FOR those Rotherham United supporters suffering in the workplace on a Monday morning for seemingly the umpteenth time this season, here is something to ease the pain.
This February may have been grim so far for the Millers, exacerbated by a torrid 5-0 weekend loss at Cardiff, but it was the polar opposite 35 years ago.
Then, as now, Rotherham started the month in the second tier relegation zone. That they ended it in third place owed everything to some truly staggering developments in the late winter of the 1981-82 campaign.
Emlyn Hughes’s Millers were the talk of football after winning eight consecutive games in the old Division Two in February 1982 to swiftly go from relegation candidates to promotion contenders.
It constituted a Football League record for successive league wins in a calendar month –since equalled by Bristol City and Brighton. Rotherham went on to win a ninth consecutive game in early March to set a club record and what a time it was, between February 2 and March 6, 1982, to be a Miller.
The run started with a 2-1 win over Derby at Millmoor, in a game made famous for recently-signed midfielder Gerry Gow’s dismissal after just two and a half minutes in what was believed to be the fastest separate booking and red card picked up by a player.
The woes of the third-bottom Millers, who went into the game on the back of three league losses, were further compounded when they went behind and Ronnie Moore missed a penalty.
But an own goal and Moore strike gave United the points.
Next up was a trip to Cardiff, with goals from Rod Fern and Gow earning them a 2-1 win before another away success by the same margin three days later at Grimsby, thanks to strikes from Billy McEwan and Moore.
A Lindsay Smith own goal then gave Rotherham a 1-0 home win over Cambridge on February 13, with visiting Shrewsbury sent packing 3-0 three days after that, with goals notched by Fern (2) and Hughes as the Millers moved into the top 10.
John Seasman’s strike gave Rotherham a 1-0 triumph at Bolton on February 20 before Fern and Moore struck in a 2-0 home win over Wrexham.
Four days later, Rotherham ended an astonishing February with a 2-0 home success over Crystal Palace to move up to third, courtesy of strikes from Moore – who went on to pick up the divisional Golden Boot that season – and Tony Towner.
A historic club record ninth straight win arrived in a 3-0 victory at Oldham through goals from Seasman (2) and Moore, the latter’s goal controversially given after he nudged the ball out of goalkeeper Peter McDonnell’s hands as he prepared to clear upfield.
The magic run ended in a 0-0 home draw with Newcastle with Towner having a penalty saved in stoppage-time by Kevin Carr.
The Millers also missed a stoppage-time spot-kick in a 2-2 home draw with Luton – and if both those penalties had been taken, they would have been promoted to the top flight.