What's good about Jordan Hugill ... my best wins and my worst losses ... my favourite year in football and my worst ... Rotherham United club captain Richard Wood writes for the Advertiser

As usual, the skipper tackles a variety of topics in his weekly column.

IT never hurts a striker to score a goal!

Our January signing, Jordan Hugill, will say he felt no weight on his shoulders after not opening his account for us in his first six games but he’ll be delighted to have hit the target twice in our win over Queens Park Rangers last weekend.

Every centre-forward benefits from putting the ball in the back of the net, and once they score their first goal for a new club the shackles are off. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him bang in a couple more in his next few matches.

The team played well against QPR and Jordan, in particular, was excellent. He deserved his double. He loves to make his presence felt physically and is very difficult to play against.

I thought another new boy, Tariqe Fosu, was very, very good as well. He can play, can’t he? He’s just so nice to watch.

QPR had a few chances but we were the better side and it was a massive three points for us. We’re in a good place now and everything is going in the right direction. If we carry on as we are we have more than enough about us to stay in the Championship.

There are three big games to come this month and we need points from those to take into the international break.


LIVERPOOL 7 Manchester United 0 ... like everyone else, I didn’t see that scoreline coming!

I watched the match on TV and it was just a mad, mad game. Manchester United fell apart in the second half. Some of their defending ... wow.

I was talking to my boys about it as the Liverpool goals were flying in. It was mistake after mistake from Man United in the build-up to them.

They’ve been very good for a few months but any team can have a bad afternoon where everything goes wrong. If every player is having an off day at the same time then you’re in trouble. I’ve been on the wrong end of a few of those occasions in my time.

The biggest win I’ve ever played in was a 7-2 victory when I scored on my full debut for Sheffield Wednesday at Burnley back in 2003.

I’ve gone all those years since not being able to match it. 650-plus games with my best one already behind me!

My best wins in a Rotherham shirt both came in September 2017 when we beat Walsall and then Oldham Athletic 5-1 in successive home games.

I also played in the 5-0 triumph over Manchester City’s kids in the Papa Johns Trophy in 2021 but I don’t really count that.

Sadly, I’ve suffered a few heavy defeats. I was in the Wednesday side that lost 6-0 at Reading in 2008. We travelled down on the day of the match, got stuck in traffic and had to go through all our pre-match stuff at a service station.

That was my worst day in football. We were 3-0 down within half an hour.

There was a 6-1 League Cup defeat at Arsenal in 2012 when I was with Coventry City. Theo Walcott scored twice and Olivier Giroud and Andrei Arshavin also got goals that night. The Gunners fielded a strong side!

I was in the Millers squad when we lost 7-0 at Manchester City in the FA Cup in January 2019 but I didn’t come on until the 89th minute.

In the same season, we were beaten 6-1 at Derby County when we had a lot of injuries. I scored our goal with a decent header but as we were already 4-0 behind I didn’t bother celebrating.

When you lose badly as a pro, you have to force yourself to move on quickly. You have to treat it as freak result, a one-off.

Having said that, you still feel absolutely horrible. The aftermath in the dressing room is awful and you know your entire weekend is ruined.


THIS is my 21st year as a pro and one season stands out for me above all others.

It was our 2017/18 campaign that ended in Rotherham winning League One promotion in the play-off final at Wembley.

Someone scored twice for us that day. Can’t remember his name.

From just before Christmas in that season, the atmosphere around the squad was brilliant. We had a good group and all the lads got on really well.

It was a joy to come into training every day and you could just sense that something good was happening. Momentum kept on building and we had a 14-match unbeaten run that included 12 wins at one stage.

The worst year? That’s an easy one: 2016/17 when neither Alan Stubbs or Kenny Jackett lasted too long and Paul Warne ended up in the hot-seat.

The damage had already been done by the time he took charge and there was just no hope for us even though we still had the majority of the season still to play.

Relegation was a certainty by November.


WHO’S going up with Burnley from the Championship? Good question.

It’s turning into a great battle for the runners-up spot between Sheffield United and Middlesbrough. The Blades have had a bit of blip and Boro are flying as they try to catch them.

In those situations, I’ve always preferred being the hunter rather than the hunted. You get on a roll and all the pressure is on the team you’re chasing.

The Blades are still in a great position but the gap has come right down. If Paul Heckingbottom’s side keep their composure, they’ll finish second. If they panic, it’s all to play for.

As for the Premier League, I’m going for Arsenal to win the title after the weekend they’ve just had. They scored a 97th-minute winner at home to Bournemouth after being 2-0 down and that’s the kind of thing that happens to teams who are destined for silverware.

Manchester United used to do it all the time when they were in their prime.

The Gunners still have to go to second-placed Manchester City, which will obviously be a huge game, but they’ve been top for a long time now and I’m tipping them to stay there.