OPINION: Millers and Steve Evans can benefit Rotherham

THESE days, the lives of people working in professional football very rarely reflect those of supporters.

Gone are the days when players used to travel to and from games on the same bus as the fans and meet them for a drink afterwards. Those at the top of their game earn more in a season than most of us will take home in a lifetime of work.

Whatever we may like to think though, it is not all glamour and the revealing interview with Rotherham United manager Steve Evans this week shows just how much hard work and sacrifice sometimes has to go into the job if you are to reap the rewards.

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The Millers boss may or may not be a typical example of a football league manager and, like him or not, you cannot help but be impressed by his dedication to the Rotherham United cause.

He says part of his ambition when he agreed to join the club was to immerse himself in Rotherham life so that what happens on the field benefits the town as a whole.

His touchline demeanour may not be to everyone’s taste, but it can rightly be argued that it is just an extension of his passion for the club and his attendance at community events, taking part in meals on wheels deliveries and giving away his promotion medal to a deserving fan are all examples of this.

This passion means he only sees his daughters back in Cambridgeshire once a week and he often leaves family holidays for footballing matters.

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Promotion means extra pressure and Steve and his equally dedicated assistant Paul Raynor are keen to progress further. For the cynical who will be quick to comment that the rewards in football are more than the effort that goes into the game can possibly justify, there is a big gap between the divisions, and Steve’s ambition for Rotherham as a whole shows he has put more thought into this project than most managers.

He says: “We want to make the town of Rotherham successful and proud. The town needed a successful football club. Many, many businesses say matchdays have brought them to life. I’m proud to play a part in that.”

Millers mad John Norris, who this week received Steve’s promotion medal after winning our competition to find the most dedicated fan, has been to almost 900 consecutive games and spent thousands of pounds on following the club.

Yes, his world is a different one to Steve’s, but at a community club such as Rotherham United — which Steve is determined it will be — the worlds of the fans, players and manager do come together.

Hopefully, if this spirit of togetherness continues, the club and the town as a whole will grow, helping to shape a more prosperous future for Rotherham and its people.