Footy

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So this is a wee bit off the topic of OHP, but, as it’s my OHP Blog debut I thought I’d stick with something I know well.

As a North Londoner moving to South Yorkshire I had a BIG decision to make…..what football team to follow?

My team is The Arsenal (and always will be), ever since the early 80’s. Can’t really recall why as my dad was a Fulham supporter who is more into rugby.

My first game was a one nil win against Southampton at Highbury in May 1985. A scoreline that over time became synonymous with The Arsenal in the nineties and noughties and sung along to the tune of a Pet Shop Boys hit.

I’ve never been a regular attender and probably average less than a game a season over the past 33 years. With 5 being the most in a season in 16/17 when I started taking my oldest along. Competition for my disposable income has been the main reason for not going as much as I’d have liked.

So decisions, decisions. As the crow flies (well, google maps directions) the nearest teams are:

Sheffield Wednesday 3.7 miles
Rotherham United 7 miles
Sheffield United 7.2 miles

Sheffield Wednesday were never a consideration for me due to 1993, when both domestic finals were between AFC and SWFC. The FA Cup Final (replay) won with an Andy Linighan header, despite playing a lot of the game with a broken nose. The League Cup Final won with a goal by Stevie Morrow. He was later unceremoniously dropped by captain Tony Adams and fell awkwardly during the celebrations on the pitch at the final whistle and was rushed to hospital with a broken arm.

So, Rotherham, they already had the inside track to be honest. They play in the same shirts as The Arsenal, red with white sleeves. I had also already seen the Millers win their own cup final in 1996. The oft forgotten Football League Trophy (known as the Auto Windscreens Shields Trophy at the time).

I had actually gone to Wembley that day as a Shrewsbury Town supporter with my then boss (a Shrew) and a few work colleagues on a bit of a beano. It would have been inconceivable to think that 22 years later I would start following Rotherham United.

Another link with the Millers came about by chance. Due to a reshuffle at work I ended up working with a guy named Jacko who was/is from Rotherham and a fully fledged supporter going to games whenever he could especially when they were away to teams in London. During one of my (and the family’s) trips to the farm we arranged to go to a Millers game. I brought Luca and Joe brought Raymond. It was February 2016 against Brentford and the Millers were being managed by Neil Warnock at the time. I think it was one of his first few games in charge and Rotherham were staring relegation in the face and hadn’t scored let alone won for a few games. Now I know I can’t take all the credit as a lucky charm but the Millers won 2-1 and went on an unbeaten run of 11 games and maintained their place in The Championship. Luca loved it and was laughingly told off by a steward for over celebrating the Millers winner when rushing to the edge of the pitch.

Sheffield United never really got considered, as a bit like with multiple choice exams, once you see the right answer, stop looking.

So come the 2019/20 season I will endeavour to get along to the New York Stadium whenever possible.

Matt

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