Revitalised Rotherham worthy of national exposure – Evans

Rotherham’s ousting of Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night was the big result in Yorkshire, but Steve Evans is eager for the rest of the country to sit up and take note. Nick Westby reports.

Steve Evans
Steve Evans

Steve Evans believes resurgent Rotherham United deserve some long overdue national exposure – because people in the south still think they play at Millmoor.

The Millers have been a club on the rise ever since returning to their home town last summer, when they moved into the state-of-the-art New York Stadium.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

They enjoyed a promotion-winning campaign in their debut season and added the prized scalp of local rivals Sheffield Wednesday in front of nearly 11,500 fans in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night.

Yet in all that time they have never once featured in front of the television cameras, meaning some members of the footballing fraternity are oblivious to the strides being taken.

“There’s a lot of people in the game still think Rotherham play at Millmoor,” said Evans.

“Because of the exposure of League Two, if you’re in the Premier League or the Championship and in the south, you wouldn’t know what’s going on at Rotherham because there’s no focus on League Two.

“But what I would say is there are some fantastic people here, everybody plays a part, it’s a working class town and we’re a working class club.”

Evans wants a Premier League team at home in this lunchtime’s draw for the second round of the Capital One Cup.

If he gets his wish, he believes it only fair that the Sky Sports cameras come to shine on Rotherham.

“We want to be at home in the next round, it doesn’t matter who we play but the bigger the club the better,” after his League One men comfortably ejected Championship-side Wednesday.

“Maybe the cameras will turn up and watch us, because it should have been a camera game tonight.

“We don’t seem to be getting that. If this stadium, if this town, if these people aren’t worthy of a live game then I don’t know who is. This football stadium deserves television coverage. The games we have played so far dictate the cameras should be here.

“All those decisions are made independently and honestly, but we have to believe that if we draw the right type of opposition, and I’m sure this result will be known to the people that pick the games, then hopefully we will get what we deserve.

“We just need the luck of the draw for that to happen.”

Evans may have already used up his good fortune in this year’s League Cup competition, having hoped for a home date with Wednesday in the first round.

There was no element of luck though as they dominated their lacklustre opponents with a performance of real tempo and urgency on Tuesday night.

Ben Pringle and Lee Frecklington scored the goals, and Evans said: “At half-time the biggest disappointment was we were only one goal ahead. We expected Wednesday to have a spell in the second half, so the biggest credit I can give my players is that Wednesday never had a spell.

“You’re always waiting for the opposition to have a 10-, 15-minute foothold in the game where they are battering down the door but apart from the odd cross into the box, that was it.

“It’s a magnificent achievement for this football club. It doesn’t beat promotion, but this ranks up there with the Aldershot game. Both sets of fans made it the best atmosphere I’ve had here.”

Dave Jones was not so enthused, with his anger directed at his side’s poor defending and winger Jermaine Johnson.

The Jamaican was sent off 18 minutes after coming on as a second-half substitute for a petulant headbutt on Pringle that signalled the end of Wednesday’s challenge, limited though that had been.

“It’s stupidity. You can’t headbutt someone,” blasted Jones, who will now lose one of his major attacking threats for the next three Championship games.

“He’s done it before and it’s not acceptable for this football club. He’s been told. I can’t defend it and neither can JJ. He’ll be punished and rightly so because I lose him for three games.”

Jones was disappointed by his side’s inability to get a grip on a game and defend the second ball.

“If you’re not going to deal with the first one then you’ve certainly got to deal with the second,” he said. “There was a bit of panic from us – we’re better than that.

“We’re on August 6, I’m just glad it’s not May 6. We’ve got a lot of things to build on, players have got a responsibility, we all have, to keep working at it.”