David Artell’s year of living the dream at his boyhood club

If you are only going to play one season at your hometown club then David Artell chose a pretty good one.

The Rotherham-born defender, who came through the ranks at Millmoor and was a supporter of the club, broke into the side in the 2000-01 season, just as the Millers were brewing something special under Ronnie Moore.

Coming into the team in September, he went on to make 40 appearances and was one of the mainstays of the side as the club won arguably their most memorable promotion ever.

 

Only 20 at the time, it was a real Roy of the Rovers tale for the no-nonsense centre-half. Born in Rotherham, came through the youth system, mates on the Tivoli End and family members who worked for the club on matchdays – it was a dream come true for Artell.

“If I could have won promotion with any football club in England, it would be with Rotherham United,” Artell, who now manages Crewe and will come up against his former team in the FA Cup this Saturday, said in Millers book Impossible Dream“It wouldn’t be Manchester United or Arsenal. That’s my team, that’s where I’m from, I supported them as a boy.

“I often wish that promotion would have come later in my career where I could have appreciated it fully because I didn’t really realise how good it was then.

“Now I fully understand what it is to get promoted and that it is not every season it happens so I suppose that is a regret really.

“It meant everything for me to get promoted with the Millers, though, I had every single school friend, every single mate supporting me.”

Although it was a day he will never forget, Artell was inconvenienced by the glory having booked tickets to watch Lionel Richie in concert months before Alan Lee decided to stick that last-minute winner in.

While the rest of the squad were out partying and celebrating their achievement in style, Artell honoured his previous engagement before having second thoughts.

“I went to watch Lionel Richie at Sheffield Arena, it had been booked for months and I was going with this girl, who wasn’t even my girlfriend,” the defender added.

“It was probably the one day in my whole life where I didn’t want to do anything except be with a group of 25 fellas.

“I just wasn’t enjoying it knowing that all the other lads were out.

“So I saw three songs or something to say I’d seen him sing and then went out with all the other lads. Lionel Richie was my promotion party!

“It wasn’t really one night out because we were out Saturday night, Sunday night, Monday night and Tuesday night. It was a four-day bender!”

Unfortunately for Artell, Rotherham’s quick rise up the league counted against the youngster and the arrival of Chris Swailes and Martin McIntosh meant the end of his Millers career as he left in 2003 having not featured since that promotion season two years earlier.

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