Millmoor is spruced up and ready for action again

Ronnie Moore, Ken Booth jnr, Stuart Bailey and Carl Luckock on the restored hallowed turf at MillmoorRonnie Moore, Ken Booth jnr, Stuart Bailey and Carl Luckock on the restored hallowed turf at Millmoor
Ronnie Moore, Ken Booth jnr, Stuart Bailey and Carl Luckock on the restored hallowed turf at Millmoor
​APPROACHING 20 years since professional footballers last kicked a ball there, some good things are happening at Rotherham United’s old home.

Millmoor, the “ghost ground” that used to rock the roar of thousands of people, is coming alive again.

Changing rooms have been kitted out, rubbish and debris gathered up and cleared out of the way and the pitch has undergone a transformation that has got it looking as good as it was in its prime, ready for use by local teams.

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The changes have been driven and financed by Ken Booth jnr, son or ex-Millers chairman Ken.

TEAM TALK: new dressing roomsTEAM TALK: new dressing rooms
TEAM TALK: new dressing rooms

"The place was in a sad state,” said Ken.

"We’ had kids breaking in, trying to rip seats out, climbing the floodlight pylon, kicking a ball about.

"It was time for something to be done.”

Ken, now 78, has kick-started the improvements out of his own pocket.

GLORIOUS: revamped pitch at Millmoor. Pictures by Kerrie BeddowsGLORIOUS: revamped pitch at Millmoor. Pictures by Kerrie Beddows
GLORIOUS: revamped pitch at Millmoor. Pictures by Kerrie Beddows

"We’ve eradicated all the weeds and the rubbish that had built up over nearly 20 years,” he said.

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"We’ve had a company in to drill into the pitch and aerate it. It’s had countless tonnes of grass seed and the water sprinkler system has been refurbished.

"The pitch even has a dedicated groundsman now.”

The aim is to bring Millmoor back into regular use.

Teams were offered its use for free last season to get things up and running and now it will be available for hire.

Four junior teams, plus a ladies team, are already set to play there next season and more are welcome.

"We are hoping it will be in use Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings and for local cup finals,” said Ken.

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"We keep doing little bits to it so when it comes to the start of the season the pitch and what surrounds it will be even better.”

More than a century old, Millmoor has been superseded by the modern, impressive AESSEAL New York Stadium less than a mile away.

Despite that, it is still a special place for today’s kids.

"Our players thought they were playing at Wembley when they played on here last season. They couldn’t sleep for three or four days,” says Stuart Bailey, a coach at Wickersley Youth..

"Arriving at a proper football ground, going into the dressing rooms, it’s a proper matchday experience for them.

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"We reversed a few fixtures last season to play here because other grounds were out of use due to the weather and the kids thought it was fantastic.

"Wombwell played here and they loved it. They couldn’t thank us enough.

“The same with my lads, even the U7s. Playing at Millmoor is something they will talk about it for years.”

Stuart works for CF Booth, the scrap metal firm whose presence looms large over Millmoor.

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He has played a part in getting the old ground reverberating to the sound of human voices again.

“Stuart opened the door and Ken has opened it wider,” says Carl Luckock, a long-time friend of the Booth family and a former Rotherham United director.

"I came in a few months ago and the dugouts were smashed and the pitch was horrendous.

"What a difference now.

"There has been a huge investment already and it’s all down to Ken.”

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The old Derek Dalton clock, attached the Railway End, has gone away for refurbishment and will be re-mounted.

“With some more tidying of the surrounds and painting here, there and everywhere, it will be pristine in time for the new season,” added Ken.

"We want to give this place a new lease of life.”

Any team interested in hiring Millmoor for a game or using it on a regular basis is welcome to contact Stuart Bailey vie email at [email protected]

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