As 2016 draws its final few breaths, Rotherham United can reflect on yet another eventful year, full of drama and twists and turns.
From great escapes to managerial changes, it’s never dull in the life of the Millers.
So, we pay tribute to 2016 and, with tongue firmly in cheek, present the 2016 Millers Time Alternative Awards.
Retaining his crown from 2015, utility man Greg Halford was the only candidate for his bleached blonde look in August.
Most premature celebration
Derby, whose manager Darren Wassall was putting his finger to his lips, were 3-0 up going into the final 10 minutes and loving life at New York Stadium. Just over 10 minutes later, their buoyant fans were no longer asking Lee Camp what the score was.
Most deluded opposition manager
Karl Robinson was a strong candidate after he tried to dilute the Millers’ 4-0 win over MK Dons in April, but this award can only go to Ian Holloway, who said that Rotherham had one chance during their 1-0 win over QPR in December.
Biggest miracle worker of the year
Neil Warnock. Who else could it be?
Most obvious thing to happen
Nothing was so sure as Tom Bradshaw – the subject of a long and drawn out transfer saga – scoring for Barnsley against the Millers in August.
Most optimistic prediction
What else can it be other than Alan Stubbs on his unveiling as Millers manager, claiming he could turn them into a team capable of mounting a play-off challenge.
The biggest WTF moment
Just five games and 39 days into his reign Kenny Jackett did this.
Worst refereeing decision
There were plenty of nominees for this one, not least the disallowed goal at Hillsborough recently, but Mark Brown’s inexplicable decision to award Brentford a penalty in February when Lee Frecklington clearly won the ball is a worthy winner.
Thanks for coming award
Andrew Shinnie brought on loan from Birmingham until the end of the season in January, made one start, missed a sitter at Bolton and featured just once under Neil Warnock.
Biggest moment of false sense of security
There can only be one winner in this category and that is the opening 20 minutes of the season against Wolves, where just for a short while, it looked like the Millers were going to be world beaters!
Worst career decision
Chris Dawson, Alex Cairns and Paddy Kenny all came to Rotherham in 2016 and played no games, but this award can only go to poor Nicky Eaden, who left a comfortable job at Leicester to become Neil Redfearn’s assistant, only for Redfearn to get sacked less than a week later.
Most self-confident person
Alan Stubbs has surprisingly been overlooked for this one in favour of Kevin Blackwell, who modestly stated that Rotherham had two managers when he was assisting Neil Warnock.
Least value for money
Desperate to appease fans after a shocking summer in the transfer market, Rotherham signed Dexter Blackstock for three years on a surprinsgly large weekly wage. He’s started three times and scored once.
Best co-ordinated fancy dress attire
Central defensive duo Richard Wood and Kirk Broadfoot dressed up in kung-fu attire for part of last season and they looked spiffing.
Best start to a match
Recent wins over QPR and Wigan saw the Millers start well, then there was the Wolves match, but what was better than a second-minute goal in their biggest game in their fight against relegation last season? Matt Derbyshire obliged at MK Dons and it was a rout from their.
Most unpopular decision
Alan Stubbs was the sole nominee in this category as his list of clangers was endless. But nothing went down worse than fan favourite Richie Smallwood being allowed out on loan to Scunthorpe.
Best Twitter account
Parody accounts can be hit or miss on Twitter, but the best by far is ‘ValueForDouglas’ a light-hearted joke at the expense of Millers chief executive Paul Douglas.
Honourable mentions for Kirk Broadfoot jumping into the crowd at MK Dons and Will Vaulks’ Olympic standard gymnastics, but the standout winner has to be Lee Camp and his end-of-game fist-pumping ritual which became synonymous with the Millers’ late-season surge.
Biggest bottle job
Congratulations to Kenny Jackett who turned his back on Rotherham after just 39 days in charge after seeming to think he bit off more than he could chew.
Unwisest media comment
Ian Holloway aside nothing was more suicidal than Alan Stubbs goading the Millers fans with a “bring it on” act of defiance after the humiliating 4-0 loss at Barnsley.
Unlikeliest managerial candidate
With the Rotherham job being available four times in 2016 it is little surprise there have been some surprising applications. Hernan Crespo is a close runner-up behind Steve McClaren who discussed the job with chairman Tony Stewart.
Most time spent on the floor receiving treatment
Danny, Danny Ward, who has kept physios Denis Circuit and Mike Preston in a job almost single-handedly.
From zero to hero award
Greg Halford could not have been a more reviled character after a horrid start to his Rotherham career, but under the management of Neil Warnock, he became a vital player in the fight against relegation, scoring the winner against Leeds.
Best trying to be politically correct answer but still criticising a former manager
Lee Camp when asked about Alan Stubbs’ defensive set-up: “People have eyes in their heads and you can see what happened, but it is not by coincidence that you concede.”