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The history of football in the South Yorkshire town of Rotherham is rather an involved one and early mentions are of a Rotherham FC playing in 1870 at a field on Doncaster Road and a club named Rotherham Wanderers playing on Jarvis’s Field in Clifton Lane in 1872, writes Malcolm Johnson.
The present-day Rotherham United club, as its name suggests, was formed by the amalgamation of two clubs, with the earliest of these dating from 1877. This was a club originally called Thornhill FC who played at the Red House Ground not far from the site of the later Millmoor. Later changing their name to Thornhill United they competed in the Sheffield & Hallamshire League.
A year after the formation of Thornhill a club was founded called Lunar Rovers (said to be so-named because the only opportunities for games were on holidays or moonlit nights) playing at Clifton Lane cricket ground. Struggling to find a permanent ground, in 1882 the club moved to Cocker’s Field then to the West End Ground in Wellgate by which time they had changed their name to simply Rotherham, later on becoming Rotherham Town and eventually returning to Clifton Lane where in 1887 a stand with a capacity of 500 was erected. In 1889 they joined Lincoln City as founder members of the Midland League meaning that the first games played in Rotherham by the Imps – or the Citizens as they were then known – took place at the Clifton Lane ground. However, this was short-lived as difficulties with the tenancy agreement from the Cricket Club meant that the Town again had to move in 1891, this time to a ground at Clifton Grove. This was located to the east of Rotherham town centre and featured a covered seated stand which had been moved from Clifton Lane and an open seated stand behind one of the goals.
Rotherham Town were champions of the Midland League in 1892 and 1893, and were subsequently elected to the Second Division of the Football League in 1893. This meant further visits by Lincoln City who had been founder members of that division a year before. However, after three undistinguished seasons Rotherham failed to gain re-election and subsequently went out of business. The last ever Football League game at Clifton Grove was actually played against Lincoln in March 1896 with just 300 spectators watching a 2–2 draw. After the club folded, the ground was subsequently used for housing.
In 1899, a second club with the name of Rotherham FC was formed with the amalgamation of Rotherham Casuals and Rotherham Grammar School and in 1903 joined the Midland League. On becoming a limited company in 1904 a new name of Rotherham Athletic was adopted, and a year later they changed their name again, becoming the second club to be named Rotherham Town and received visits from Lincoln City in the two further Midland League seasons played by the ‘Citizens’ following re-election failures.
Meanwhile, Thornhill United had progressed from playing in the Sheffield & Hallamshire League to also joining the Midland League in 1903, and now considering themselves to be the pre-eminent club in the town changed their name to Rotherham County two years later. In 1907 they were forced to move from their Red House ground as it did not meet the requirements for FA Cup ties to be staged there, and re-located to a patch of land described as a grass plot of not much practical utility leased from the Midland Railway. Known as Millmoor, and on the site of a demolished flour mill, it was located about a mile west of the town centre and had been in use for football since the 1890s by Rotherham Church Institute.
The club asked for help from volunteers to largely level the ground’s steep slope and this was followed by the erection of two grandstands, which had been transferred from the Red House ground on the opposite side of town. By 1913, the local paper was calling the new stadium ‘A paragon of what a football ground should be’.
In the Midland League after failing to gain re-election to the Football League at the end of the previous season Lincoln City’s first ever game at Millmoor therefore took place in that competition on the last day of the 1908/09 season. Already confirmed as league champions they ran out 4-2 winners with goals from centre forward William Morris, in his only season with the club, left winger Harry Grundy and inside forward Harold Wadsley with his 5th goal in 7 games.
City were a Second Division club once more by the time of their next visit to Millmoor in November 1912, and two goals from centre forward Donald Slade and one from Thomas Wield saw a 3-1 victory FA Cup victory over a Rotherham County side who would go on to win the Midland League championship for the second year in a row. By the time they had won it four times in a row football had been suspended for the First World War. For the first post-war season Rotherham were elected to the Football League with the first league game at Millmoor seeing a 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest in August 1919. Lincoln City’s first Football League match at Millmoor therefore took place in January 1920, suffering a 3-0 defeat on their way to a next-to-bottom finish in the Second Division and yet another failed re-election plea.
