Rotherham United were delighted to welcome members from the Rotherham Military Community Veterans Centre, who played a pivotal role as the club marked the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme ahead of the game with Preston North End.
The Millers invited a number of MCVC members to attend the game and observe a minute’s silence on the pitch with players and officials, as the AESSEAL New York Stadium joined together to pay tribute to our fallen soldiers.
As part of the pre-match ceremony which also included Bill Houghton of the South Yorkshire Police Band playing a rendition of The Last Post, we invited lifelong Miller and MCVC member Mike Sedgley to lead the teams out with matchball in hand ahead of kick off.
Mike, who served in the military for 37 years between 1970 and 2007 and is also an avid Rotherham United supporter, expressed his pleasure at the opportunity in helping the club mark such a significant anniversary and added that he was delighted to be reunited with a current employee who he served alongside in the Navy over 40 years previously.
“It was the highlight of both my work and personal life,” Mike told www.themillers.co.uk.
“I was asked by the MCVC lads if anyone would like to do it and I put myself forward and it was set up through Russ Morgan who does some work for the Trust.”
“Russ was in the Navy with myself on two ships and we sat together at the meal before the game and got to walk the match ball out afterwards.
“I knew most of the other servicemen in attendance through the MCVC but I’d not actually met Russ Morgan since our days on the Intrepid in the 1970’s, so it was nice to catch up with him and hear that he is working for Rotherham.”
Mike’s allegiance with the Millers stretches back as far as 1964, when he witnessed his first game which saw the club slip to a 4-3 defeat to Scunthorpe United after Roy Ironside limped off injured, leaving his teammates to finish the game with 10 men and concede a three goal lead.
Originally from Ravenfield, he found himself following the club from afar when based in the south of England for work, but says Saturday’s tribute was a particular highlight of watching the Millers for both personal and professional reasons.
“We were absolutely amazed by both the Millers’ and the Preston fans who observed the minute’s silence absolutely impeccably,” Mike added.
“I think it was indicative that there were real football fans there and I felt, as a supporter, it just embodied the spirit of the club.
“On behalf of myself and Rotherham MCVC, I would like to place on record our wholehearted thanks for a superb tribute."