Rotherham United: Magic Millers defy the odds with Wembley shoot-out success

Celebrations as the Millers win on penalties
Celebrations as the Millers win on penalties
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What a day. What a comeback. What a goal. What a finish. What a way to win. What an achievement.

Next stop The Championship. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

Move something along on that top shelf. There’s a trophy on its way and a thousand memories to cram in too alongside all the glorious moments from the past.

It has been a season to treasure and this was a day to remember. For ever. And never forget.

As everyone knows from four years ago - and had only to look at the despair of the Leyton Orient players yesterday - Wembley isn’t a place to lose. And, they do say, that if you could choose a way to get promotion then you’d do it via the Play-offs and at Wembley. It’s the best way.

Well, 20,000 ecstatic, overjoyed, in some cases, disbelieving Millers fans, will be able to judge themselves now after an unforgettable afternoon and an utterly enthralling game. A typical Millers one actually.

The Alan Lee winner the last time the club climbed into the game’s second tier in 2001 probably remains the single most explosive moment of unadulterated joyful pandemonium.

But this, because of the setting, the drama, the tension, is destined forever to be right up there with the greatest Millers moments. Some might well make it the best. Right now, nobody is arguing!

Those 20,000 will always remember those penalties rattling into the net and, in the years ahead, will always be able to see Adam Collin swooping to make the decisive penalty save from Chris Dagnall - who once scored a hat-trick in about eight minutes as a sub for Rochdale against the Millers.

When you get to Wembley it’s all about winning. It matters not at all how it was achieved except that you get over that line.

The scenes at the end, as players and supporters celebrated, danced, jigged, even acted daft, were ones to take with you, treasure and recall whenever you feel like it.

I can just imagine it in years to come... “Grandad, were you at Wembley when Rotherham were promoted?”. And you’ll go on and tell ‘em the tale - at length!

There’s been a new feel about Rotherham’s support since they got back into town at the New York Stadium. A sort of affection has developed for those in the red and white... a bond between fans and players. Long may it continue and they will certainly need every bit of help next season.

Back-to-back promotions is a magnificent achievement (I think the Millers may be the first club to do it twice from fourth tier to second tier) and it really is a massive jump and, of course, they’ll be written off totally. Surprise, surprise. But that’s for the future.

Just celebrate the moment as many did last night and dream of things, games, opponents to come (June 18th the fixtures are out by the way). Never can a journey back up the M1 have seemed so wonderful!

Of course, they’ve been doubted all season, written off plenty of times. But they’ve have had this wonderful knack of coming back.

Crikey, they weren’t only 2-0 down here, they were even behind in the penalty shoot-out as well. But no one is doubting them now.

They’ll all be remembered as heroes of course. And so promotion winners should be. They are the ones that do it with the drive coming from the top.

Steve Evans - a fourth successive promotion for him - keeps churning out winning teams. Tony Stewart promised he would take the club into The Championship when he took over in the dark difficult days of 2008. He’s done more, much more and the £4million it’s said to be worth is small change compared to the £30million it’s cost him so far, stadium and all. But he could hardly have envisaged it would happen this quickly once he had got the whole caboodle back into Rotherham.

At half-time, it certainly didn’t look like happening.

They’d started on the front foot (surely that was a penalty when Alex Revell was bundled over in the third minute). Wes Thomas struck an early chance against the keeper from Revell’s knockdown.

But Orient started as if they had planned for the Millers being on the front foot, trusting their defensive organisation and looking to blunt the Millers then hit them.

When they scored twice in four minutes, Moses Odubajo’s 35th minute volley and a Dean Cox tap in, questions were asked of Rotherham’s defending, individually and collectively.

That stiffened noticeably right from the start of the second half suggesting there’d been words in one or two ears. They needed to get back in it quickly too. They did.

Showing typical spirit, they twice went close through free-kicks from James Tavernier and Ben Pringle, both brushing the roof of the net.

Then, ten minutes in, Pringle’s free-kick caused havoc and Revell poked in the sort of goal he doesn’t normally score.

He doesn’t get many like the second one five minutes later either.

You’ll have seen it a thousand times already and will be multiplying that figure I’m sure but it is one of THE great Wembley goals - a dipping volley from about 35 yards.

The rest of the game was just tremendous.

Neither deserved to lose but penalties always sort that out.





Loved it


You couldn’t make it up!

Which means, over 45 years since my first ever Millers report, this is my very last one.

A great place and a great way to go out.

As someone who has loved penalties, even studied ‘em, all my life, I actually wanted penalties and hoped the Millers would go up on penalties and had a funny feeling they would.

I had a lump in my throat and it might well come back whenever I recall today.

Football. Don’t you just love it?