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Predictions 2008-9 - 20th Rotherham United
Predictions 2008-9 - 20th Rotherham United
Friday, 1st Aug 2008 15:08

Our predictions for the forthcoming season continue with a look at Rotherham with a prediction which could be wiped out depending on Football League action.

Rotherham United
last season at a glance

It was a season pretty much devastated by the points deduction. Their first season back in League Two was going well, but once the impending administration started looming, form dropped to such an extent that what looked a certain play off place was well off the mark, even before you knocked off the ten points for administration.

The gaffer

It's very difficult to know what to make of Mark Robins as a manager. His time as manager as Rotherham United seems to be eternally thwarted by off the field problems, and its almost impossible to know what he's like as a manager. He brought them down from League on the back of a points deduction, and last season saw their season destroyed by another. You can't look at the table from last season and assume that the points deduction only cost them ten points. The threat and the subsequent fall out killed off a season which saw them lurking around the Play Off zone for long periods.

Robins has no doubt won support from the Milmoor faithful for sticking with the Millers despite all their problems, but he'll know full well that he's done anything yet as manager to warrant being known as anything other than the man who saved Alex Ferguson from his days as a fresh faced striker. And that in itself is not the stuff to stick on a CV to win another job.

Reasons for a better season

Well for a start, whatever may well happen between the Football League and Rotherham United, they will at the very least have the advantage this time round of knowing what they will be facing. Last season carried the weight of uncertainty around with it. Whatever battle they face, they'll be well aware of it from day one, and that will make a massive difference.

The signing of Birchill will give them a goalscorer that they have lacked since the days of Alan Lee.

Reasons for a worse season

So where do you start?

It's all well and good putting that it's advantage knowing the state of play from day one, but that also ensures that they do into the season on an downer from the first day. Many clubs rely on that Summer naivety that the following season could bring success (hello Notts County!), but the Millers have been robbed of that to begin with as whatever punishment awaits them, they'll know they'll be ruled out of any chance of top half success.

This too will be transmitted to potential players. In recruiting new players, who wants to come and play for a side where the earliest hope of success is May 2009? And those that do sign have to have their motives questioned. It won't be because they feel they can win things or improve their career with Rotherham. It will be either for monetary reasons or for the nice quiet life.

They have no home, and will therefore face practically a season of away games. Its very common for teams to struggle in the first season after a move of ground. Fans are separated from their normal viewing positions, making it difficult to create any atmosphere. The players won't feel at home and visiting sides will  be well aware of this and look upon a trip to the Don Valley Stadium as easy pickings.

Season depends on
There were certainly a few eyebrows raised when it was announced that Rotherham had signed Mark Burchill. A few eyebrows because he was a striker that the whole world seemed to have forgotten about since his early days as the Scottish Michael Owen, and his subsequent £1,000,000 transfer to Portsmouth.

It all went very quiet for Burchill since then, with a number of loan spells not producing anything before retiring back to the Scottish Leagues. But whilst it would be easy to dismiss Burchill has being someone who was just seeing out the last few years of his career, his record back in Scotland was a good one suggesting that there's plenty of life left in him.

He grabbed thirty goals in three seasons for Dunfermline which was was in both the Scottish Premier League and Division One, and the Pars felt that he'd done enough to be offered a new contract that he knocked back in order to sign for Rotherham.

Burchill is a lot younger that you might expect. He's still only 27 so this is no pension push for him. This may well be a level in which he can start enjoying his football and showing some of that promise he showed many years ago. Prediction

20th - Lower half nothingness

Reasons for our prediction
First of all, it needs to be said that this prediction has been written before we know the outcome of any points deductions that Rotherham may face. For the basis of this, I have guessed that they'll get 15 points deduction, but as you are probably aware, there still remains a very strong chance that they won't even start the season. It's all in the hands of the solicitors.

So if we've tipped Luton for inevitable relegation, why are Rotherham escaping?

Well we think there's going to be a lot of poor sides down at the bottom end of the division this year. The normal 50 points for safety won't apply this time round. Luton have taken one spot already and we feel that there'll be a feeling of safety doing the rounds because of this. Why should the likes of Accrington and Chester start spending money that they don't have when relegation will already be decided before the season has started? There will be that feeling emanating from many a boardroom who feel that there is no contest down there this season, so there's no need to strengthen.

So we reckon that in real terms, Rotherham will need to amass something like 55 points this season if they are to avoid the drop, and that will be very achievable for a side like Rotherham. In fact, we can see them doing a little bit better than that so have them finishing so far up.

But if any Rotherham supporter starts looking at Leeds and thinking that they can do something similar to what they did last season, then they need to come back down to earth and leave that bag of Bostik alone. Any points deduction will ruin the season. Forget play offs, forget top half of the table, just concentrate on staying up.

And that's something we can see them doing. It will be a very dull season for all connected with Rotherham but it will be one which allows them to retain their FL status.

Photo: Action Images

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