In this special edition of our ‘Retro Review’ series, we look back on the last ever game at Milmoor.
This game came at the end of what should have been a successful season for the Millers. After being relegated into League Two the previous year, under Mark Robins, Rotherham United was on course for the play-offs and hoping for an immediate return to League One.
Sadly, their long-term financial woes continued. With the Millers right in the play-off mix, in March it was announced that the club had entered administration and they were subsequently given a ten-point deduction.
What makes it worse is that financial troubles forced them out of their home at Milmoor. This is a stadium that Rotherham spent over 100 years playing in.
There is a lot of history in that ground, so it was always going to be a very emotional day when Rotherham played the last game in their beloved ground. These were certainly not the circumstances they would have wanted to leave the ground in either.
Despite all of this adversity, this just acted to galvanise the team, which sums up the character and heart of Rotherham United. They had won three in a row leading to the final game of the season to cement 9th place in League Two.
This all leads to May 3, 2008. Rotherham United vs Barnet. It was one of the most bittersweet days in the club’s history, as Rotherham hoped to close the curtain on this era for the club in fine style.
RUFC Starting XI vs Barnet (May 3, 2008)
The game got going and the Millers lined up against a Barnet team that included Albert Adomah and Jason Puncheon.
Also, Michael Oliver was the referee that day. Oliver would go on to be one of the prime officials in the country and he has travelled around the globe refereeing in various competitions.
The game got going and it was the Millers who started it the better. The players and staff for Rotherham will have been desperate to get a win to send their fans home happy on this tough day.
Luckily enough, a huge chance came just eight minutes into the game. Dale Tonge’s shot caused Barnet problems and they could not quite clear their lines.
The ball fell to the advancing Jamie Green, who smashed the ball home to put his boyhood team in front.
Rotherham should have doubled their lead just after the half-hour mark. The chance fell to Danny Harrison, but he did not get clean contact on his shot as it flew over the crossbar.
Barnet came out playing much better in the second-half and they had chances to equalise. But the Millers defended well to maintain their lead. The visitor’s best chance came as Marc Joseph was forced into a goal-line clearance after a Puncheon shot was heading towards goal.
Rotherham’s best chance of the 2nd-half came through Jamie Yates, who was subbed on and hit the post for the home side.
But this tight game came to an end and it finished 1-0 to the Millers. The fans may have hoped for a few more goals, but this still was a fitting end to life at Milmoor, with a local lad scoring the winner.
We have spoken to Green, who reminisced about that day which was a special one both for him and the club:
“On that day we were fully aware that Jamie Oliver was paying a visit to Millmoor on the back of the schools healthy eating program. It was great to meet him. He came into the dressing room asked the lads a few questions, to see who cooks themselves etc… Not many lads did if I can remember!
“It was still very early in my career and think I had only made a handful of appearances so I was still nervous before the game! Once on the pitch nerves turned into energy and I just loved to get forward and luckily enough the 8th minute my chance arrived.
“I can just remember striking the ball and it felt like I had hardly touched the ball, which is the feeling you get when you know you have struck it sweet! To see it go in as my first professional goal was what every boy dreams of and I was elated as you can see from my celebration!
“I had a tough task of marking Albert Adomah who was on a few Premier League club’s radars. I just remember thinking throughout the game being quite torn.
“I wanted us to score again but then again I didn’t as I wanted to have the only goal of the game. It wasn’t until after the match and weeks after that it went down as the last goal at Millmoor! These are great memories for me personally and all my family.”
This was certainly a poignant day for all involved with Rotherham United. This was the final page in a huge chapter for the club playing at Milmoor.
They were heading into an era of great uncertainty, with a move to Sheffield’s Don Valley Stadium looming. But what they did not know then was this was the starting point in a huge upswing for the club.
New owner Tony Stewart introduced himself to the Millers faithful on this day. The new chairman would have a massive impact on the club and the town as a whole.
He brought the club from the abyss and the brink of liquidation, right back to where it belongs. Under Stewart, the Millers have enjoyed a massive boom period since the move to the New York Stadium.
The game against Barnet was a significant turning point for the Millers. But no one could really have anticipated just how successful they have been in the past few years.
Fast forward to today, we have a true Rotherham United team and manager we can be proud of, performing well at the top of League One. If you were told this would be the case 12 years ago, not many people would have believed you.
OTD 2008 #rufc 1 Barnet 0…Last ever game at Millmoor ends with a victory thanks to a goal from @jammy_green .Tony Stewart welcomed to the club by the fans before the match. @Marcjoseph_MJ @Jyates1988 3.5.08 pic.twitter.com/psA5WxNkWb
— The Millers scrapbook. (@millers1971AK) May 3, 2020