Millmoor - Happy Birthday
Millmoor is one hundred years old today!
Rotherham County had played at Red House, which was on Wortley Road, a stones throw from the current ground but it was deemed by the Football Association not suitable for FA Cup games.
The famous (or is that infamous) slope at Millmoor was evident even in 1907 when officials and helpers dug deep to level the ground with tonnes of ashes brought from nearby factories. Story has it that two stands were brought from the Red House ground and made into one to make somewhere for the fans to stand. The ground was leased from the Midlands Railway Company and was said to hold 15,000 people.
After moving to the ground County won the Midland League for four years on the trot and after the season was stopped due to the war, in 1919 were elected to the Second Division of the Football League.
The first actual game at Millmoor (on 2 September 1907) was between Rotherham County and Leeds City Reserves - County won 3-2. And the first name to go into the history books as scorer was Algernon Pynegar.
The first League game at the ground was a win for County over Nottingham Forest, 2-0. And at the end of their first season as a league team they struggled to finish seventeenth out of twenty-two.
Rotherham Town, the other team in the town, were also suffering with financial problems and in March 1925 it was decided that Town would be wound up and a new club be amalgamated from both them and County. So, on 27 May 1925, Rotherham United were born. Though the fans today wouldn`t have recognised the team as they played in black and gold shirts and white shorts.
The first season saw United finish in 14th place with a lack of finances being a major problem even then. 1928 saw a 'state-of-the-art` stand erected on Millmoor Lane and not long after the main stand was built. To try and give the club a boost, greyhound racing was introduced at Millmoor in 1931, only, for a year later, to be ended by the Football League.
During the war, when guest players had to play for local football teams, saw Rotherham win the Third Division Cup and the Division Three (East) League. This set a bit of a precedence and, after normal playing resumed, the club finished runner-up for three seasons in succession and in 1950/51 they won the Championship. For the next few seasons United showed they could cope with the higher division and narrowly missed out on promotion to the then top Division.
The next big game that came to Millmoor was when Rotherham appeared in the final of the first ever League Cup in 1960/61, losing to Aston Villa in a two-legged game.
Ups and downs followed for United with not much being done to the ground, although, in the early 80`s, an unassuming little stand was erected on Millmoor Lane.
Three years ago, safety standards at football grounds changed, and regulations meant that Millmoor had to come screaming and kicking into the modern day world, by being made all seater. Unfortunately, that`s where it stopped. The twenty-first century see`s Millmoor being called 'quaint` and 'antiquated`. Looking from the Tivoli you can see cranes peeping over the away Railway end from the nearby scrap yard, you can see the portakabins being used as changing rooms and you can see half of the main stand, while the other half remains unbuilt. Millmoor is the subject of a court case at the moment between club and owners. We are a club still with financial worries. We are a club who have seen the grounds capacity lowered over the last few years. We are a club in the depths of the football league.
But, at the moment, we are a club of fighters. And, don`t ever forget that.