From magical to mediocre

Date published: Wednesday 28th December 2011 11:04

Who needs consistency?

After a period of blog inactivity, I felt compelled to provide my first account of the season, as I seek to end Christmas and move into the New Year by increasing the frequency of my shamefully sporadic submissions (and if you can’t blog at Christmas, when can you ey?). With my last entry coming all the way back in May after a lay off that would make Kieron Dyer look like an ever-present, it seems necessary to resume my Millers mumblings by providing something of a half term report on the season so far.

The season started with a bang that not many expected. After a dismal end to the 2010/11 season and an overhaul in the summer which saw the departures of key talents Ryan Taylor and Nicky Law and the utterly reliable Nick Fenton, many tipped us for a season of mediocrity at best. In fact, even the most optimistic Miller could only envisage a season of respectable results but uninspiring methods of acquiring them, with new gaffer Andy Scott renowned as something of a long ball merchant and being christened ‘binary Scott’ by one messageboard maniac in reference to Scott’s apparent partiality to low-scoring results in his spell at Brentford.

Yet 13 points from a possible 15 thrust us to the top of the table by August’s end, and by late September we’d been beaten just once, scoring 21 goals in that period, as Scott resiliently shook his fist at that ‘binary’ nickname. The signs were almost entirely positive, and fans gushed over our attacking supremacy, deducing that if we could tighten up at the back and maintain our potency in front of goal we could be set for a sensational season.

Yet, somehow predictably, the opposite happened. Our defending got worse and the goals dried up, resulting in an October more gloomy than Gillian Clarke’s in which we conceded over two goals a game and failed to pick up a single win (even against the hapless pair of Northampton and Bristol Rovers). We won just twice in 14 after the rather inevitable departure of the wonderful Adam Le Fondre to Reading, and Scott was sounding to start every bit like a manager under pressure as he provided post-match interviews that sounded like a CD on repeat and blamed just about everyone bar himself for our form (which comes only slightly lower than Steve Kean’s denial on the ‘lost the plot’ scale).

Things have picked up again in recent weeks, however, leaving us in a respectable position of 11th on Boxing Day, which might not actually be such a bad thing given in the past few seasons we’ve made a habit of being in the top 3 at Christmas and then capitulating thereafter. To summarise, we’re head-bashingly, fist-poundingly, cat-kickingly inconsistent, following up every glimmer of hope with an unyielding reminder of why we’re definitely not good enough for promotion, and then a subsequent reminder of why we’re every bit good enough, and so on and so forth.

We’re like, I suspect, just about every other team in the footy league (bar Southampton and Chesterfield, who are consistently excellent and rubbish respectively) yet that extraordinary wiring football fans have which makes us believe we’re entitled to better than everyone else means that being like everyone else is just not good acceptable.


Perversely, the supporters that ever-so-resolutely believe mediocrity would be a success are perpetually disillusioned with our mediocrity, and those who appreciate the merits of a draw at Macclesfield before the game are the same ones trudging off disappointed (perhaps accompanied by a quick boo) as we do just that. The truth is, the margins are so fine that anything can happen, but – if there’s such thing – the likelihood is that we’ll finish somewhere between 6th and 14th and be ultimately disappointed. But being genuinely good and consistent would be so dull, wouldn’t it?

While our ventures on the pitch can hardly be said to be unequivocally successful, what is happening off it most certainly can. Barring any absurd late hiccups, we WILL be moving back to Rotherham for next season as the recently named New York Stadium erects itself in the middle of our town centre, a move so monumentally huge for the club that it makes whether we win or lose 1-0 at Dagenham seem rather immaterial. It was tempting to dedicate a separate blog to the stadium’s aforementioned naming, but in truth that was only so I could give it the title ‘Fairytale of New York’.

It’s worth noting at this point, by the way, that those who believe ‘New York’ to hardly be indisputably Rotherham would be slightly misguided, and that despite appearing a desperate attempt to glamorise and publicise a remarkably unfashionable place, New York is in fact the name of the area of ground on which the stadium is built, making the name no more absurd than Hillsborough or Bramall Lane. And even if we could have gone with something a little more, I dunno, ‘Rotherham’, I doubt there are many who would argue that the name is not infinitely superior to the CoralWindowsEtihadAmexEmirates stadium. Oh, and the West Stand is being sponsored by Pukka Pies. And that IS indisputably Rotherham.

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