Welcome, a very merry TFFmas from all of us here at the blog. As we head into the holiday season, there is plenty to look forward to both on the pitch and off it and we are looking forward to the month ahead. This December we will be running the 25 Days of TFFmas, every day up until the big day we will be publishing Christmas wishlists from members of our team for what they would like their club to get for Christmas.
In this fifth edition, we spoke to TFF writer and editor Lewis Oldham about what Rotherham need this Christmas and, in all honesty, they need a Christmas miracle.
Rotherham started poorly last season but a miraculous upturn in form after the appointment of Neil Warnock kept the Millers in the Championship. It must have been a bitter disappointment for the club that Warnock rejected the chance to stay on and now manages Cardiff City. However, they appointed a strong replacement, Alan Stubbs, he was a popular figure in his previous job at Hibernian. Unfortunately, things just didn’t work out for him and he was sacked after just 14 games, winning one and losing ten. Little did fans of the club know what that sacking would start. It’s only December and Rotherham are already looking for their third permanent manager of the season. Kenny Jackett came in and was unable to stop the rot, he only managed a single point in five matches before sensationally quitting the club just last week. Now, the new boss, whoever he may be, face a monumental task. Rotherham currently sit marooned at the bottom of the Championship table and with a mountain to climb even move up to 23rd place, they are currently 11 adrift at the bottom and 13 from safety. The 1-0 win against Brentford in August being their only win in all competitions this season. There was even humiliation in the EFL Cup when League Two Morecambe beat them 5-4 in a thriller at the New York Stadium. Don’t expect Rotherham to focus on the FA Cup when they enter, their focus needs to be on the league and the league only.
Wish 1- Stability
“After Kenny Jackett’s shock resignation on Monday, we are looking for our sixth permanent manager since the start of last season. One main reason for our awful start to this season has been the managerial meregoround over the past two seasons and the lack of stability associated with that. We are being punished for three years worth of short-term planning and for not having a Championship level board set-up. Unlike any other 2nd tier side, we do not employ a head of recruitment or a Director of Football, which has been one of the significant reasons for our, at times, inept recruitment policy. At this point, we are cut adrift at the bottom of the league and it’s hard to imagine us somehow pulling off a miraculous survival bid, of an even more extreme level to last season. We are ultimately going to be playing our football in League 1 next year and to rebuild before then, our next manager must be at the club until the end of the season at the very least. I would personally give the job to Paul Warne – our fitness coach and former player – until the end of the season, with a more experienced assistant to help him along. Warne bleeds Rotherham United and he would at least re-instill the same passion and desire in our play, which has previously been a key reason for our unbelievable success under predecessor’s Neil Warnock and Steve Evans. In the meantime, whatever happens on the pitch, it is vital that we appoint a Director of Football and a Head of Recruitment before the end of the season.”
Wish 2- The defence to be strengthened
“This season has been a turbulent one for Rotherham and it has often been the case that the source of all of our problems has been our defensive frailties. We have by far the worst defensive record in the Championship and overall we have the worst record in the entire football league. It is essential that we strengthen our defence during January to give us even the slightest chance of avoiding the drop. At the moment, we are conceding two goals per game at an average, which is putting our forwards under a lot of pressure as they are having to create enough chances to score twice a game to give us a chance of earning at least a point in games. If we concede less goals, it will ultimately keep us in games and with the position we are in, it is essential that we pick up form as soon as possible or face the impending threat of relegation.”
Wish 3- The return to fitness of two of Rotherham’s stalwarts
“This summer has seen another overhaul of the Rotherham United squad, which has left them short of many players that have been at the club for a number of years. There are two who have been stalwarts in the side during their rise to and consolation in the Championship, they are Kirk Broadfoot and club captain Lee Frecklington. Due to continuous injury problems, the former is yet to make an appearance this season while the latter has only appeared in nine league games. The two players have played a major factor in Rotherham’s success in recent years, most recently at the back end of last season with the extraordinary turnaround which helped them to avoid the drop for a second successive season. With two of our most important players missing, there has been a distinct lack of leadership and passion in the side along with a loss in quality in both midfield and defensive areas. A return to fitness for both Frecklington and Broadfoot should definitely improve the side’s overall performance to give us a better chance to compete well in games and pick up more points.”
Do you agree with this list?
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Thank you to Lewis Oldham for contributing today, we’ll see you tomorrow for another member and another wishlist!