|View from the opposition - Rotherham|
Friday, 1st Aug 2008 15:00
To accompany many of our season's predictions, we are interviewing an opposition fan to see how they see things happening for their side and Dale in 2008-9. We begin with Rotherham fan Gricehead.
|How was last season
It started off well. New squad, young enthusiastic manager, the
(previous) administration and 10 point deduction behind us. A good
start to the league programme had us up there in the promotion
places, and the fans were already planning for League One. Apart
from the shock defeat to Forest Green in the FA Cup replay, and the
4-2 drubbing by Rochdale at Millmoor (best two teams to come to
Millmoor all season) we were solid.
It all started going wrong in January when we entered a run of 7
games against the 5 clubs. MK Dons x2, Peterborough, Wycombe x2,
Hereford and an up and coming Stockport. We lost our best player,
Stephen Brogan, to a horrific compound fractured leg in the first
game at MK, and went on to take just 2 points from those 7 games.
Incredibly, we were still 5th after that little run, but worse was
to follow. News started appearing about the players not being paid,
about debts to the Inland Revenue. Our top scorer walked out
after refusing to sign up to the wage deferral, and was never seen
again. Stories of woe came out about how we'd been raped over our
flood insurance the previous summer and how the electrics had had to
be replaced in one of the stands to get a safety certificate. But
what it came down to in the end was financial mismanagement, and an
over-enthusiastic wage budget. Whilst most of the fans had been
hoping for a upper-mid-table season of consolidation, the board had
been assuming an immediate bounce back up the league. That sort of
circle never gets squared, and administration and a ten point
Depression set in. We won 1 out of 8 in March, and by the time we
put a 4 game winning streak together to end the season it was
already over. 9th place would have been acceptable to most fans at
the start of the campaign (although being above the Diresh*tes would
have been preferable), but the stench of admin and another spring of
facing winding up orders and looking for new owners spoiled yet
Has your club's Summer
activities lived up to expectations?
I doubt there are many lower league clubs who have had quite as many
"activities", so yes, I guess. Lets see:
- New Ownership with as yet unknown financial backers
- Decades of football history thrown away through a petty dispute
over cold hard cash with a previous owner
- Facing untold years of football at an athletic stadium...
- ...in the city of our fiercest rivals
- Travelling to a faceless industrial estate to buy/collect season
- 15 point deduction? Who knows.
And to top this off, despite acknowledging that last season's playing
budget was too high, we've still brought in more players than we've let
go. Confidence of this season not ending like the last two? less than
|Where do you think
you will finish next season and why?
|I'll be happy to finish next season. With the way the Football
League are taking points off people at the moment, a tally > 0 might be
enough to stay up. I think our gross points tally will be in the mid
seventies. Challenging the playoffs with no deduction, fighting with
Macclesfield and Notts County if we get minus 15.
|Where do you think
Dale will finish next season and why?
On the surface, Rochdale are the epitomy of a well run League 2
outfit. Small but loyal crowd, small but well managed playing
budget, etc. But where do you go from Wembley? History suggests
losing playoff finalists at this level don't usually bounce back.
Presumably your finances are a bit healthier after Wembley and the
Glen Murray cash?
On the other hand, League Two looks wide open this year. The big
guns (MK and Peterborough) have gone, being replaced by financial
strugglers (Bournemouth/Luton). I wouldn't tip any of the four
relegated sides to go back up, and bookies seem to have Bradford as
favourites. Bradford ffs!
In summary, you'll be up there. Keep playing the attacking, pacey,
wing-based footy and find someone with a knack of putting them in
the net regularly, and you've as good a chance as anyone of a top
Photo: Action Images
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