Defiant boss Alan Stubbs has told irate Rotherham United fans they just have to accept he’s not the kind of manager to go jumping into the New York Stadium kop.
Supporters have been irked by Stubbs’ reluctance to acknowledge them after matches and the boss’s popularity has slipped in line with his club’s descent to the foot of the Championship table.
“I am what I am,” said the former Hibernian chief. “I’m not one of these managers who rants and raves on the touchline. I’m not one to run up to the fans at the end and jump in and mingle amongst them. I’m me. You have to accept that.
Yet the Liverpudlian says an upturn in fortunes for his side, who entertain Newcastle United tomorrow, could see him alter his ways.
“If I go five or 10 games unbeaten, then I might change a little bit,” he said. “I doubt it. But I may run up to the fans if we’ve had a really good result away from home. I’m not at that stage yet. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
Rotherham have won one of their 10 league games and face a tough test against the big-spending Magpies who are in third spot after Wednesday’s 4-3 victory over Norwich City when they overturned a 3-1 deficit with three late goals.
A surprise Millers victory would delight fans, but Stubbs would, in all likelihood, remain by the tunnel and leave the celebrating to them and his team.
“I don’t need to clap someone to appreciate them,” he said. “I didn’t do it at Hibs.
“I’ve said all along, it’s all about the players. I’m the manager in the background who picks the team.
“I heard the other week that potentially one of the reasons why we weren’t winning games was because I was sat in the dugout. You stand up and we’ve still lost. If it meant us winning, I’d do somersaults. But I’m afraid that’s not going to be the answer to the problem.”
Saturday sees Stubbs go head to head with Toon boss Rafa Benitez who led Liverpool to European glory when the Millers manager was an Everton player and taking part in Merseyside derbies.
And he’s relishing the challenge against ‘The Tactical One’ in the final match before the international break.
“It’s me pitting my wits against a Champions League winner,” he said. “There’s the Liverpool and Everton rivalry as well. I’ve come across Rafa on a few occasions and he’s a really nice guy; very humble, very intelligent.
“You only have to listen to some of his ex-players talk to know that, tactically, he’s a fantastic manager. I’m hoping on Saturday he doesn’t get his tactics right and I get mine right.”
New York is already a sell-out for the Newcastle clash.
“It’s great. This is what it’s all about,” Stubbs added. “I don’t think anyone could have envisaged the likes of a Newcastle coming to New York Stadium this season because everybody would have thought they’d been a Premier League club.
“When a team’s spent over £50 million on players just this season, I think that tells you what their aspirations are. They’ll be there or thereabouts. I think they’re everybody’s favourites to go up this season. I can see why.”