Later in 1920 the original part of the Main Stand at Millmoor was constructed at a cost of £4,000, but four seasons in the lower reaches of the Second Division led to relegation to Division Three (North) in 1923 and another visit from Lincoln who had been founder members of that division two seasons previously. Rotherham found things a little easier in the lower level and were on their way to a fourth-place finish at the time of City’s visit towards the end of the season and recorded a 2-0 win over visitors about to finish four from the other end of the division.
The 1924/25 season, however, saw something of a reversal of fortunes for the two clubs, as ‘Pal’ Moore scored a mid-table City’s first league goal on the ground in a 1-1 draw in mid-December. Bottom of the division at the time Rotherham remained there for the rest of the season, eventually finishing 11 points adrift.
By this time, it had become clear that to have two professional clubs in Rotherham was not sustainable. Talks had begun in February 1925 with Midland League Rotherham Town and just prior to County making their application for re-election in early May the two clubs merged to form Rotherham United. Days later the reformed club was formally re-elected to the Football League under its new name.
Lincoln City’s first visit to Millmoor to take on the newly-named Rotherham United came in April 1926 and centre forward Harold Andrews made it eleven goals in seven games for him, with a hat-trick in City’s 3-1 win as both teams finished in mid-table. It was on the very last day of the following season when Andrews, now operating at inside-left, scored again in City’s 4-2 win, the other goals coming from full back James Bissett and a brace from legendary striker Billy Dinsdale. With both teams about to finish in the mid to lower half of the table a consequent lack of interest may account for the low attendance at the game, just 2,155 being present.
There was a 4-2 scoreline again the following season, with another goal for Dinsdale, two for Thomas Maidment and one from winger Charles Bosbury. Placed fifth at the time of the game in March 1928, City went on to finish runners-up, but well behind champions Bradford (Park Avenue) while it was mid-table again for Rotherham.
During 1928 part of the terracing received a cover for the first time, with the erection of a roof over the central section of the Millmoor Lane side of the ground opposite the main stand. The following August saw a 3-2 win for the home side, City’s goals coming from left winger Frank Pegg and the long-serving Harry Pringle. After the high placing of the previous season City slipped slightly to finish sixth while Rotherham were again no better than mid-table. Almost exactly a year later, in August 1929 in what was again their first away match of the season City again went down to defeat, this time by 1-0. However, after a poor start City improved, finishing fifth, while Rotherham did the opposite to find themselves just two points clear of the re-election zone.
By the time of their game at Millmoor in December 1930 City had been at the top of the table for a period of three months and came away with a 2-2 draw, with another goal from Pegg and one from Dinsdale who had returned to Lincoln that season after a spell with Bradford (Park Avenue). City remained in the solitary promotion place until two defeats in the last three games of the season saw them finish runners-up, while Rotherham had another lower-half finish.
It was between May 1931 and July 1933 that greyhound racing took place at Millmoor before it then had to cease on the order of the Football League who did not take kindly to the growing popularity of a rival sport.
After twelve games on the ground City finally prevented the opposition scoring, with Frank Keetley’s goal enough to win the match in November 1931. The Imps went on to finish one better than the previous season, winning the championship on goal average to achieve promotion for the first time, while it was third from bottom again for the Millers.
After two seasons in the higher division City were back at Millmoor again in February 1935. Perhaps due to goalkeeper John Hammond deputising for regular Dan McPhail the Imps were beaten 5-0 to suffer their heaviest defeat on the ground. However, they finished fourth while Rotherham, having a better season than previously were ninth. City were top of the table at the time of their next visit the following October, but a 1-1 draw, the goal coming from stocky left winger Charles Bulger dropped them to second place and they again finished the season in fourth place with Rotherham in mid-table.
