Red smoke, singalongs and selfies: Rotherham United's sunshine celebration with fans outside the Town Hall

Red smoke, singalongs and selfies: Rotherham United's sunshine celebration with fans outside the Town Hall

By Chris Brayford | 05/05/2022

Red smoke, singalongs and selfies: Rotherham United's sunshine celebration with fans outside the Town Hall


IT was a day of wild euphoria across the town as the Millers received a warm homecoming from fans after securing promotion to the Championship and winning the EFL trophy.

The Millers teamed up with the council to host an open-tour bus parade through the town, before a civic reception at Rotherham Town Hall.

And fans turned out in great number to begin the promotion party with an atmosphere that was electric.

They started to congregate outside the New York Stadium around 4pm with an open-tour bus waiting for the players as they arrived from the car park.

The players showed their down-to-earth mentality by being in amongst the fans and taking pictures, with heroes Richard Wood, Dan Barlaser and Chiedozie Ogbene all taking time to sign autographs.

Goal scoring machine Michael Smith was the last to arrive, but he received a standing ovation of affection and support before the bus departed for Parkgate Shopping.

All involved were eager to get a taste of a moment that doesn’t arrive too often — unless you’re a Millers supporter, with five promotions to celebrate in the last nine years.

Around 1,000 fans turned up to the Town Hall to welcome their heroes and they were in fine form.

The sense of pride of being a Miller and the jubilation of securing a promotion and trophy double was incredible. 

Flags were flying high, Freed from Desire was playing in the background and pyros were set off amid chants of “You reds” and “Millers”.

Key speakers took to the stage to address the crowd directly and give their thanks.

A joyous occasion was opened by Cllr Jenny Andrews, Mayor of Rotherham. 

She said: “We are very proud of Rotherham United’s amazing season, culminating in this fantastic achievement to win a Wembley final and get promotion.”

Tony Stewart, Rotherham United’s chairman, who is celebrating 14 years at the club this year, was welcomed with rapturous chants of  “There’s only one Tony Stewart.”

He said: “This has been the best year I have spent with the football club. The fans are the best in the football league. 

“After going up and down, we are determined this time to stay up.”

Millers boss Paul Warne addressed the crowd with a drop of humour, joking: “The EFL contacted us about ten weeks ago and said: ‘You’re making it look too easy, you need to start throwing in a few defeats in and some dodgy performances’. The lads kindly obliged.”

Warne also gave thanks to the whole club, the fans and his family, adding: “Football is about being together, watching the team, feeling those emotions, feeling the highs and lows, the depressing parts, the unbelievable joy you can’t find anywhere else in life. 

“This is an amazing group that will be stuck together as one of the best teams this club has ever had.”

The last to take the podium was Richard Wood, club captain.

Supporters on cloud nine joined in en masse as he led a rendition of “Richard Wood is Magic” (before later telling local radio he was “quite shy, actually”).

Richard said: “It’s the most successful season we’ve had. 

“It’s the most enjoyable one. The records we’ve broken is outstanding and it tops the play off game when I scored two. 
“The overall season has been brilliant, with thanks to the management, fans and chairman.” 

Fans outside the Town Hall revelled in the wonderful atmosphere sparked by by promotion and, not to be forgotten, victory in the Papa John’s Trophy.

Joe Griffin (22) said: “The Millers have defied expectations once more to get promoted.

“They are a special group of players and it’s probably the best team I’ve seen.

“It’s been a vibrant atmosphere all day long and we just can’t wait to test ourselves in the Championship.”

Cathy Ashgate (58) said: “Everyone’s just having a good time and I’ve loved being here today to celebrate Rotherham United’s success this season."