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OBITUARY | Rodney Fern 1948-2018

17 January 2018

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Rodney Fern 1948-2018...

Rotherham United are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former striker Rodney Fern, aged 69.

Rodney was a hugely popular figure at Millmoor and is fondly remembered for the pivotal role he played in the 1980/81 Third Division Championship winning season, in which he formed a prolific partnership with Ronnie Moore in the forward line.

His highlights included a famous hat-trick in the 6-0 demolition of Chelsea and a final day goal against Plymouth Argyle helping the Millers clinch the Third Division title.

He also represented Leicester City, where he played in a FA Cup final, Luton Town and Chesterfield, before joining the Millers in 1979.

Born in 1948, he joined Leicester in 1966 and scored two goals in his opening three games in the First Division. In 1969 he was part of the Leicester side which were beaten 1-0 at Wembley by Manchester City in the Cup Final, and in 1971 he earned a Championship medal as the Foxes won the old Second Division.

After 133 appearances and 31 goals for Leicester he moved to Luton Town in 1972. Injuries restricted his opportunities but his career took an upward curve again when he switched to Chesterfield in 1975.

He was top scorer in three of his four seasons at Saltergate but in June 1979 he arrived at Millmoor for a fee of £35,000.

Initially signed as a replacement for Trevor Phillips by Jim McGuigan, he would really thrive under the stewardship of Ian Porterfield who successfully paired him in attack with Ronnie Moore during the famous 1980/81 Third Division title winning season. Rodney netted 11 goals during the campaign, which included the crucial winner against Carlisle on Easter Saturday to clinch promotion. The famous goal against Plymouth on May 2nd which helped secure the Championship is an iconic moment still played on matchdays today.

His return to the second tier saw a return of 13 goals in 26 league starts, including the hat-trick against Chelsea. He also scored four times during the famous run in February 1982, where the record breaking eight consecutive victories hauled the Millers out of relegation trouble to a final position of seventh.

He left the club in February 1983 but still managed a further five goals in his final season. In total he made 120 appearances, scoring 39 goals.

Everyone at Rotherham United would like to express our deepest condolences to Rodney’s family and friends at this time.

Once a Miller, always a Miller.

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