Richard Wood's Rotherham United career comes to an end

No new deal for the skipper.
The last game ... Richard Wood at Wigan yesterday. Picture by Jim BrailsfordThe last game ... Richard Wood at Wigan yesterday. Picture by Jim Brailsford
The last game ... Richard Wood at Wigan yesterday. Picture by Jim Brailsford

CLUB legend Richard Wood is leaving Rotherham United after nine years at AESSEAL New York Stadium.

Manager Matt Taylor confirmed the parting of the ways after the veteran centre-half had skippered the side for one final time in yesterday's last-day Championship clash at Wigan Athletic.

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Wood, aged 37, won't be offered a new contract and will look to continue his 20-year playing career elsewhere next season.

He made 256 appearances for the Millers, winning three League One promotions and helping them to stay in the second tier on three occasions.

"People talk about statues and stands. The club have to do something to honour him," Taylor said. "I am sure he will come back in some capacity."

Wood had fallen out of favour under Rotherham's new boss around the turn of the year but had returned to the team for the last six matches to lead the survival campaign that saw them finish in 19th spot, six points clear of the drop zone.

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There were emotional scenes after the 0-0 draw at the DW Stadium as the club's longest-serving player stood in front of more than 4,300 Millers fans to say farewell.

"He has come back into the team towards the back end of the season and been part of our success," Taylor said. "But in terms of his position we will be looking elsewhere in that area for next year.

"Now is the time to thank him. He has had such adulation and recognition all week and I hope he keeps getting it."

Wood had received a similar reception from supporters a week ago at New York when the Millers sealed their second-tier safety by beating Middlesbrough.

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He asked to be spared media duties after the Wigan match to he could compose himself and speak publicly at a later date.

The defender is taking his coaching badges and is set to receive his UEFA B licence in the summer but is determined to extend his time on the pitch by at least one more season.

He will always be remembered in Rotherham circles for his two-goal display at Wembley in the 2018 League One Play-0ff Final when the Millers beat Shrewsbury Town 2-1.

"The conversation with Woody have been pretty clear in that he wants to keep playing, and he has showed he can still do that," said Taylor, a centre-half himself before he turned to management.

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"While you can still play, like all the players getting to a certain age, you should keep doing so for as long as you possibly can. Nothing ever prepares you for stopping playing.

"I have been in exactly the same situation. We wish Woody all the best at whatever club he goes to next."