When legend Moore achieved the ‘impossible dream’ during glorious chapter for the Millers

Eleven thousand fans packed into the New York Stadium last Saturday to watch Rotherham United clinch promotion to League One.

It was one of those golden moments in the life of a football supporter.

Some of us are ‘lucky’ enough to support such as Manchester United or Chelsea.

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The rest, though, follow teams that are far less better off when it comes to finance and memories.

Where success is expected year upon year at Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge and places of such ilk, in the lower leagues it comes along all too rarely.

And that is why when it does come along, it is grabbed with even greater gusto and cherished forever.

Saturday, April 28, 2013, was one such day for Millers fans.

As Steve Evans’s side achieved that rare moment of triumph that sent a current of excitement and pride coursing through the town, it was hard not to think back to arguably the most successful days of the modern era for Rotherham United – the Ronnie Moore years.

Moore is a club legend. He was the heroic striker whose picture adorned the pub outside Millmoor, and he was the man who twice managed the team.

But it was his first spell in charge that captured the imagination of the town and which will go down in Millers’ folklore as one of the grandest times for the club.

From taking the helm in 1997 to his departure at the end of January, 2005, Moore picked up Rotherham United by the scruff of the neck and took them to halcyon days.

Having taken charge of a club just relegated to the basement division of the Football League, Moore led them to successive promotions to the Championship, a level at which they would punch above their weight for four years.

That glorious chapter of the club’s history has been brought to life by sports journalist and Millers fan Jonathan Veal in a book entitled “Impossible Dream: The Ronnie Moore Years”.

Replete with frank interviews from Moore and his trusted right-hand man John Breckin, the book is an emotional retelling of an era that will live long in the memory, when Rotherham United went to Hillsborough twice and won in the last minute, and when they regularly crossed swords with the likes of Manchester City and West Ham United.

As well as the manager and his sidekick, leading names who wore the red of Rotherham offer memories of the good days and the bad, and give their verdict on what made Moore tick.

Characters such as Guy Branston, Paul Warne, Paul Hurst, Mike Pollitt and Richie Barker all relive the promotions and the survival battles, from finishing runners-up in Division Three in 2000 to playing against a 16-year-old Cesc Fabregas in a League Cup tie against Arsenal at Highbury.

“We’d heard about this little 16-year-old who they’d got from Barcelona,” recalls Barker, “who was going to be one of the best players in the world.”

Even the foreword by world-renowned referee Howard Webb offers a rare insight into a sporting figure who is only ever seen with a whsitle in hand, officiating the big games.

“Despite all the excitement about his (Ronnie’s) return, no-one could have envisaged what a special time was on the horizon”, writes lifelong Millers fan Webb.

Yet what is most enlightening about Veal’s book is that it not only places Moore on a pedastal, it does not shy away from the moments that were not so memorable.

His departure at the hands of the consortium that took over the club in the winter of 2004-05, Millers ’05, is explored objectively. The author’s father, David Veal, was on the new-look board but the book sheds light on both sides of the story as to why contract talks broke down in January, 2005, prompting an end to Moore’s reign.

Impossible Dream” also reflects on an incident that brought embarrassment on Moore and Rotherham when he thought Ipswich Town had made an approach to make him their new manager. The interest turned out to be a hoax, after Moore had said in a television interview he would like to speak to them.

Quoted in the book years later, Moore said: “I don’t regret it one bit... I don’t feel embarrassed. If the same opportunity came now I wouldn’t handle it any differently.”

For Rotherham United fans high on the adrenalin of the past season’s exploits and dreaming of another rise through the divisions, this book is a must.

Even Evans, the man now in the seat Moore twice occupied, might do well to have a read and see if there is any old Millers magic he can rekindle.

“Impossible Dream: The Ronnie Moore Years,” by Jonathan Veal, self-published, priced £14.99. Visit www.theronniemooreyears.co.uk