For our latest ‘remembering’ piece, we take a look back at Alex Revell’s time at Rotherham United. The forward became a cult hero for the Millers in a spell highlighted by a certain goal at Wembley…
Revell first joined Rotherham at the start of the 2011/12 season. The forward had been playing for Leyton Orient in League One. He scored 13 league goals from 39 outings in the season before this move.
Andy Scott was the man who signed him. The former Millers boss is one of their most unpopular managers of recent times. But signing Revell was one of the best things that he did for the club.
Revell enjoyed a successful first season. He played alongside Lewis Grabban in attack for most of the campaign. They struck up a good partnership as they netted 28 League Two goals between them.
OTD 2011 Morecambe 3 Rotherham Utd 3.The Millers fight back from 3down to earn a point thanks to goals from Lewis Grabban,Gareth Evans & Alex Revell,future Miller Laurence Wilson scored 2 for Morecambe,@KEVIN11ELLISON also appeared for the home side #rufc 25.10.11 pic.twitter.com/wW4Cu0fM96
— The Millers scrapbook. (@millers1971AK) October 25, 2020
Rotherham’s final season at the Don Valley Stadium was an underwhelming one, though. They fell away from promotion contention which led to Scott’s sacking in March 2012.
None other than Steve Evans was brought in to replace him and he had the honour of managing Rotherham during their first season at the newly opened New York Stadium.
As was always the case with Evans, he was busy during the summer transfer window. 15 new players were brought in ahead of the 2012/13 season.
Despite this, Revell’s role in the team was not impacted as he still managed to start 34 League Two games that season. He only scored six times that year, which led to criticism from some fans.
But after a while, this turned around as fans realised just how important his tireless work is to the team. He grew to be a fantastic target man and he played an integral role in linking play up for the Millers.
The 2012/13 season was an up and down one for Rotherham under Evans. There were heavy early season defeats to Port Vale and Dagenham and Redbridge. But five straight victories at the end of the campaign secured them promotion back up to League One after six years in the fourth tier…
Now Rotherham were back in League One, the club had their sights on yet another promotion. This was always going to be a tough task with the likes of Wolves, Brentford and Preston competing against them.
But they were high on confidence and Evans was creating something special. They were busy again in the summer, but Revell was once again a mainstay in Evans’ side.
The 2013/14 season is looked back on as one of Rotherham’s very best in recent memory. With a bit of tinkering along the way, Evans put together a superb team.
James Tavernier, Lee Freckington, Kieran Agard and so on… The Millers had an abundance of riches throughout the side. Yet, Revell continued to play a huge part.
He started in 42 of their 46 League One games as he partnered Kieran Agard in attack. Agard came into his own in this season after he initially joined the club in 2012.
The former Everton man netted 26 times across all competitions, as his goals helped fire Rotherham into the play-offs. But without all the work done by Revell, Agard and co would not have scored half the goals they did that season.
This campaign was comfortably Revell’s best as a Rotherham player. Week in week out he tormented defences and he was a nightmare to deal with. His heading and hold up play was massively important, but he also held up his end of the bargain in terms of goalscoring.
After a fantastic 46 game season, Rotherham finished fourth in League One. This set them up with a tough two-legged tie against Preston in the play-off semi-finals.
It was only right after how much of an impact that he made during the season that Revell carried this form over into the play-offs.
The Millers went one goal in front in the first leg at Deepdale thanks to the forward. In the 22nd minute, Ben Pringle chipped it forward towards Revell.
The forward smartly touched it past his marker and advanced towards goal. He calmly finished it past Declan Rudd to give the Millers the lead.
Preston would later equalise in phenomenal fashion through Joe Garner. But in the second leg, Rotherham put in a trademark display. They picked up a 3-1 victory at the New York Stadium that saw them through to Wembley…
The Millers faced Leyton Orient in the play-off final. The two sides were level on 86 points in third and fourth after 46 games. So it was fitting that these two would fight it out for a place in the Championship.
Rotherham’s dreams of earning back to back promotions looked to be in tatters by half time, however.
Orient had taken a 2-0 lead into the break thanks to goals from Moses Odubajo and Dean Cox. That side of the ground was buzzing, while the Rotherham end were deflated.
As we all know, 2-0 is a dangerous lead and this Rotherham team had shown time and time again that they have the character to fight back from being behind.
But doing this at Wembley, with all the pressure that brings, was going to be difficult. Rotherham were well up against it, but thankfully, they rose to the task…
In the 54th minute, Revell got a goal back for Rotherham. Pringle sent in a teasing free-kick from the right which was eventually stabbed into the net by the striker.
Just five minutes later, Revell got his second…
Just like against Preston, Pringle chipped it forward, this time towards Agard. Nathan Clarke headed it down but it fell perfectly for Revell. He took it down before he unleashed an out of this world strike that dipped over Jamie Jones to level the game in the most dramatic of fashions…
From this point on, the momentum was with Rotherham. The final went all the way to penalties. With the Millers leading 6-5, Chris Dagnall’s attempt was saved by Adam Collin as euphoric scenes erupted on the pitch and in the stands.
Every time Rotherham have played at Wembley, a player has scored a brace:
1996 — Nigel Jemson
2010 — Ryan Taylor
2014 — Alex Revell
2018 — Richard Wood#RUFC
— Rob Staton (@robstaton) May 27, 2018
Revell made 24 appearances in the Championship for Rotherham before he departed to join Cardiff City. After a fantastic three-plus-year spell, his time at the club was over. For all that he gave to Rotherham, he deserved this big-money move before he retired.
The striker left the Millers after making 170 appearances. He scored 34 and assisted 20 in that time. He left after making memories at Rotherham that will last forever. It is clear after hearing from some fans that he will always be adored by the Millers faithful…
Revell made 30 appearances for Cardiff across two seasons. He went onto have successful spells at Northampton and Stevenage before he announced his retirement in July 2019.
Upon retiring, he took up a coaching role at Stevenage. Graham Westley left the club in February 2020 and Revell was appointed as his replacement. The League Two outfit avoided the drop after Macclesfield were handed a points deduction.
Stevenage currently sit 22nd in the fourth tier, but they have games in hand on those above them. Who knows, as Revell builds up more managerial experience, he may end up back at Rotherham in a few years…
There is no better way to end a piece that has looked back at Revell’s Rotherham career than by letting you watch his defining moment once again.
So here it is, thanks for the memories Revs…