David 'Spud' Thornhill, who has a sneaky little soft spot for the Millers, returns with his Rotherham United v Norwich City history lesson.
As with lots of other teams from North of the Wall (The Wash), Norwich didn't meet Rotherham until 1960, Bonfire night 1960 to be precise. For City fans it was worth the wait as we won 3-1 and would go on to do the double over them that season. Explosive.
The Millers would get their revenge the following season Rotherham beating us home and away, before we repeated the emerging pattern a year later. Neat.
The Carrow Road meeting between the clubs on 11 April 1960 was a sombre affair, coming just 2 days after City player and ongoing legend Barry Butler had been killed in a car crash. Rotherham won 2-1 and repeated their success and score line in the return fixture, which took place the very next day.
6 months later Rotherham beat Norwich 2-1 again but this would be one of only two wins in their next 21 attempts and following Rotherham's relegation in 1968 both clubs would not meet for 13 years.
In 1981, Third Division Champions Rotherham hosted recently relegated Norwich to Millmoor on the opening day of the Division Two season. The Millersâ promotion winning momentum outlasted the summer break and against the odds the hosts thrashed their recently top-flight rivals 4-1. City would put the disappointment of an opening day thumping behind them and we went on to finish 3rd and clinch an immediate return to Division One. Fired by the goals of future manager Ronnie Moore who topped the divisionâs goalscoring charts, Rotherham came a creditable 7th just 4 points adrift.
The clubs would only meet once more before the new millennium, when a Division One City knocked Third Division Rotherham out of the League Cup. Seems unlike us.
Once the Y2K bug had been safely negotiated the clubs would resume league hostilities, in what was then the Division One (formerly Division Two, now the Championship. Keep up). Basically for the next 3 years we would meet twice a season and draw twice a season, save for one 2-0 win for the Canaries in August 2003.
Not all of the draws were dull thoughâ¦ January 2004 saw a truly thrilling 4-4 stalemate at Millmoor. The game had a little of everything with a hat trick from Rotherham's Martin Butler, a hotly disputed penalty for Norwich, a half-time tunnel brawl, a Rotherham player and former goalscoring hero, now manager; Ronnie Moore sent to the stand. Both sides led twice, but it took a last minute goal from Damian Francis to earn a share of the spoils for City and sent the 2,700 Canary fans behind that goal wild.*
City would again earn promotion to the top-flight at the end of that season, meaning more years apart, during which time the clubs would share 5 relegations and 5 promotions between themselves before they met in the 2014/15. 2 more draws followed, including a 1-1 at Rotherhamâs new (for us at least) New York Stadium which included Lewis Grabban needlessly punching a man in the stomach and Gary Hooper scoring his seasonal wonder volley.
This seasonâs meeting saw one of the most iconic City goals as Wes Hoolahan sat most of the Rotherham defence on their arse and left Greg Halford still ambling towards the big screen as he rolled in the opening goal of a 3-1 win. Wouldnât that be nice again on Saturday?
*AlongComeNorwichâs Andrew Lawn was one of these and he would like to take this opportunity 13 years on to apologise to the lady in front of him who he accidently uppercutted to the back of the head in the midst of those celebrations. If it is any consolation his hand hurt for days afterwards. Probably more than said ladyâs head, his pain threshold has never been that high.