to stay fit.

There are tools now to measure our fitness levels and the expectation is that you come back for pre-season very fit.

There is no hiding.

If you come back unfit, then it will stand out. You don’t want to be behind the other players and the manager will notice this.

Footballers usually get around six to seven weeks away from the training ground, with the exception of teams in the play-offs or players on international duty.

During this time, I tend to try and get away on holiday where I can relax and switch off from football. I usually do no fitness work in the first couple of weeks after the final game, and then slowly build up conditioning until I return for pre-season.

Finally, I’d like to thank all the Millers fans for the support this season and especially in these last few months. I am glad the team could reward your efforts with survival in the Championship. Enjoy your summer.