RUFC - 750 Up and Still Counting!
Rotherham United fan and Rotherham Vital Stats man, Zipadeedoodah notched up his seven hundred and fiftieth consecutive competitive Rotherham United game last night at Don Valley.
Zip has been following the Millers, home - at Millmoor and Don Valley - and away since 1988 and has seen quite a few ups and downs in that time - not bad for a 'dingle' really! But, although of course the Millers are his first love, we are also entertained by his 'Views from the Stands` as, during the summer and early part of the season, he goes around the country watching other teams, usually non-league, play. His holidays away from work are actually focussed on the two weeks of pre-season friendlies following the Millers to the likes of Dinnington Town, Alfreton and, once, the dizzy heights of the Isle of Man (which, I understand, put him off flying for life!)
We asked Zip some questions about his time following the Millers
Why do you support Rotherham
Born in Barnsley and having an older brother supporting Barnsley, it was only natural that I would end up following my home town team.
However my early years were spent going to all different teams games all over the country with my older brother.
After branching out on my own, and deciding to support one specific club, most of my teenage years were spent watching my home town team, but after a series of personal events in the space of a few months during 1985 I stopped going, the main reason being I lost my love for the team and I found myself going to games just for the sake of it and with an empty heart.
After 3 years in the football wilderness where I only took in about 20 local games, mostly Rotherham, a girlfriend who had never been to a football match in her life asked me to take her to one to see what the experience was like.
I'd always had a soft spot for the Millers, and in October 1988 I took her to Millmoor for the game against Exeter.
We lost 1-0 that day, but a loving relationship between me and the club kicked in from that day till this.
My friends at Rotherham have known about my 5 year Barnsley association since day one, and I still get a load of friendly stick about it, especially when we play them, but I can't change what happened in the past, and I`m big enough and ugly enough to laugh it all off, but I can guarantee that my love affair with the Millers will carry on till I get carried off in a wooden overcoat.
I went from 1990 to 1994 without missing a game home or away, but then missed 11 (all away) in the space of 2 years, 9 for financial reasons, 1 because they wouldn't let me in at Blackpool because we'd been there for the weekend and I had a drunken stagger on, and the other because we broke down going to Reading.
My latest run started in April 1996 and I`ve not missed a competitive game home or away since.
My home game run goes back to October 1989.
I'm very proud of my run, but have always said, it doesn't make me any bigger a fan than someone who only goes a few times a season....it's just that my circumstances allow me to go week in week out.
What was the first game you saw Rotherham play in
September 21st 1974
Rotherham United 1 Darlington 1
Alan Crawford scored for the Millers.
I went with a Millers fan friend from school.
What's your favourite ever Millers game
Without a doubt, Wembley 96.
The whole package, going down to stay in Watford for the weekend, taking in Watford 5 Port Vale 2 on the Saturday.
Having a very drunken, but fun night in Watford on the night before our game.
Everything about the actual day, standing outside the Torch pub singing and watching all the Red and white filled buses going past, the game and being in tears at the end when 'We are the champions' was played as we paraded the trophy round the old ground.
Finally coming back up to the Millmoor hotel and the players all turning up and having photos taken with them and with Matt the Cat holding the shield itself, glory day, glory night.
Who is your favourite every Millers player (I think I know that one!)
How did you guess Caz.
Got to be Alan Lee, had a rough start, failing to score in his first 7 games, but you could tell that the class was there and after netting his first he never stopped and the promotion winning goal v Brentford was one that I never tire of watching again and again.
The whole 'Roy of the Rovers' style of the 90th minute winning goal to take us up will live with me forever.
I met Sir Alan 3 or 4 times, but the last time at the Isle of Man football festival in 2003, I had a photo taken with him but sadly just a month later he was on his way to Cardiff....hope it wasn't something I said...ha ha
Who is your 'Millers player of the moment'
Ryan Cresswell....Miller through and through, one of the few that can kiss the badge and it really means something.
Excellent commanding defender and captain, chips in with a few goals as well and hopefully a Miller for some time to come.
What is your biggest disappointment being a Millers supporter
Obviously any relegations, the deeply worrying times during our financial crisis and basically losing ANY game, whether it be in the league or cup.
Have you any pre-match rituals
For a Saturday home game I`m very much a creature of habit.
Up at 8, bookies at 10 to give some more money away, bus to Rotherham at 10.15, meet up with mates in Rhino's, lift or a taxi through to Don Valley at 11.30, into Faras for a few diet cokes and a laugh with all the others, fill the best juke box in the world up with loads of 70's glam rock tracks.
Over to ground at 2.30, buy my 50/50 and then for my Pukka Pie (usually steak and kidney).
Settle down and wait to see us win.....hopefully.
Best ever pie at a football match
You can't beat a Pukka when it's on top form, but one massive Steak pie I had at Gillingham a few years back really had me slavering....it was the size of 3 Pukka's, melt in the mouth pastry, and dark juicy pieces of meat inside.
I remember waving it under the nose of 1884 who was dieting at the time as he munched on his fruit, and he came very close to shoving it back in my face custard pie style.....ha ha
Best and worst grounds you have visited
As you know I love close to the action open terraces behind the goal, so I really love places like York, Accrington etc.
But for style and comfort it has to be a toss up between Bolton's Reebok, the MK Dons stadium (best seats ever) or the new Wembley which impressed me.
Worst ground to travel to
I absolutely hate going to Gillingham, a seemingly never ending journey, the view not too clever on the left hand side of goal, plus we've not won there in years....last time was v Brighton when they played there in the mid 90's.
Finish the sentence 'If it wasn't for Rotherham United...'
I would be richer, but deeply unhappier, family means everything to me, but football and Rotherham United is my second big love in life.
Your 750th game - so what did you think about it?
I prefer to call it my 749th part 2, cos the game was just a massive hangover from Saturday.
All the action condensed into a 5 minute slot towards the end.
I actually felt sorry for the Macclesfield keeper when he tipped Alfie's long range effort over the bar, cos he dropped the Sudoku puzzle that he'd been doing for the first 70 minutes.
The only positive I could find from tonight's game was that we kept our nerve after conceding and fought back level more or less straight away.
A lot to sort out on the training field the rest of the week, and here's to game 751 being a lot more entertaining....with the right result of course.
Thanks for that Zip! All at Vital Rotherham send our Congratulations on reaching this milestone and here`s to the next 750!