B2net debacle was final straw

Watershed: Ronnie Moore
Watershed: Ronnie Moore
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THEY say never go back. Ronnie Moore will be reflecting on that today after his second stint in charge at Rotherham United was brought to an end.

The 58-year-old ended his 18 month tenure when he cleared his desk for a second time as manager after a meeting on Monday afternoon with chairman Tony Stewart, the man who appointed him in September 2009.

Moore was a goalscoring idol and then managerial legend from his previous time as a player and then manager of the Millers, but he has fallen victim now to the thirst and desire for success oozing from chairman Stewart.

He goes with the promotion-chasing Millers having slid from second in the table in mid-January, when they were strong candidates for automatic promotion, to five points off that particular pace and into the play-offs.

The 5-0 defeat at Chesterfield on Friday was clearly the watershed for Moore and the final straw for Stewart.

He demanded promotion this season and, as Moore has acknowledged, he provided backing and support as and when requested.

But rumours that Stewart’s patience was being stretched by results and performances this year began to surface and there were reports that he was particularly angered after the recent loss at Bradford City.

Stewart is likely to have made his feelings known then and Moore perhaps felt the pressure was really starting to mount, almost game by game.

It was hard to avoid the feeling that if Moore didn’t deliver promotion this season then he definitely would not survive come May. He hasn’t got that far.

He will argue, and probably has done since Friday’s debacle, that the team was sixth (at the weekend) and still very much in with a shout. You could hardly argue with that.

But the problem was a widespread belief that they should be better placed than they are.

The recent results have, for a team aspiring to better things, been poor. Yes, all teams have their dodgy spells and a few round the top have been having setbacks too. But the Millers have been sliding, notably away from home.

The last ten away matches have seen seven defeats, one win and two draws. That record hardly needs the suggestion that they have become far easier to beat than should have been the case.

For a manager whose reputation was for teams who were big and strong and difficult to beat, the travelling faithful were finding a team who weren’t... one probably too open for their own good (but not the entertainment level) and with a soft side whereby they always fell behind and, very often, in the opening period.

Those last ten away games have seen them concede goals at an average of more than two per game!

The failure to identify away flaws and arrest the slide and, it has to be said, too many ineffectual individual performances, culminated in Friday’s denouement.

Those around at the time will always remember Moore’s goalscoring feats in the red and white, including overall top scorer in (now) The Championship in 1981/82 and certainly never forget the back-to-back promotions as manager and subsequent seasons having a ball in the second tier which cemented his place as a legend in club history.

But it wasn’t to be third time lucky!

By coincidence, the first game after the decision on Ronnie Moore was also at the B2net Stadium when a Millers reserves side met Chesterfield in a friendly yesterday.