'I know my Rotherham United reputation is going to be tainted' ... Michael Smith talks to the Advertiser about leaving the Millers for Sheffield Wednesday

'I know my Rotherham United reputation is going to be tainted' ... Michael Smith talks to the Advertiser about leaving the Millers for Sheffield Wednesday

By Paul Davis | 26/06/2022

'I know my Rotherham United reputation is going to be tainted' ... Michael Smith talks to the Advertiser about leaving the Millers for Sheffield Wednesday
Michael Smith

MICHAEL Smith has revealed his sorrow after going from legend to Judas in the eyes of Rotherham United fans by rejecting the offer of a new deal and joining derby rivals Sheffield Wednesday.

Following more than four seasons of sterling service and three League One promotions, the striker would have departed AESSEAL New York Stadium as a Millers great had he moved to any club other than the Owls.

The 30-year-old accepts many supporters are unlikely to forgive him any time soon for what they view as an act of betrayal.

"I'm a smart enough lad to know that my Rotherham reputation built up over four and a half years is going to be tainted now," he told the Advertiser in his first interview since his switch to S6 along with Millers centre-half Michael Ihiekwe was announced four days ago.

"I made the decision and I'm big enough to take everything that comes with it. I've given my all for the club. It's really sad that it's ended this way.

"Football is completely ruled by emotion and I 'get' the response to what I've done. Hopefully, once the dust has settled a bit, people might understand. They might not. That's just part and parcel of it."

Rotherham, gearing up for life back in the Championship next season, were ready to smash their previous wage structure in a bid to keep their out-of-contract centre-forward who scored 25 goals last term.

But, after nearly two months of negotiations, Smith, who has a young child and another on the way with partner Hannah, decided to accept even better terms to remain in League One with Wednesday in what could be his last major deal before he hangs up his boots.

The Geordie says he will always appreciate the backing he received from Millers followers in more than 200 matches since his free transfer from Bury back in January 2018.

"From the bottom of my heart, I've loved every minute of my time with Rotherham," he said. "This is my opportunity to say 'thank you' to the fans for all the support they've given me.

"It's meant the world to me; not only to me but to my family as well. I can't speak highly enough of what the club have done for me and my career.

"I'd never say a bad word against Rotherham. The fans have been nothing but top-class with me. They've been lovely to my missus and little one as well."

The Millers made three signings in three days in the wake of Smith's move to Hillsborough on a three-year contract, bringing in wing-back Peter Kioso, frontman Tom Eaves and centre-half Jamie McCart.