Rotherham United chairman Tony Stewart has admitted the ‘culture’ was wrong at the club in their previous spells in the Championship.
And now the Millers’ custodian is desperate for his beloved club not to make the same mistakes as they embark on a welcome return to the testing second tier.
Ambitious manager Paul Warne guided the club to a famous League One promotion last season a year after the club’s most miserable on-field season in history saw them dumped out of the Championship.
But things are changing at the AESSEAL New York Stadium – and Stewart, who celebrated a decade with the club last season, has high hopes Warne and his young squad can spring a few surprises this term.
“We had three seasons in the Championship and, to be honest, the culture was wrong,” admitted Stewart, speaking exclusively to The Star.
“We were ill-prepared for a lot of things. We had £4million to spend and we didn’t spend it wisely.
“But we’ve learnt a hell of a lot from our time in the Championship – and that has put us in a much better position now to cope with the demands of the division.
“The template we’ve put together this season was forged from our previous experiences and the need for change to develop and grow.
“We needed to change things and we did when we appointed Paul Warne. He understands the Rotherham way having played for the club for so long and having been out fitness coach for ten years.
“We realised we needed to bring in younger players and that’s what we’ve done.
“I’m incredibly excited about this season, it’s exciting times for everyone at the club.
“We’ve seen the young players come on so much, it’s going to be a great challenge for them to make that step up.”
The Millers’ last season in the Championship saw them register a lowly 23 points, their lowest points total at that level since the three points system was introduced in 1981.
But an ambitious squad and imminent new signings has left Stewart brimming with confidence ahead of what promises to be an exciting and challenging season.
Stewart knows the Millers have their work out, especially with the likes of Stoke City, West Brom and Swansea City having come down from the Premier League, and the likes of Championship heavyweights Aston Villa, Middlesbrough and Derby County – to name a few – all gunning to make up for the disappointment of missing out on promotion last term.
“If we can showed the development like we did in League One last season I’ll be very happy,” stressed Stewart.
“There’s a lot of investment in the Championship and a lot of clubs have benefited from parachute payments, but we’ve gone with a youth policy and the challenge for us is to see if the young players believe they can be successful at the next level.
“We deserve the right to see what we can achieve this season and we’ll be trying to repeat the special season we’ve just had.
“We’ve got a lot going for us this season. We’ve got a great bunch of lads and we’re a happy club .
“We want to keep being happy. The foundation is in place for us to be successful, but we know it’s going to be difficult with the quality of teams we’ll be playing.
“But that’s the challenge - and it’s a really exciting one!”