20 years. Doesn’t time fly, Millers fans? That’s right, it is 20 years to the day since Ronnie Moore and John Breckin masterminded the first of two consecutive promotions, which would eventually take the club from the fourth tier to what is now known as the Championship.
On this day, 29th April 2000, in Hartlepool they would take a giant leap in their uber-successful journey as Rotherham United’s management team, with a 2-1 triumph on the penultimate day of the season at Victoria Park.
The script for the perfect story was written.
A gloriously sunny day with an away end packed and rocking thanks to the hordes of Millers fans who had created a sea of red and white in the North East.
Leo Fortune-West had clearly read the Director’s notes as he gave the visitors a fairytale start.
A run that can only be quantified as wing wizardry from a young Chris Sedgwick saw him break almost 50 yards to the byline before his pinpoint cross picked out Fortune-West, who did the rest.
1-0 and pandemonium in the away end.
However, on 21 minutes, as in all good films, there would be a twist.
Hartlepool’s Ian Clarke squeezed the ball beyond Mike Pollitt at the narrowest of angles at the near post to quieten the red and white masses behind the goal.
However, they would only be silenced temporarily.
With the inspirational words of Ronnie and Breck ringing in their ears, the Millers came out firing and had restored their lead just four minutes after the restart.
The goalscorer? The hero of the story? A passionate, no-nonsense defender and probably the player you’d guess to be in the right place at the right time in the penalty area to apply a poacher’s finish.
Yep, Guy Branston.
His celebration was and will forever be remembered in Rotherham folklore as the ‘Psycho Stomp’.
There was no clever build-up play to this one, just a good old-fashioned Rob Scott long throw before Branno’s well-taken finish in front of an away end in delirium.
The Millers would understandably have a storm to weather from the Play-off bound Pools, but stood up to the task admirably and held on to ensure promotion was secured with a game to spare in the 1999/00 calendar.
Millers | Pollitt; Scott (Beech 60), Wilsterman, Branston, Hurst; Sedgwick, Garner, Thompson, Watson, Warne; Fortune-West.
Unused | Pettinger, Berry, White, Glover.