Millers fan Kevin pays tribute to dad Dave who has died after suffering injuries

A KEEN Millers fan has paid tribute to his “thoughtful, generous and terrific” dad, who died 15 months after a suffering serious injury.

Kevin Johnson said he was heartbroken when his 74-year-old father Dave Johnson, also a Rotherham United diehard, died after a long period of ill health following a fall from height in 2021.

Mr Johnson, from Swinton, had spells in intensive care at Barnsley Hospital and Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital before his death on Sunday after developing pneumonia and kidney failure.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Kevin said he was thankful for the memories he had made with him and the times they had spent together as lifelong Rotherham United fans.

“Dad’s injuries really changed his life because it stopped him from having the social life he loved, and he found it very difficult.

“I think we as a family have taken some comfort knowing he is now at peace and free from any discomfort.

“Dad was a fighter, though — he battled his injuries bravely with the humour he always showed to his family and friends.

“I’m absolutely devastated and I will miss him.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Kevin said he remembered his dad’s passion for sport and his enthusiasm to do what he could to pass on that enthusiasm.

“Dad first started following the Millers in the 1950s and 1960s and always joked about how they were cheated by a bad refereeing decision against Chelsea,” Mr Johnson added.

“He really fostered my love for football and all things Rotherham United and watched them home and away for many years as a devoted supporter.

“One of things dad always did was show his commitment no matter the cost.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I was training and playing for Huddersfield Town’s football team as a kid and he was there to take me three times a week.

“That’s just who he was and what he did in life — he put people first.

“I’ll be forever grateful to him for being a great dad and family man.”

Kevin said he had been moved by the messages he received on social media about his dad’s passing from Millers past and present, which number more than 1,500.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I’ve been overwhelmed by everyone’s kind and generous thoughts about how much they will miss dad,” he added.

“Former Rotherham United managers Paul Warne and Ronnie Moore, along with club captain Richard Wood and (club legend) John Breckin have both messaged to offer their condolences.

“They even came to hospital to see my dad, which was brilliant.

“Peter Reid (ex-England star and Sunderland manager) got in touch about him, too.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“As a family, we’ve been truly blown away and dad would have been thrilled to see how he was loved.

“Rotherham United as a club have been tremendous.

“I remember when they helped organise my dad to watch the 2-1 win over Sunderland in February.

“Every single person treated him like royalty and made a fuss of him — especially Ronnie Moore — and he loved it.”

Had he lived, Mr Johnson would have celebrated 50 years of marriage to his wife Eileen in June.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He is survived by his sons Kevin and Darren and his four grandchildren Charlotte, Beth, Joe and Shannon.  

A tribute with a minute’s applause was held in the 74th minute of Rotherham United’s game against Burnley on Tuesday as a mark of respect.