In the face of some criticism over the last few weeks, Rotherham chairman Tony Stewart has come out and admitted that mistakes have been made and he deserves untold credit for that.
His admission that there have been failures with managerial appointments and player recruitment shows that the club’s board do see what the fans see.
However, there appears an apparent danger that the Millers are going to repeat one of their key mistakes after Stewart said a permanent manager will not be appointed before the end of the season.
Most of the blame for this term’s demise will be rightly laid at Alan Stubbs’ door, but the former Hibs boss was swimming against the tide from the off, owing to the lateness of his arrival.
It was his June appointment, which came after Neil Warnock to led the Millers on a merry dance for a month, that set them on the backfoot and led to a shambolic pre-season.
Stubbs joined with no clear recruitment policy or targets lined up, had players offered contracts by the old boss and had only seen his remaining players play on DVD. What happened next was an unmitigated disaster and ultimately caused a horrible season which is more than likely to see records broken in the worst possible way.
This simply cannot be allowed to happen again.
With the Millers’ relegation fate likely to be sealed well before the end of the campaign, planning for next term has to start as soon as possible and that should include the appointment of a new permanent manager.
That could very well be Paul Warne. Warne, a fitness coach by trade, has done better than either Stubbs or Kenny Jackett this season and has deserved the chance over the next few weeks to stake his claim for the role on a full-time basis.
He says he doesn’t want it. How much of that is a defence mechanism is open to debate, but if he can pick up some results over the next few weeks then the job could be his to lose. If results continue as they have been and the defeats keep rolling in, then Warne may drop out of the running, either through choice or otherwise.
Either way, that decision should be made no later than April.
If Warne is the man to lead the club into League One, great, but make it so that the club are not going into the summer in limbo. There’s no reason why that decision should not be made in the next couple of months.
If the chairman decides to go down another route and bring in a new manager then if at all possible do it so he has at least five games at the end of this season to get the luxury that Stubbs did not – time to assess his squad first-hand, identify areas of strength and weakness and do everything to make sure the club hits the ground running next season.
Of course, potential candidates the club like may not be available at that time. The list of applicants when Jackett left clearly wasn’t too enticing and perhaps some potential candidates may not become free until the summer. Both of which leaves the Millers with a different problem.
No one can blame the Millers putting themselves out there for Warnock last summer. They ended up getting their fingers burned and they are counting the cost of that now.
It’s been an expensive one and a mistake they cannot afford to repeat.