Rotherham United: Why promotion with Millers means more than with Sheffield Wednesday for Richard Wood
Winning promotion via the play-offs is nothing new for Richard Wood but doing so with Rotherham United was extra special for the club captain.
Wood scored twice to help the Millers earn a place back in the Championship with victory over Shrewsbury Town.
It came 13 years after the centre half featured in Sheffield Wednesday’s League One play-off final win over Hartlepool United at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.
But the presence of his two sons in the crowd at Wembley on Sunday made the occasion all the more memorable.
“I’d say it’s the proudest moment of my career,” Wood said.
“I did it with Wednesday which was unbelievable.
“But to do it in front of my children it means that much more.
“It’s definitely up top as the highlight of my career, with everything that has gone on as well.”
The 32-year-old’s sons Jenson, 9, and Graye, 7, had lived and breathed every moment of the Millers’ promotion winning campaign with their dad.
And he said they were more nervous than he was on the morning of the game.
“They were just buzzing,” Wood said.
“My eldest woke up early on the morning just buzzing. He couldn’t wait to set off.
“And my wife had to wake my youngest up but he started crying straight away because he said he was too nervous.
“He had pins and needles while he was getting dressed and he ended up with everything on back-to-front. He just couldn’t function.
“He was more nervous than everybody.”
After netting what proved to be the winning goal in extra time, Wood sprinted more than half the length of the field towards the Rotherham supporters.
Though it was a decision boss Paul Warne would playfully label unwise afterwards given the state of the veteran’s knees, Wood revealed there was special significance in his celebration.
He said: “The reason I sprinted that far is because my children were just above the tunnel.
“My kids were crying tears of joy – and that’s what it’s all about.
“That’s what I want to see.
“To do that for them as a dad, no one can take that away from me.”
Wood hit the headlines for his match-winning brace – the first time he has scored twice in the same game in his career.
But he refused to take the plaudits and instead turned the attention on the team as a whole.
He said: “It’s a team effort.
“The lads were unbelievable. We all dug in and ground it out.
“It’s just rewards for the season that we’ve had.
“We’ve done brilliant all season to turn it around from last season.
“I’m just proud to lead the team out. I’m proud of every player and staff member. And the fans have been brilliant.”