The tone for Rotherham’s miserable season was set in the two transfer windows as their dealings in the market saw them miss out on a number of targets.
There was a mixture of rejected bids, getting outbid by rivals and a refusal to pay above the odds as fans were left tearing their hair out as deal after deal fell through.
But how did those targets that the Millers missed out on fare this season? Here’s a look at their 2016-17 season.
What happened: Stokes, released by Celtic, was the first target the Millers failed to snare as Alan Stubbs missed out on a reunion with a player he had at Hibernian. A switch to New York Stadium was never really on the cards after Blackburn offered him a reported wage of £12,000 per week.
How he did: The 28-year-old managed just 14 appearances for Rovers, due to injury, and scored four goals. Just one of those was in the Championship, with two in the League Cup and one in the Football League Trophy for the Under-23s.
What happened: Bradshaw’s non-switch to the Millers was one of the more irking deals of the summer as for the sake of £100,000 they allowed rivals Barnsley to snatch him at the 11th hour. The Walsall man was all set to join Rotherham, with a medical set up, only for the Tykes to nip in and up the bid. The Saddlers gave the Millers the opportunity to match it, but on the instruction of Stubbs, they pulled out and the 24-year-old headed a little bit further up the M1 than he ought to.
How he did: Bradshaw hardly set Oakwell alight with eight goals in 45 appearances, so Stubbs might have got this one right. Naturally, he scored against the Millers in August, but only notched sporadically after that, though has received praise for his performances from Reds fans this season.
What happened: Although Stubbs denied it, Armstrong was believed to be a summer-long target for Rotherham, who are thought to have approached Newcastle regarding a loan move. But as soon Barnsley got whiff of that they got in there first, again snaring him from under the Millers’ noses.
How he did: The England youth international has a fine reputation but never really kicked on after an impressive start at Oakwell. Of course, he also scored against the Millers, bagging the winner in January, but ended with six goals in 37 appearances.
Adam Armstrong also won Championship goal of the month for this very tidy finish. #NUFC
— ㅤ (@NUFCMedia) October 17, 2016
What happened: Rotherham’s pursuit of Lee Gregory has to go down as one of the biggest transfer saga’s in the club’s history. Lasting pretty much all summer, Rotherham went back and forth with Millwall, trying to agree a fee for the 28-year-old. Despite offering an amount which would have smashed the club record, they eventually pulled the plug when the London club wanted in excess of £2million. The Sheffielder signed a new contract shortly afterwards.
How he did: Gregory again proved himself to be an accomplished goalscorer, bagging 18 times in 46 games and helping Millwall to victory in the League One play-off final.
What happened: Whitehead was told he could leave Huddersfield and had a medical booked in at New York Stadium. However, he did not show up, instead deciding to be part of David Wagner’s ‘revolution’.
How he did: That proved a smart decision by the veteran, who played 20 times during the Terriers’ superb run to the Championship play-offs.
What happened: One of the more surprising targets was unknown Swedish striker Christoffer Nyman, who travelled to the United Kingdom to discuss terms with Rotherham after a fee was agreed. However, Nyman arrived in South Yorkshire asking for a wage in excess of £10,000 a week and negotiations did not last long. He soon joined Bundesliga 2 outfit Eintracht Braunschweig.
How he did: Proving his talent, Nyman has scored 11 goals in 31 appearances for his promotion-chasing side.
What happened: Few knew of the interest in Burnley’s Lukas Jutkiewicz, but Stubbs was keen to renew a relationship he had with the striker at Everton. However, finances were always going to prove difficult and eventually Birmingham came in for him on a season-long loan.
How he did: It proved to be a real astute signing as the 27-year-old has bagged 12 times for the struggling Blues. Of course, one of those was against Rotherham in October but he has also played a pivotal role in a target man position.
What happened: Paul Warne went on the charm offensive in a bid to get Diagouraga to join the Millers on loan for a second time in his career and it looked to be working. However, he received a text that the Leeds man had decided to go to Ipswich with just over a week of the window remaining.
How he did: The 29-year-old was solid if not spectacular for an average Ipswich side, making 12 appearances in Mick McCarthy’s midfield.
What happened: Rotherham went in for the Burnley winger and thought they had got their man. Warne came in after transfer deadline day’s defeat at Nottingham Forest expecting news of the deal being completed, only to find out that Kightly had in fact chosen to join Burton.
How he did: Kightly proved a real coup for the Brewers, who stayed up. The 31-year-old scored four times, also creating another.
What happened: Rotherham’s pursuit of the Grimsby striker was up there with Gregory and Bradshaw in terms of its saga status. The Millers had several hefty bids rejected by the League Two side, who said their star man was not for sale, only to flog him to nearest relegation rivals Wigan moments before the January window shut.
How he did: Undoubtedly one for the future, Bogle did okay for the Latics, scoring three times in 11 games, though he was unable to save them for the drop. His time may well come next season.