In this ‘remembering’ piece, we take a detailed look back at Adam Le Fondre’s time at Rotherham United…
Le Fondre got his first break in English football with his hometown club, Stockport County. His goalscoring form soon caught the eye of their rivals, as he joined Rochdale on loan in January 2007.
After scoring four in just seven games, his deal was made permanent. The forward top-scored for the Dale in back to back seasons, notching 38 times from his 98 league outings.
Rotherham United soon became interested in League Two’s top marksman. After long discussions, he signed for the club for an undisclosed fee in August 2009.
Speaking when he first signed for the Millers, Le Fondre told Sky Sports:
One of the main reasons that I came to Rotherham was their chances of gaining promotion this season, as have Rochdale to be fair, but I think the gaffer here, being a former striker himself, will help my game come on leaps and bounds, so hopefully we will do well this season and get promoted.
Obviously it is sad to leave a great club like Rochdale because we’ve had some great times since I joined them and the fans have always been great with me, but I just thought it was time to move on.
‘Alfie’ soon became a huge favourite at Rotherham United. He scored in his full-debut from the penalty spot, as Rotherham won 2-1 away at Grimsby Town.
His first game at the Don Valley Stadium was aptly against his former side, Rochdale. Le Fondre opened the scoring just before half time thanks to an assist from Nicky Law. Paul Warne got the winning goal in the second half as the Millers recorded another 2-1 victory.
He could not have wished for a better start – as he scored nine from his first 11 appearances for his new club. He went four games without a goal at that point, but he soon found his goalscoring touch again.
Millers boss Mark Robins left the club in September to take over at Barnsley. That did not affect Le Fondre though, as he was just as successful with his new manager, Ronnie Moore.
For the majority of the season, he was partnered in attack by Tom Pope, and they complemented each other really well. Kevin Ellison and Nicky Law also provided a lot of the support going forward.
It was a great season for Le Fondre and Rotherham, as they finished 5th to earn a place in the League Two play-offs. They faced Aldershot Town in the semi-finals, and they played the away leg first.
The encounter at the EBB stadium was tight, but the Millers got the all-important breakthrough late on. Le Fondre made the most of a defensive error to give Rotherham the advantage going into the second leg.
— The Millers scrapbook. (@millers1971AK) May 15, 2019
Le Fondre made a big impact in the second leg as well. He scored just before half time to put the Millers even further into the ascendency. Ellison scored with twenty minutes left to secure Rotherham a place at Wembley with a 3-0 aggregate victory.
Rotherham met Dagenham & Redbridge in the final for a place in League One. Sadly, it proved to be a disappointing afternoon for the Millers and Le Fondre.
Moore’s side went behind twice either side of half time, but Ryan Taylor equalised each time. The game was level with half an hour to go, but Jon Nurse scored the winning goal in the 70th minute to send Dagenham up.
It was a quiet afternoon for Le Fondre, but it was still a remarkable season for him personally. He finished the 2009/10 campaign with 30 goals from 51 games in all competitions, and he was named in the PFA League Two Team of the Year – along with Law and Ian Sharps.
Adam Le Fondre on Rotherham: "They are a brilliant club and I can’t thank them enough for the way they helped me progress my career" #rufc
— Jonathan Veal (@jonathandveal83) December 5, 2014
The striker continued his great form in a Millers shirt into his second season at the club. He got his opening goal of the campaign just nine minutes into Rotherham’s first game of the season.
Just two games later, he repeated an impressive feat he managed earlier his career at Rochdale. In a remarkable game at the Don Valley against Cheltenham Town, Le Fondre scored four as the Millers won 6-4 in a ten-goal thriller.
He continued this level of form throughout the season, as he spearheaded Rotherham’s push for promotion to League One. We got to January and teams a few divisions higher than Rotherham started to show interest in Le Fondre.
It was revealed in January that Huddersfield Town were chasing his signature. At that point, the Terriers were flying high near the top of League One. Despite this interest, the winter window ended with Le Fondre still a Rotherham player.
The forward did not let the failed transfer get him down, as his good form continued for the remainder of the season. His 50th goal for the club from just 87 outings came as the Millers beat Accrington Stanley 2-0 at the Don Valley.
Rotherham manager Moore left the club in March, and he was later replaced by Andy Scott in April 2013. The Millers were primed for a play-off place before their season fizzled out.
Under Scott, Rotherham managed just one win from their last five games, which included four draws, as they finished 9th, just two points shy of the play-off places.
Despite this disappointing end to the campaign, it was still a brilliant season for Le Fondre individually. He featured in all-but-one of Rotherham’s League Two games. He got 23 goals and six assists as he finished the season as their top goalscorer once again.
In the lead-up to the 2011/12 campaign, it was clear that Le Fondre could be on his way out of the club. Despite him always saying he was happy at Rotherham, eventually, a big move was going to tempt him away.
— Rotherham United (@OfficialRUFC) December 5, 2015
Even though rumours were constantly circling about his future, he started the new season still with Rotherham. His level of professionalism was typified as he bagged four goals from his final five games for the club.
On 27 August 2011, he signed for Championship side Reading in a deal worth around £350,000. He enjoyed a fantastic few years with the Londoners, both in the Premier League and Championship.
In his only season in the top flight, he scored 12 from 34 appearances for the Royals. In the years since he has been a regular scorer for several Championship sides.
Now 33, Le Fondre has spent the last two years playing for Sydney FC in the A-League. He managed 41 goals from just 60 games, before signing for Mumbai City FC on loan earlier this month.
Le Fondre was a superb servant for Rotherham and he has rightly gone down as one of, if not the best striker the Millers have had in this modern era.
He departed the club with a record of 58 goals from 105 games in all competitions. Le Fondre is one of the best pure goalscorers to ever play for the club. It has been very pleasing to see that ‘Alfie’ has enjoyed such a great career since leaving Rotherham.
We thought there was no better way to finish this piece than to let our the readers watch some of the goals that turned Le Fondre into such a beloved figure with the Millers…