The ACN Match Review – Rotherham (a)


Scoring goals, having fun, and... <hauntingly familiar record scratch noise>. But Matthew McGregor isn't panicking just yet.

The line-up

If only we could have been unchanged from Huddersfield. But alas, Sarge is out until January, probably covering 25 games. Judging by today, that is going to cost us. 

It was a good transfer window in my opinion, albeit not the exciting final day you could hope for. Anyone in doubt at how good it’s been should look at the league table. And it’s not just the incoming, it’s also who hasn’t left. It was good business for a club in our circumstances. But we’re going to have to play better up front than we managed today if we’re going to press on. 

The late night deadline day activity was all fun and memes but all came too late to have any impact on the team sheet today. 

Hurrah moment

A somewhat tepid game all told, especially when compared to how we started the season. But it was to be expected at some point and nothing from today should panic us. Fassnacht’s goal was very well built and then taken and got a hearty hurrah, and there wasn’t much else to celebrate so we’ll go with that. 

Boooo moment

Off the field I had the grim experience of seeing someone in the away end wearing a ‘Norwich billy boys’ shirt, combining the Norwich crest with the red hand of Ulster. The billy boys song, made famous by Rangers fans, sings of wading through the blood of Catholics. We don’t want racism, homophobia or sexism in our club. We don’t want sectarianism either. 

On the field, it was double annoying to see Jordan Hughill celebrating his goal in front of the Norwich fans. He has every right to do so, just as we have every right to think he’s a bit of a plum because of it. My Along Come Norwich Jordan t-shirt is going in the bin when I get home. 

Hero of the match

It was a flat performance from a team that maybe was feeling the strain of a packed August, including lots of travel. One stand out – for periods at least – was Kenny McClean, who had endeavour and grit and a bit of creativity. What was lacking was an outlet up front. 

The atmosphere

This was my first trip to Rotherham’s new pad. It’s a big step up from their last place but it could hardly have been worse. 

The home fans were quiet, even allowing for their 9,000 numbers. The first proper noise came at 4.58pm. 

The Norwich fans were remarkable given the offer served up on the field. Loud throughout the first half and for much of the second, only falling away as the team did later on in the game. 

Lots has been said about City Elite, and all the complimentary chat is correct. They’ve simply made going to games more enjoyable, and it is better for the team too I would imagine. 

It’s worth saying, though, a word about fan culture. You can’t cook up what city elite have done in a planning meeting at head office. So many clubs have tried and failed to make fan culture happen. They’ve failed because it’s not possible for clubs to generate fan culture, it’s for the fans to do that. The club can either accommodate and make space, or they’re getting in the way and stifling things.

That’s uncomfortable for clubs and sometimes it’s messy. But if the club want fan groups to generate the excitement and noise, they first need to understand fan culture and their role (their very limited role) in it. If you do too much to control it, you kill it. Choices, choices.

Our post-match takeaway

This was my first away day of the season and given how things have been going, I had high hopes. In the end this was a very along come Norwich sort of a game. Our results, their results, our expectations, Hughill’s presence, even the third kit, all contributing to the sky high xACN. 

But at the same time, these things happen. Rotherham are better than their reputation and position suggest. We were due a drop off. They played well, we didn’t. 

It was a disappointing result, but on its own, it shouldn’t panic anyone. And in the context of the season so far as a whole, we’re still better off than we expected to be. We move on. 


  1. Paul Webb says:

    A typical review from a fan who thinks his team is bigger than the opposition. Rotherham’s ground is universally recognised as one of the best stadiums around.

    1. John says:

      Paul, I’ve read and re-read the article, and nowhere can I see any criticism of Rotherham’s stadium.
      It’s great, and as Matthew states, it could never be worse than what Millmoor had become.
      Unfortunately it seems that the Norwich players were those who thought they were bigger/better than the opposition, and I look forward to Rotherham having similar results against those in the division who think that playing in the Championship is beneath them!

      O T B C

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