Matt Taylor sacked as Rotherham United manager as away form takes its toll
The Millers' terrible away form ultimately cost him his job and it was no surprise the final match of his 13-month tenure was away from the New York Stadium.
There were chants from the away end for Taylor to go as Rotherham lost 5-0 at Watford on Saturday, their biggest league defeat under the 41-year-old, who arrived from Exeter City last October.
Rotherham only won twice away from home under Taylor, one of those at Stoke City when he was a fortnight into the job, and the other without leaving South Yorkshire, a memorable 1-0 win at Sheffield United with Rawmarsh-born Ben Wiles scoring on the ground his grandfather Eddie Coluqhoun played the bulk of his career.
That Bramall Lane win was Taylor's last away, piling huge pressure on their home form. So whilst there were big results there – a 4-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers, 3-1 against West Bromwich Albion and the 1-0 win over Middlesbrough which kept them in last season's Championship, victories over Norwich City and Coventry City and a 2-2 draw with Ipswich Town were unable to keep the team out of this term's relegation zone.
Coming from behind to draw with Southampton in October perhaps bought Taylor another month in the job but it remains their only point on their travels this season. It was not just the number of defeats, but the nature of them.
Taylor was very critical of his players after the 2-0 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday, and going as far as to say he had lost trust in some of them as a result was a worrying sign.
To have kept Rotherham in the Championship in his first season at the level was a considerable achievement and something even the man he replaced in the job, Paul Warne, had been unable to do. This season was the first time in six years they kicked off in the same division as the last.
Although working with one of the smallest budgets in the second tier this season, it was big by Rotherham’s standards – breaking the club transfer record to sign Christ Tiehi then surpassing it again to bring in Sam Nombe, the latter deal funded by Wiles’ departure to Huddersfield Town. Whilst Tiehi has been an important addition, centre-forward Nombe has struggled to make an impact, only scoring his first goal for the club in the draw with Ipswich last week.
There was also considerable investment in infrastructure at the training ground and stadium which Taylor oversaw.
Relying heavily on free agents proved costly, with their fitness often found wanting in a squad which suffered heavily with injuries.
A two-week international break offers time to find a replacement and with the reaction of the away end at Vicarage Road, Taylor’s departure was mooted on Sunday but only confirmed on Monday morning.
“It was felt by myself and the board that we had to act now by making a managerial change in order to give ourselves the best possible chance of retaining our Sky Bet Championship status this season,” said chairman Tony Stewart in a statement.
“We are grateful to Matt for his efforts over the course of the last year and it has not been an easy decision to make. It goes without saying that he leaves with the very best wishes of everyone here at Rotherham United.”