Rotherham United chairman Tony Stewart responds to 'stick' from supporters

Tony Stewart.Tony Stewart.
Tony Stewart.
​CHAIRMAN Tony Stewart has shrugged off social-media criticism from Rotherham United fans, saying he can handle any abuse that comes his way.

​The owner saved the Millers from administration and has generally enjoyed the support of the vast majority of followers but some used X and Facebook late last year to air their grievances when the search for a new boss following the sacking of Matt Taylor stretched to a month.

They complained that a successor hadn't been lined up before the manager's departure and were unhappy that the club's leader had spent time abroad during the hunt.

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“Do I take some stick? Yeah,” said Stewart who accumulated his fortune and developed a thick skin while expanding his company, ASD Lighting. “I'm fine, I have no problem with it.

“I've been in business for 50 years. Let them throw their stick, it doesn't worry me.”

The chairman is in his 16th year at the helm and has no regrets about stepping in when the club's future was in peril.

Since then, he has built AESSEAL New York Stadium, overseen four promotions and four trips to Wembley and watched the Millers compete at Championship level for seven of the last ten seasons.

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Rotherham United is the biggest investment I make in my life,” he said. “Would I do it again? Yes, I would.

“I've always been passionate. I'm always upset when we lose. But I'm devastated when we lose and we don't play the way I think we should.

“Football is entertainment. I've never moved away from that. If I'm not entertained, I'm not happy with football. I want to win every game and I want to be entertained every game.

“We might stutter. We have done in my reign. But we have gone up after we've gone down.”

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Stewart says he added £2 million to this year's playing budget in a bid to emulate last term's second-tier survival feat and is ready to make an even bigger financial injection down the line if the circumstances are right.

“The reason why the extra funding went in is that I felt we had to be more competitive,” he said. “I've always said that once I get that confidence in the Championship more investment will go in. But you have to 'feel' it, it has to be shown.”

Things haven't gone to plan and Rotherham, despite becoming harder to beat under Taylor's successor, Leam Richardson, have occupied bottom spot in the table for the last two months.

“This season we're very disappointed given the fact that it's had its extra money and we've had to change the manager,” Stewart said.