In December 1936 the Imps were once again doing well but despite a goal from John Campbell, scoring for his seventh game in a row, went down to a 3-1 defeat. With the usual consistency they showed for most of the 1920s and 30s they had another runners-up finish, while Rotherham, also fairly consistent, were in the lower half of the table. However, by the March of the following season the Millers, in sixth place at the time were challenging City in second for promotion. The top of the table clash attracted the highest attendance for a meeting of the two clubs at Millmoor so far with over 10,000 present to see City suffer their second-heaviest defeat on the ground as they went down 4-0. This result allowed Rotherham to go ahead of them into third place, but both clubs then fell away slightly with City finishing seventh, one place below Rotherham.
The beginning of December 1938 saw City back to winning ways on the ground with two goals from burly centre forward Walter Ponting and one from left winger Joseph Clare producing a 3-1 win. However, the last pre-World War Two season was a poor one for City, as they finished well below mid-table Rotherham.
After the war the Football League did not resume until the 1946/47 season, but the FA Cup was played during 1945/46 with all matches up to the sixth round stage being played over two legs. City visited Millmoor for a Second Round first leg tie which they lost 2-1, the goal coming again from a left winger in Geoff Marlow.
After a fairly undistinguished league career so far Rotherham now became a force to be reckoned with in the post-war period, and with Lincoln, after a slow initial season, carrying on where they had left off in the 1930s a great rivalry developed between the two clubs over the next few years.
However, the Imps were in a Rotherham-like position in the lower half of the table when they visited Millmoor in early May 1947 to take on their second-placed hosts. On their way to winning all but one of their home matches in the season Rotherham were still in with a chance of catching leaders Doncaster and the game attracted their highest attendance of the season. Rotherham’s 3-0 win saw them remain ten points behind Doncaster who were on their way to setting a record points total, while City recovered to finish twelfth. Just under a year later, the two teams were neck and neck at the top of the division, several points clear of the rest with City a point behind with two games to play. This again drew the biggest attendance of the season for Rotherham, and also by far the largest crowd ever to see City play on the ground as 20,177 crammed into Millmoor to see the Imps triumph 2-0 with goals from their two wingers James McCormick and Willie Windle. Leapfrogging their hosts, the Imps remained at the top by winning their final game to win promotion to Division Two.
City’s stay in the higher level was the shortest possible, so they were back at Millmoor in September 1949 to face Rotherham who had just finished as runners-up for the third season in a row. The Imps had made only an average start to life back in the third tier and were in mid-table with the Millers three places below them. Two goals from big centre forward Jock Dodds and one from inside left Roy Finch gave a City a 3-1 win as both teams had improved second halves to the season finishing in the top six.
It was in 1949 that the Millmoor ground was purchased by the club for £5,500 and this was followed by the concreting of the terraces.
The next-to-last game of the 1950/51 season saw Rotherham, who had been top of the table ever since Christmas and already assured of the championship beat a fourth-placed City 3-0. Promoted for the first time in their history, Rotherham had been joined in the Second Division by City by the time of their next meeting at Millmoor just under two years later. Roy Finch was on the mark again for City, along with a goal by top scorer Andy Graver but the home side ran out 3-2 winners. The Imps at the time, as so often in the 1950s were flirting with relegation but recovered to finish 15th with the Millers, who were to win only one more game that season three places above them. It was during this season that the highest ever attendance at Millmoor was recorded in December, 1952 when 25,170 fans saw a fourth-placed Rotherham take on top of the table Sheffield United.
In April 1954 City were at Millmoor in their last away match of the season with Johnnie Garvie the scorer in a 4-1 defeat as Rotherham went on to their best league placing so far of fifth while City again finished in the lower half of the table. The following Christmas Day saw more goals conceded in this fixture by City as they went down 3-0. The result put City in 16th place which was where they finished for the second season in a row, while Rotherham beat their previous season’s achievement with the highest league placing in their history of third, and in fact only missing out on promotion to the top flight on goal average despite beating Liverpool 6-1 in their last game of the season.
In March 1956 City improved on their recent results on the ground with a 2-2- draw, with goals from Roy Finch and centre forward Tommy Northcott on their way to their highest league finish since 1918 of eighth while Rotherham slumped to 19th place. Results were back to normal though just over a year later with City going down to a fourth 3-0 defeat in their last nine games on the ground. A seventh away defeat in a row, the Imps finished in 19th place although several points clear of relegation, with Rotherham one place above them.
