Fighting fans frightened my son: Richard Wood's Rotherham United column

By Paul Davis | 13/09/2019

Fighting fans frightened my son: Richard Wood's Rotherham United column
Richard Wood

ROTHERHAM fans fighting with each other? I couldn't believe it.

My heart sank when I was told what had gone on in the away end during the derby at Doncaster Rovers last weekend.

My eldest son and his mum were in the crowd close to where the trouble flared.

It's not good at all. You don't want to hear about supporters doing that. You want everyone to get along and everyone to back the team.

No-one wants to see violence, especially not among the club's own followers.

My boy, Jenson, said he felt scared as he saw what was going on. It's not a nice thing.

One of the things I love about this club is that the families of the players and staff feel comfortable sitting among fans at games.

I want that to carry on. I don't want to stop my son coming to support the team.

He loves coming to watch. He loves the away days. He loves all the singing and the chanting. He sits and watches it and buzzes off it really.

As soon as there's violence or things turn nasty, however, it's not a place for children to be.

Jenson is 11. I'm a bit nervous about letting him go to away games now.

That isn't right. I've been with the Millers long enough now to know that the vast majority of supporters are great people.

I just hope the actions of a few don't tarnish the reputation of many.

 

I KNOW that Bolton Wanderers will be coming to AESSEAL New York Stadium on a wave of emotion on Saturday for their first League One game since their future was secured.

It's brilliant to see them survive and not go the way of Bury.

However, all that emotion they'll bring doesn't bother me one bit. It's a game of football. You prepare for it, you get yourself right up for it, you do everything in your power to try to win. There's nothing else to it for me.

It should be a good match and a good occasion seeing as it's the first time this season they've been able to field a team of senior professionals

They've signed some decent players, to be fair. That makes the game better, as far as I'm concerned.

I know they were losing by five goals with a team of kids earlier in the season before the takeover but I'm okay with them having a stronger side now.

I don't think it affects the integrity of League One that they've gone out and signed loads of players. They were taken over while the transfer window was still open so why shouldn't they sign people?

Sometimes you get lucky with the timing of when you play teams and sometimes you don't.

For example, we might face a team who are on a really bad run and beat them. I wouldn't expect anyone to turn round and say that wasn't fair and that we should have waited until they were back in form.

Equally, if a team is on a ten-match unbeaten run then that's not a good time to be playing them. It's just how it falls.

I'm totally at ease with the Bolton situation.

 

THE lads can be fined for all kinds of things at the training ground. Even too many people in the physio room costs those who're in there when they shouldn't be.

Being late is the big one, though. The gaffer won't stand for that.

That's the main reason why the fines system was brought in. You just can't be late. It's a massive issue if anyone is.

All of the Rotherham players' CVs when they retire from football will mention how punctual they are. It's a quality you have to have here.

Most of the other fines are quite light-hearted but anyone being late is a major thing.

We can go a few days without anyone being fined but after that, if the money is drying up, we'll try to impose one on somebody for something!

The physios have their own fines system in their room and in the gym and the players regularly fall foul of that.

I'm not immune. I ran into the gym with my flip-flops on the other day without thinking and have had to cough up.

 

WATCH Jake Hastie go once he gets totally up to speed!

Our new winger was brilliant in the first half at Doncaster and that was just a sign of things to come.

It was his first game. As he becomes match-fit, he'll be a joy to watch. I enjoyed watching him playing in front of me last Saturday.

As he was attacking, I was thinking: 'Yeah, go on, keep going at them.' He blew up in the second half because it was his first game for a while.

Its difficult when you join a new club and are thrown in virtually straight away. In training, the lads and the coaching staff all try to help show a new boy how we play.

Different clubs have different ways of playing. For example, when they're defending do they show players the inside or the outside? We like to keep players on the outside and not let them come through the middle. He'll pick up little bits like that.

We just need to get him on the ball and let him do his thing. His defensive positions and recoveries, he'll learn those as time goes on.

He's a really sound lad, although I've got a few fines off him already. As captain, I'm responsible for policing our fines system.

The first thing I say to new players is: 'Here, have a look at the fines list.' Walking on the badge on the dressing-room floor at the training ground is a big no-no.

I've told Jake about it but he doesn't seem to have grasped it yet. He's walked across it a couple of times.

I either see it myself or people tell me. That's the culture here. No-one is allowed to get away with transgressing!

 

THE defeat at Doncaster was a tough one to take.

We did very well for an hour and deserved to be in front. We should have led by more than one goal. That's what happens when you're leading only 1-0 — teams are going to come back at you at some point.

In every game the opposing team have some sort of spell. Doncaster had a good half-hour. To concede near the end for the third match on the trot is a bitter pill to swallow.

It's something that needs addressing. We're doing that.


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