Rotherham United chairman Tony Stewart backs Leam Richardson for next season

LEAM Richardson is the man to lead a Rotherham United revival in League One next season despite their troubles in the Championship during this campaign, chairman Tony Stewart has declared.

The former Wigan Athletic manager took the hot-seat in December when the Millers were already eight points adrift of safety and that gap has since been more than doubled by a run of eight straight defeats.

But Stewart says that the 44-year-old isn't at fault for the present plight at AESSEAL New York Stadium and was appointed with a 2024/25 promotion push in mind after the reign of previous manager Matt Taylor had turned sour and left the club in the drop zone.

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Speaking to the Advertiser hours before Tuesday night's 5-0 loss at Coventry City, Stewart said: “I want to give Leam what he wants so he can put his imprint on Rotherham United.

Rotherham United owner Tony StewartRotherham United owner Tony Stewart
Rotherham United owner Tony Stewart

“He's got a situation that he's inherited and the fact is, I don't put any pressure or blame on him. If what he has inherited is wrong, we need to put the wrong right. Discussions have already begun about the preparations for next season.”

Richardson has a good pedigree in coaching and management from spells with Accrington Stanley, Chesterfield, Portsmouth and Wigan and led the Latics to the League One title in 2022 when they pipped Rotherham to top spot.

Stewart believes some poor signings last summer are part of the reason behind the Millers' impending relegation and wants his new head coach and director of football Rob Scott to work closely together on recruitment as part of a two-year plan to reverse the club's fortunes.

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“We'll have to go through it with a fine-tooth comb because I do feel we have failed with regard to what's brought about where we are this season,” he said. “It's about the preparation, the type of people we get, the style of play we adopt.

Richardson, who takes his injury-hit squad to Norwich City on Saturday, has spoken of the need for a ‘culture shift’.

Stewart said: “There is a change in strategy going in that will come in next season with regards to how we move on a two-year plan and not just try to make it right for that one season.

“I think Leam has got a really down-to-earth attitude. I find it easier to discuss things with him.

“If we've got to feel the pain, we have to understand what has caused it and do something. We're now doing what we can this season but also planning for the season's end.”