2019/20: An Incredible Journey. Match Day 11 – Saturday 21 September 2019: Rotherham United v Shrewsbury Town

Subbuteo team chart

A return to my football journey after missing out on a game last Saturday. Today a trip to South Yorkshire and Rotherham United, which is less than thirty miles from Huddersfield.

Strangely, I first got interested in the Millers through Subbuteo. As a kid, I used to get catalogues advertising their products which had a sheet which detailed which teams were represented by the kits the miniature figures wore. The red shirt with white sleeves, white shorts, and white stockings (as they were called in the day) represented Arsenal, Rotherham United, St Patricks Athletic, HVC Amersfoort and VVV from the Netherlands and Reims from France.

My favourite Rotherham story, and always reminds me of the Arctic Monkeys lyric “you’re not from New York City you’re from Rotherham” on the track, Fake Tales of San Francisco. Anyway, I was in Prague for a week, my mate Neil and I had decided to take our holiday to coincide with a stag-do for another friend. They were there for the weekend, we spent the week there. Absolutely great time. One of the nights me and Neil had ended up in this nightclub and speaking to some lads from England. As the drinks and conversation flowed, we got onto the serious questions of what team do you support. Neil supports Liverpool, is Scouse through and through and comes from the Wirral. The other two lads were both Sheffield Wednesday supporters. One of them got a bit uppity and insisted the Neil was a glory hunter and should be a Tranmere Rovers supporter because he was from the Wirral, of course I got some of the flack but then it’s a bit difficult supporting a Singapore side. It all got a bit heated but then as usually happens it swings one of two ways. I think the moment that broke the tension was when Neil asked the vociferous lad, with the proudly displayed Sheffield Wednesday tattoos which part of Sheffield he was from, “Rotherham” was his response, oh we laughed for ages and ages, but to this day I still think that he was being serious!


Back to the game and another goose bump inducing walk to the stadium – another new ground for me and included going past Millmoor. It’s quite strange in that the stadium is pretty much still intact. It was first home to Rotherham County FC between 1907 and 1925, with the Millers taking up residency when Rotherham United were formed with the merging of County and Rotherham Town. United moved out in 2008, and after playing at the Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield moved to their current home, the New York Stadium in 2012.

View to South Stand

I opted for a seat with the home fans in the North Stand on what was a balmy Autumnal afternoon. The Millers wore red and white, but not in that distinctive way that the Subbuteo kit of my youth was, and as is the modern way despite Shrewsbury’s traditional blue and yellow kit not clashing with the home team, opted for their all-purple second strip. Coming into the game Rotherham were in 14th in League One, having played seven, won three, drawn two and lost two, for a total of eleven points and had scored six in their last home game against Bolton. The Shrews were just one spot above their hosts and from their eight outings, had a record of three wins, three draws and two loses, and twelve points.

In all honestly the ninety minutes was fairly forgettable, with neither ‘keeper required to make a serious save and incidents of any real note were few and far between. Perhaps the pleasant September sun had becalmed the players, and as a result the game finished 0-0.


Saturday 21 September 2019

Sky Bet League One

Rotherham United 0 Shrewsbury Town 0

Venue: ASSEAL New York Stadium

Attendance: 8,380

Rotherham United – Iversen, Jones, Mattock, Wiles, Ladapo (Smith 67’), Morris, Robertson, Lindsay, Crooks, Ihiekwe, Hastie (MacDonald 83’).

Unused substitutes: Price, Wood, Barlaser, Lamy, Cooper.

Shrewsbury Town – O’Leary, Williams, Beckles, Whalley (Walker 90’), Norburn, Lang (Cummings 74’), Giles, Love, Goss, Ebanks-Landell, Laurent (Edwards 86’).

Unused substitutes: Agius, Golbourne, Vincelot, Udoh.


Steve Blighton

Book Review: Bradford City AFC – A Season Re-visited 1969/70 by Raymond C. Maule

The first thing to say about this book relates to the cover, where the phrase “…less is more…” rings true. The classically all white cover is interrupted only by claret and amber bands (depicting the Bradford City colours), details of the books title and a team picture from the 1969/70 season. On the reverse, a brief synopsis of the publication sits below two programme covers from the season and a view of the Valley Parade ground. The final detail relates to the fact that proceeds from the book are in Aid of the Bradford Cardiac Unit.

Once inside the book, the author explains in the “Dedication” and “Acknowledgement” the reason for this publication and how it came to fruition. “…The seed of an idea for this book was planted while recovering on a cardiac ward in a Bradford hospital. I decided that I wanted to say thank you in a more tangible form, to those who nursed me through a difficult time, and hopefully give something back in return…”

In the “Introduction” the reader is given a brief review of the 1969/70 season in terms of the White Rose County and its clubs and some snippets of what was happening in England at the time. The listing of the television viewing schedule from Christmas Day 1969 makes very interesting reading indeed!

So to the main body of the book, which is a diary based format of the 1969/70 season. The source of the information is match reports from the Yorkshire Post and the local papers of the Bantams opposition. The focus is on the City first team, although there are brief details about the reserves and other games that have a West Yorkshire interest. In addition to the match reports there are “Notes from the day” which include a round-up of the other fixtures in Division Three on that day and or more details and observations about the game Bradford were involved in. The reader will notice that the journalistic style is somewhat different to that of the sound-bite manner of today. The one-word headline to introduce a new paragraph is a format that has long since disappeared from sports reporting. For much of the season the Bantams were in and around the promotion spots, but no wins from their final eight games, left Bradford in tenth place. In the League Cup and FA Cup, City had decent runs, including a win at Roker Park against Sunderland, who just four years later won the FA Cup. The book closes with a “Who’s who of Bradford City’s personnel 1969/70” providing a useful summary of some of the key personalities from that season.

From a personal perspective I would have liked to have seen more match action pictures or programme covers to supplement the text. However, the lack of photographs from the respective fixtures may be down to the fact (as the author explains), “…many newspapers have disposed of their photographic archives and rely on scans taken from hard copy…”

It is a book that can be picked and put down and acts as a point of reference. It was interesting for instance to see three managers detailed in their playing days, those being Ian Branfoot (for Doncaster Rovers), Graham Taylor (for Lincoln City) and Neil Warnock (for Rotherham United). There are also various other gems in this book and a couple of my favourites are as follows:

Friday 23 January 1970

Mr John Parker, Labour MP, for Dagenham began an attempt at modifying the “Sunday Observance Laws” and so legalise the charging of admission prices at fixtures played on Sunday’s. It was an idea being closely watched by sporting bodies throughout the country, especially football being the biggest money-spinning sport.

The idea is said to have government approval and if all goes well by this time next year Football League clubs may well be playing League and Cup fixtures on a regular basis on Sundays.

In fact it was another four years before football was played on a Sunday, when on January 6th 1974 four FA Cup Third Round fixtures were played, the first being Cambridge United v Oldham Athletic which kicked off in the morning.

Later in April 1970 the following is an extract from the match report for the Walsall v Bradford City fixture:

Bradford goalkeeper, John Roberts was struck in the back by a full large-sized tin of soup (tomato flavour!) thrown from behind his goal just after the restart.

Whilst it may seem comical to read, it should be remembered that hooliganism was very much on the rise during this period and that there are a number of reports in the book which highlight trouble on the terraces and from fans travelling to and from games.

As a book I believe that it will appeal to City fans old and new, fans of other clubs who played against Bradford that season and indeed anyone who wants an insight into that period in English football. Share in Bradford City’s up and down return to Division Three, the glory of the Cup runs and revisit football and an England as the swinging sixties gave way to the seventies.


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