Everyone at Rotherham United has been deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our former defender Neil Hague, aged 72.
Local lad Neil will be remembered for many contributions to the tapestry of Rotherham United’s history but perhaps most notably, for his last act as a Millers player, which marked a remarkable finale in which he scored the last minute winner against the club who were to sign him a couple of days later.
Versatility and adaptability were key components behind what made his time at Millmoor so successful.
Essentially a defender, he figured a lot in midfield but was later switched to play at centre forward.
His final appearance was as a substitute when he went on at left back, another position he had played previously, at home to Plymouth Argyle in November 1971.
Losing 3-2, Neil set up the equaliser and then got a dramatic last minute winner for 4-3.
A couple of days later, he joined Plymouth who paid £13,000 for him, a decent sum back then but regarded as ‘a bargain’ by the Plymouth manager Ellis Stuttard.
Neil, who was 72, came from Thurcroft, went to Thurcroft Secondary Modern and played for Rotherham Boys (U15).
He made a dramatic Millers debut a week before his 18th birthday when new manager Tommy Docherty - in his first game in charge in December 1967 - plucked him from nowhere to start at Millwall in the old (second tier) Division Two. And with a specific job to do.
He gave Neil a man-marking role on Millwall’s skilful, little midfield creator Eamonn Dunphy and told him to follow Dunphy everywhere as closely as possible. It contributed towards an unlikely 0-0 draw for the second bottom Millers. Later that season, Neil won two England Youth international caps - the first in centre defence and the second at left back - and two of his teammates were Peter Shilton and Tony Currie.
Docherty subsequently played him at left back. His first game in (left-side) central defence was partnering Dave Watson and he made several appearances in the Millers’ rearguard but later had a long stint in midfield before another switch saw him go up front in the No 9 shirt.
Neil made 170 appearances in all for Rotherham with 23 goals.
He played over 100 times for Plymouth - where he still lived - before later appearing for Bournemouth, Huddersfield and Darlington where he finished his career in 1979 having made close to 500 appearances in all in his 12 year career.
Everyone at Rotherham United would like to extend their heartfelt condolences to Neil's family and friends at this incredibly difficult time.
Rest in Peace.