Andy Scott: Only title success will prove sufficient for Scott

Andy Scott
Andy Scott
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ANDY Scott is an unashamed control freak.

Since walking into his role as manager of Rotherham United three months ago, it has been his firm intention to leave a legacy.

Not content with putting together a new team, he also wants to build a better football club.

Whether advising on designs for the new stadium or changing the colours of the cones on the training field, Scott is determined to leave his imprint on the club.

He even delivered his own report on the football side of the ‘business’ to chairman Tony Stewart less than two weeks after taking office.

“I think the chairman was a bit shocked by that,” Scott reflected. “I said ‘You can either do it this way or do half of it – but if you only want to do half, you have appointed the wrong man as manager.’

“He took it on board and said ‘Right, do what you need’ – which is what you want in a chairman.

“I know it might hurt a little now – and there will be a lot of upheaval – but once these things are put in place, that should be it for the next 15 to 20 years.”

Scott, who spent over three years as manager of Brentford, is only 38 and one of the youngest managers in the Football League.

His approach to the job marks a major change in direction for the Millers, who had seen Ronnie Moore’s return to the club end in disappointment.

It is now four years since the club were relegated to League Two and three years since a move from Millmoor to play at Sheffield’s Don Valley Stadium.

Work on a new 12,000-capacity stadium is due to be completed next summer and the Millers would like nothing more than a return home on the back of a promotion.

“I want to build a football club again and put another promotion on my CV,” said Scott, who lifted the League Two title with Brentford two years ago.

“I feel that I am responsible for this football club and everything that goes on comes back to me. That’s why I have brought in all the staff I have and why we have changed the youth set-up. We have improved the training ground and we are trying to improve all areas.

“I am a bit of a control freak and I probably do have a bit of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder),” he admitted.

“Only last week, we were talking about the colour of the cones on the training pitch. I wanted them all to be the same colour. If they are not, I don’t think it looks professional and that sets the wrong standard for our players.

“The pre-season programme was planned out at the end of last season. Everyone knew what would be happening from the first to the last day of pre-season and how long each session was going to last.

“The dynamic of the squad also had to be right,” he explained. “That’s why I felt it was important to meet every player I wanted to sign face to face. There were some players I met who were not right. Either I didn’t like them – or I didn’t like the way they would fit in. They may have been a good player but they wouldn’t have been a good player for me.”

Having spent five years as a player with Sheffield United in the Nineties, Scott was already familiar with the Rotherham area. His brother Rob, now joint-manager of Grimsby Town, had also spent seven years with the Millers and was a good point of reference.

Sacked in cruel circumstances by Brentford, Scott had been out of work for only nine weeks before landing the Millers job.

“We had good players at Brentford... but these things happen in football,” he reflected. “A new owner comes in with different ideas. Admittedly, we had a poor spell – but two out of the three months before that I had been nominated and won the Manager of the Month award.

“Everyone I have spoken to feels I was unfortunate to lose my job but I don’t hold grudges. Football is a harsh, harsh game and, if you don’t accept that, you are going to be a sad and sorry person for a long time.

“When this job became available I did my research on the club and I was prepared for an interview. There were a few other jobs around but I knew this area and I knew the chairman was ambitious. It felt like the right step for me.”

The Millers missed out on play-off qualification last season and Moore’s second spell as manager of the club ended in the sack. Andy Liddell and Paul Warne took temporary charge briefly before Scott’s appointment.

Both on and off the field, Scott has made made wholesale changes. There have been eight new signings, including former Huddersfield Town midfielder Danny Schofield from Millwall and goalkeeper Conrad Logan from Leicester City. Star striker Adam Le Fondre remains on the books – for now – but is up for sale and likely to leave before the close of the next transfer window.

“Our aim this season is to win the league,” said Scott. “I have told the lads ‘Don’t even think about finishing second, third or fourth this season – think about winning it.’

“I think we have a good enough squad to win this league and, with that, there is pressure and expectation. We will be going into games this season wanting to win and I will not be happy with just a point. I quite like that, too, because I’d rather set up teams to win than trying not to lose.”

Assessing likely threats to the Millers’ promotion push, Scott said: “It will be a tougher league than last season. You are probably looking at around 10 to 12 sides who are more than capable of challenging, never mind just finishing in the top three.

“AFC Wimbledon have spent more than anyone and have been installed as favourites. They have a huge budget and are collecting centre-forwards. Swindon, under Paolo Di Canio, have brought in a lot of foreigners – but that can go one of two ways.

“Paul Buckle at Bristol Rovers knows the league inside out and has a strong budget, we don’t know about Plymouth financially, and you count out Dagenham at your peril.

“Accrington have experience of the league, Micky Adams had Port Vale top of the league before leaving for Sheffield United, and now he’s back.

“The list goes on,” he added. “But we only have to worry about ourselves.

“If we do that, more people will be worried about us than we are about them.”

Tomorrow: Huddersfield Town’s Lee Clark.