The first improvement to the ground for nearly thirty years saw the Railway End terrace given a roof in 1957 but there was no change to the access to that end which involved going down the narrow alleyway of Millmoor Lane at the side of the ground.
A by-now rare win for City on the ground – and which turned out to be their last-ever at Millmoor – came the following December with goals from veteran ex-Rotherham winger Jack Grainger and full back Harry Troops in a 2-1 scoreline. The Millers again struggled, finishing 18th, but City’s win was to be their last for the next four months until they embarked on the ‘great escape’ of winning the last six games of the season to avoid relegation by a single point.
In April 1959, City failed to score at Millmoor for the third time in five matches there, losing 1-0. In another season of struggle, this came in an end-of-season run of five defeats in six which again saw them avoid relegation by a point but still finish above Rotherham on goal average.
1959/60 was the last decent season in Division Two for City, with a mid-table finish, but a year after their last visit to Millmoor they again went down 1-0. Rotherham also enjoyed a better season, finishing eighth. The end of August 1960 saw the last league meeting of the two clubs at Millmoor for several years and brought a 2-0 defeat for City as they failed to score at the ground for the third season in a row. It was during that autumn that floodlights were installed at Millmoor at a cost of £20,000.
Bottom of the table at the time of their defeat the Imps were barely able to rise above it for the remainder of the 1960/61 season bringing to an end their nine-season stay in the second tier. Rotherham saw a lower-half finish and they remained in Division Two, mainly finishing just above or just below mid-table for another seven seasons until relegation in 1968. Further increases in the amount of shelter for spectators took place in 1964 when the Main Stand roof was extended over the front paddock by the addition of an overhanging cover, and in 1968 when the home end on Masborough Street was roofed. This was known as the Tivoli End after the cinema that stood on the opposite side of the road.
Having slipped straight through from Division Two to Division Four in successive seasons it was as a basement level club that the Imps paid their next visit to Millmoor in an FA Cup tie in January 1965. To reach the Third Round the Imps had beaten Tranmere Rovers and Third Division Hull City to brighten an increasingly gloomy season which saw them outside the re-election zone only on goal average going into the match, with Second Division Rotherham in mid-table. With the long-serving Bill Anderson, manager throughout the 1950s having been more or less ‘kicked upstairs’ as ‘General Manager’ this was the second game with recently-appointed coach Con Moulson in charge of playing matters. Three goals in the space of eleven minutes saw the home side in control of the game at half time and although City gave a more spirited performance after the break, they paid the price for attempting to play a short passing game on a heavy pitch going down to a 5-1 defeat, the goal coming from centre forward Bud Houghton.
It was over eight years before the Imps’ next visit to Millmoor by which time Rotherham, after five seasons in the third tier, had joined them in Division Four. The first meeting between the two clubs at that level, however, was a first round League Cup tie. Managed by Graham Taylor in his first full season in charge the Imps led at half time through midfielder Colin Symm but lost their way in a twenty-minute spell to exit the competition in a 2-1 defeat. They were back at Millmoor the following April for the league fixture but again conceded two goals, this time without reply, for a fifth successive defeat on the ground. Around mid-table at the time that was where both teams finished, with City one point ahead of Rotherham.
The two clubs met again at Millmoor in another League Cup First Round tie in the 1974/75 season and after trailing to a first half penalty the Imps equalised with a penalty of their own put away by centre half Sam Ellis. The replay at Sincil Bank also ended 1-1 meaning a second replay back at Millmoor. This time another Ellis penalty was not enough and City went out of the competition by 2-1. Remarkably, City were back at Millmoor again just four days later for the league meeting between the two clubs. This was also my first visit to the ground, easily reached in the days when the town’s main railway station was at Masborough – not very convenient for the town centre but very much so for the football ground, being more or less just across the road and around the corner. With Rotherham top of the early-season league table, City were two points behind them in ninth place going into the game. Trailing twice in the match City’s equalising goals came from striker John Ward and midfielder Dave Smith.
