How Millers’ fans brought “dark times” for this Rotherham United player
Zak Vyner has spoken of how his treatment from Rotherham fans left him feeling rock bottom earlier in the season.
The Bristol City loanee was made a scapegoat for a dismal Millers display against Brentford in January and home fans ironically cheered their own player being substituted during the 4-2 defeat.
It seemed harsh at the time, and even though boss Paul Warne insisted he was not taken off because of his performance, it only highlighted the problem, especially as he then dropped out of the team for a short time.
For a young player trying to make his name in the game it was a tough hand he was dealt and he admits it hit him hard.
“To be honest, I wanted the ground to open and swallow me up,” he said. “I did get a lot of support. Will (Vaulks), I remember, was cooling me off on the pitch. The gaffer was good as well. They were as surprised as I was.
“It was a dark time for me. I'm not going to beat about the bush and say I was happy when I left the ground.
“I just knew that I needed to confide in the team, my parents and my brother, trust in myself and move forward.
“I got over it after a couple of days. It wasn't like I was 'harping' on it for a while. It was a new experience for me. I'd not had that before in my career. It's just a different aspect to my development, I suppose.
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“If it happens again in the future - touch wood, it doesn't - then maybe I can 'harp' on it for less time than I did this time.”
Unsurprisingly, his Millers team-mates, who are a close-knit bunch rallied around him and he insists it is no longer an issue.
“I've got a great family and great friends and obviously the lads here as well,” he added. They didn't want to make a big deal out of it because they were surprised by it themselves. They were kind of like, 'We didn't think you'd done anything wrong'.
“Certain people think differently, I suppose, but it's not my place to say anything about that.
“I just had to rely on my belief in myself and the manager's and coaches' belief in me.
“I just brush it off and don't think about it too much. It doesn't bother me that much. If people want to say something bad about they can say something bad about me.
“It's not going to stop me playing my game and doing what the manager wants me to do.”