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READ | Chairman reflects on 2020/21 campaign and the unprecedented challenges that it presented

10 May 2021

Having travelled back from Cardiff and spent time reflecting on the season I was keen to put some of my thoughts into words and share with you.

Obviously the disappointment of how close we were to retaining our Championship status is something that you have to concede. The day was almost surreal and with the goals going in across the games and the pendulum of fortune was swinging back and forth between clubs.  I honestly thought that we were going to go on and win the game and with two minutes to go in regular time, to see the equaliser go in pretty much summed up the rotten luck I think we’ve had to endure on many an occasion this season. 

I have never known a campaign in which we have been on the wrong end of so many things that just haven’t gone our way."

Tony Stewart, Chairman

You can include a number of contributing factors in that, but to name a few, I think we’ve not got the rub of the green with many officiating decisions. People may think that it is sour grapes and if that was just coming from inside the club then maybe you could argue it was, but so many neutral football supporters, TV pundits and others have collectively agreed on many occasions that we’ve been really hard done by.

The two interruptions for Covid-19 and the subsequent postponements, the crazy weather conditions that added to those, which obviously resulted in a fixture schedule of having to play 12 games in 37 days – many of those fixtures which were considered as ‘6 pointers’ - was something that, when you look back, was a huge ask for the players from a physical sense, before you even factor in the mental toughness to undergo that sort of a schedule in any elite sporting environment. 

Nothing can be changed with any of that now and what is done is done. We are now looking forward, not back, and planning for the 2021/2022 campaign."

Tony Stewart, Chairman

We have already had internal discussions on transfer targets for next season and the wheels have been set in motion on that front as you read this. I believe we have the basis of a good side and – despite the effects of the pandemic - the club remains on solid foundations. I can’t deny that it hasn’t been tough financially but we have and always will operate prudently. I will not let this club suffer the woes of the past and get into any type of financial difficulties that have seen many others find themselves in. That will never happen whilst I am the custodian of Rotherham United.

We are ambitious, we do push boundaries and we do have a sterling reputation within the football industry and that is because we have a culture here of integrity, honesty and transparency. We fight for one another and we fight for what is right for this Club, our Town and our people – that incudes everyone associated with Rotherham United, and again, that will always be the case whilst I am Chairman. 

I thank you wholeheartedly for your support this season, it has been a tough one all round."

Tony Stewart, Chairman

I have been privileged to watch games live and I – and the select other club staff who have been fortunate enough to do so – have never taken that for granted. Thank you for bearing with us and supporting us via the iFollow coverage which has given us an income stream that has been invaluable as well as enabling you to watch the games, albeit I understand it is no substitute for being at the AESSEAL New York Stadium in-person or can replace the camaraderie of traveling to away games. 

Commercially we’ve been totally overwhelmed by the generosity, the support, the uncompromising backing, and the general unified approach that we’ve received from our family of partners and sponsors and I am almost lost for words just how we have all come together to ensure that we were able to navigate through this year. We’ve had to adapt, be creative and every step of the way we’ve been assisted and supported by everyone. This special bond underpins the culture of what we share throughout – we are in it and we are in it together, we don’t leave anyone behind and we share the highs, and share the lows. 

Forever Together, Forever Proud is our club mantra and they’re not just words, that is who we are, what we do and how we operate, internally and externally. I think that has very much been in evidence over the course of the pandemic, despite us being physically apart."

Tony Stewart, Chairman

I do hope that next season we are back into some sort of normality and we can see each other again, the signs are optimistic so I hope that continues. As soon as we get some kind of concrete guidance on how that looks we can then release information on Season Tickets and Corporate Hospitality options. I only want us to make these available once we have assurances that we can deliver on and before we ask anyone to part with their hard-earned income, so we’ll be guided by the latest Government advice, via the EFL, before making the final call on those decisions. 

Finally, I must put firmly on record my sincere thanks to Paul Warne, his coaching staff, the Players, the support staff at the Training Ground and the incredibly dedicated staff at the AESSEAL New York Stadium. Without their hard work, expertise and commitment to Rotherham United, what has been a hard year to navigate would have been a hell of a lot more tough. 

We are unified, we are resolute and we are all fully focussed on making sure that we are more than ready for a promotion challenge during the forthcoming 2021/2022 Sky Bet League One campaign. Rest assured, as a Board we are totally committed in every area of this Football Club."

Tony Stewart, Chairman

Recharge your batteries throughout the close season and let’s come back together to create what I am sure will be an almighty ‘New York roar’ in August. 

Again – thanks for everything. 

 

Up the Millers. 

 

Tony Stewart 

Chairman 


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