Rotherham remained in and around the promotion places all season, eventually finishing third while City missed out in fifth place on goal average. However, City’s triumphant promotion campaign the following year meant a gap of only one season before the two clubs met again in the third tier for the first time in 26 years.
In early March 1977 City were in tenth place, but with games in hand were hopeful of still mounting a promotion challenge while Rotherham were right up there in third place. The attendance of 10,045 was Rotherham’s highest of the season so far and the majority of them went home happy after the Millers’ Alan Crawford hit the only goal of the game just before the break. Rotherham eventually missed out on promotion on goal difference with City back in ninth place, and by the time of the next meeting at Millmoor the following October manager Graham Taylor had left the Imps to be replaced by his assistant George Kerr.
Rotherham had continued where they left off the previous season and although 8th were only one point off top place while City under Kerr had struggled and were currently in the relegation zone. With some doubt over Kerr’s future the Imps players nevertheless fought for a well-earned point in a what was a first-ever goalless draw for City at Millmoor. Rotherham fell away badly in the second half of the season and finished one place above the relegation zone, in fact four places below City who showed some improvement following the replacement of George Kerr as manager by Willie Bell. However, City started the following season under Bell even worse than they had under his predecessor and were already in the bottom four in early September 1978. In an attempt to improve the team Bell had brought in former Scottish international midfielder Jim McCalliog and he made his debut in this match but the Imps were no match for the Rotherham side, and former Imps legend Dave Smith rubbed salt into the wounds by scoring the second goal in their 2-0 win. The Millers again saw a lower half of the table finish, and after the defeat at Millmoor put City bottom of the table what was where they finished despite the replacement of Bell by Colin Murphy as manager.
City’s relegation meant another gap before the two teams met again with Rotherham winning promotion to the Second Division two years later only to be relegated again two years after that. Rotherham’s stay in the second tier saw the installation of seating which was bolted onto the terracing beneath the covered centre section of the Millmoor Lane Side, followed by further seats being put on the terracing at one side of it under a basic cover. This made the ground capacity 21,000 with a total of 3,400 seated
Meanwhile, under Colin Murphy City returned to the Third Division in 1981 so the two teams met again at that level at Millmoor on the second day of January 1984. After narrowly missing out on promotion at the end of the previous season hopes had been high for the new campaign, but the Imps had been in and around mid-table all season and they were 13th going into this match. Rotherham, after a reasonable start under former Imps manager George Kerr had slipped to 20th and there was little change for either club after a 1-1 draw, City’s goal coming from Rotherham defender Nigel Johnson to give them the lead. However, on another muddy Millmoor pitch the home side equalised five minutes from time through later Imps player Kevin Kilmore in a game which had been ten-a-side since the 15th minute following the sendings-off of City striker Gordon Hobson and Rotherham defender Gerry Forrest.
With City finishing the 1983/84 season in mid-table and Rotherham recovering to finish well clear of relegation they met again at Millmoor the following September. It was the second league game of the new season, and with both sides having failed to score in their respective first matches that continued with a goalless draw. City went on to have an undistinguished season with their first win not coming until the beginning of October with a final placing of 19th. Rotherham, after challenging for promotion in mid-season fell away badly, losing their last five games of the season to finish in mid-table leading to the replacement of George Kerr as manager by former Leeds United star Norman Hunter.
City also had a new manager by the time of what was again both clubs’ second league game of the season at Millmoor in August 1985, Colin Murphy having left to be replaced by his assistant John Pickering. In the absence of marquee close season signing Bob Latchford, injured in the first game of the season, and with fellow strikers Devon White and Warren Ward initially found wanting the game saw a partnership up front of loanee Steve Burke from Queens Park Rangers and tall winger John McGinley deployed in that role for the first time. But it was a typically depressing Millmoor scoreline of 1-0 to the home side with City only really looking like mounting any sort of attacking threat after the home side had taken the lead with 10 minutes to go. City’s season turned into one of those reminiscent of ten years before with John Pickering sacked in mid-December to be replaced by George Kerr. In his second d spell as manager Kerr was unable to prevent relegation in 21st place while it was the usual mid-table finish for Rotherham.
