Rotherham fans are well known for their love of Pukka Pies, but they weren’t eating them during a famous Football League Trophy clash with Chesterfield in 2000.
The Millers hosted the Spireites in the lower league cup competition – then called the LDV Vans Trophy -and were coming up against their current goalkeeping coach Mike Pollitt, who had acrimoniously left the club a few months before.
Pollitt had been a key player in the side as Ronnie Moore masterminded promotion from Division Three, but turned down a new contract in order to join Chesterfield, who were a division below the Millers.
The Millers fans weren’t too approving of that decision and let Pollitt know in one of the most famous nights in the history of Millmoor.
They had to wait until the second half for their former hero to patrol the net in front of them and the baying crowd used the half-time interval to stock up on ammunition – Pukka Pies, sausage rolls and coins.
When Pollitt, whose side were 3-0 up, arrived in close proximity he received a barrage of abuse, both verbally and in the shape of flying savoury-based missiles.
“We were 3-0 up and coasting and then I went up to the Tivoli and I have never seen anything like it,” Pollitt says.
“I was getting pelted with coins and pies and I just remember a group of policemen lining up behind the goal. It was just incredible. I can remember thinking, ‘This game ain’t going to get finished’.
“It’s fair to say for 45 minutes I was subjected to the worst stick I have ever had in my life and it did affect me a little bit because there was all sorts flying at me behind the goal.
“If one of those coins had hit me in the eye or on the head you don’t know what could have had happened.”
Pollitt had the last laugh, though, as his side fought off a Millers comeback to win 4-3 with a golden goal and he gave those fans a send-off at the end of the game, though waited until he got to the halfway line to do it.
“Looking back at the time, it was quite a dangerous situation,” he added.
“It was just a case of trying to block it out as best I could and Rotherham managed to get back into the game, which made it worse.
“But I just got off the pitch and thought, I’ve had enough of this. If it was 200 or 2,000 having a go at you, you can’t do anything about it, so it was just a salute to everyone really. The adrenalin was flowing and its a situation we should never have been in and I wish the whole night hadn’t happened.”
The feud didn’t last long as Pollitt was back at the club at the end of the season and went on to win Millers’ hearts over with some sterling performances in the second tier.
Whether he has been able to look at a Pukka Pie the same way since, though, is another matter.