Matt Taylor knows what we need. Does he give us what we want? David Rawson's Rotherham United fan column

Rotherham United boss Matt Taylor. Picture: Jim BrailsfordRotherham United boss Matt Taylor. Picture: Jim Brailsford
Rotherham United boss Matt Taylor. Picture: Jim Brailsford
ACCORDING to the song, not only have we got super Matty Taylor, but also he knows exactly what we need.

A year in, I’d say that’s an accurate analysis. But it leaves out something important. A more open question. And one that’s harder to answer.

Part of football’s magic is that everyone shares the same experience, but in an uniquely individual way.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Watching a team take to the field at New York Stadium retains a dreamlike quality if you grew up standing on the Tivoli End, watching teams shift between the third and fourth divisions every few years. But for more and more of the people there, it’s what’s always been. Second-tier football? It’s what we should expect.

Same place, same experience. Different takes.

That’s why it’s easier to talk about needs over wants. What we need is the same, whatever lens we look through.

We need better players, the kind that cost bigger transfer fees and higher wages.

We need to play a more measured game, picking when to press and when to sit off, keeping the ball sometimes for the sake of keeping it, being smarter about our approach to goal.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It’s hard to argue Taylor isn’t trying to deliver that. It’s hard to argue there’s a different, better alternative. It’s hard to argue that this isn’t the best set of players we’ve ever had.

But it’s hard to say, for certain, that it’s what we want. Because - oddly for a club with limited resources relative to its competitors - we seem to want something more.

We want a sense of story, a sense that we’re doing it our way, in defiance of the odds. We want a sense that the team is bound to the club in the same way that we are. We want to be the underdogs, but we want to be confident we’ll come out on top. We want Paul Warne with more calculating steeliness. We want Taylor with less calm, analytical control.

We want the impossible, perhaps. But we don’t know it’s impossible. So we keep a distance between us and our manager, to no-one’s benefit.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Just when Warne’s strived-for combination of heart, guts and integrity showed signs of a breakthrough, he left.

Did Taylor keep us up or did he cost us our one shot at the play-offs? Did he force us to play as this league demands or break what was magical about the team?

That’s the question, a year in. Taylor is after giving us what we need. We’re still not quite sure if it’s what we want.