Owner Tony Stewart has dismissed claims he is ready to walk away from Rotherham United, declaring: “I’m no quitter.”
The Millers are on the brink of relegation after a season of struggle in the Championship which has brought a new club record for the number of defeats, 29, with eight matches still to play.
But, responding to social-media speculation he is considering selling up or seeking extra backing, the man who led Rotherham from League Two to the second tier is adamant he wants to right the wrongs of the 2016/17 campaign.
“Will it be me and my team in charge again next season? Absolutely,” he told The Star.
“Rotherham have never been without money under me. What Rotherham haven’t always done is invest it wisely in their future potential stars. In League Two, we were in the top two or three spenders, in League One, we were in the top five.
“It’s not been about the want of more investment, it’s been about the want of wise investment. At the end of the day, I don’t need the bank or outside investment.
“We don’t have a spiralling debut like some other clubs. We live within our means. We’ve shown in my eight and a half years that we can get to heights like the Championship. What we need to do in the future is ensure that when we get into the Championship we can retain it.”
Stewart is determined to restore the feel-good factor in the Millers who have paid the price for a summer of poor recruitment by former boss Alan Stubbs and saw successor Kenny Jackett shock the town by resigning after just five matches.
“I’m in it to win,” the chairman said. “I take personal pride in winning. There is no-one worse than me for having a terrible weekend when we don’t get the results.
“I came into football to be proud of what I’ve done. I need to get the pride back into the fans. I want them to be proud of what their club is doing. And I’ll share that.
“Have we learned our lessons? Well, people will say ‘time will tell’. All I will say is, I’m not prepared to lose. I’m no quitter.
Fitness coach Paul Warne has been in charge for 21 games since Jackett’s quickfire exit and could be offered the role on a permanent basis, with the club preparing to name their next full-time boss after the international break.
Looking back on the last 10 months, Stewart said: “With Alan Stubbs, we felt we hadn’t made the headway we should have done given the investment into 13 new players.
“We corrected that by getting Kenny Jackett in, and I think the fans would agree with the board that that was a good decision. But he jumped ship after five games, and I can’t put it any milder than that.
“It needs to be told to the fans that, having had many meetings with Jackett in a short time and having agreed with his philosophy, the board were stunned when he left. My mouth was agape because I didn’t expect what happened.
“I like to leave everything tidy, neat, and walk away proudly. I’m not walking away from anything yet because I haven’t done what I set out to do. I’m still in there, at the coalface, fighting to get where I think we can be.
“I mentioned Kenny Jackett, I’m not a quitter.”