Worse was to follow for City as they fell straight through the Fourth Division to become the first club to suffer automatic relegation to the GM Vauxhall Conference. Rotherham also suffered troubled times, especially off the field with huge debts threatening to put them out of business. The club changed hands more than once before it was placed in the hands of the Administrator, and only the intervention of chairman Ken Booth, the owner of the neighbouring scrapyard, saved it from folding when he bought the club in 1987. On the field, Rotherham suffered relegation in 1988 just as City were bouncing straight back into the league with the returned Colin Murphy in charge, so the two clubs met again at Millmoor on 5th November 1988. There were no fireworks for City however, as Rotherham went to the top of the table with a deserved 2-0 win as only veteran keeper Mark Wallington kept the score down in a game which saw defender Clive Evans sent off near the end. It was a third defeat in a row for City without scoring a goal as they slipped to below mid-table
This game turned out to be my last ever visit to Millmoor, and the recent closure of the Masborough station to be replaced by the present-day Rotherham Central meant a slightly longer walk to the ground.
City finished an inconsistent season in a rather disappointing 10th place while Rotherham after a slight mid-season dip in form took the championship to make an immediate return to Division Three. However, after two seasons they were back in Division Four again with a game against City just before Christmas 1991. After another 10th place finish City had parted with Colin Murphy again and after a disastrous but brief spell under Allan Clarke were now managed by their former defender Steve Thompson. After a poor start to the season City were in seventeenth place with Rotherham sixth. For only the second time in their last eight visits to Millmoor the Imps did manage to score a goal thanks to a header from defender Gary West late in the first half. However, West was then sent off after 63 minutes and City were reduced to nine men six minutes later when striker Jason Lee was also dismissed. The eight outfield men couldn’t prevent a Rotherham equaliser but held on for the last 18 minutes of the game for a 1-1 draw.
City saw a gradual improvement in results in the second half of the season, winning their last seven games to finish 10th while Rotherham also saw a steady improvement to finish runners-up to Burnley and return to the third tier again.
During the 1990s, relocation to a new all-seater stadium half a mile away in Rotherham was considered by the club, but the original preferred site was then sold for other developments, and so it was decided to convert Millmoor into an all-seater stadium. This progressed slowly, with around 2,500 seats being installed in the Railway End and also on the remaining uncovered third of the Millmoor side.
City and Rotherham remained in their respective divisions for several more years meaning the next game between them at Millmoor came in what was then called the Auto Windscreens Shield in January 1996. Both teams were struggling, with the Millers in 20th place in the third tier and City next to bottom of the league although eight points clear of bottom-placed Torquay United. With the Imps occupying that last place in mid-October the appointment of new manager John Beck had seem them battling to avoid another drop into the Conference and he had brought several new players into the club such as defenders Jason Barnett, Steve Holmes, John Robertson and Jon Whitney, winger Gareth Ainsworth and striker Colin Alcide all of whom played in this match. Another Beck signing, goalkeeper Barry Richardson, was cup-tied for this game so it meant a recall for Andy Leaning in what was to be his last game in an Imps shirt. The attendance of 1,825 was the smallest ever to see a City game at Millmoor and 2-0 down at half time, although Ainsworth pulled a goal back, the Imps exited the competition 3-1
Winners of the Auto Windscreens Shield that season Rotherham were relegated the next so the next meeting of the two clubs came in the basement division, now named Division 3 in September 1997. Both clubs had made a moderate start with City in 17th place and Rotherham three below them, but another 3-1 win for the home side, with midfielder Paul Miller getting City’s goal, saw them leapfrog the Imps. However, with Rotherham going on to finish ninth the Imps improved to go top of the table three months later and following the replacement of John Beck as manager by Shane Westley won promotion on the last day of the season in third place. The game at Millmoor was notable for being the last appearance of the popular Gareth Ainsworth prior to his departure to Port Vale for £500,000 and he took the opportunity to bid farewell to the Imps supporters.
Following an immediate return to the fourth tier by the Imps the next meeting at Millmoor took place at the beginning of December 1999 and a mid-table side, by now with chairman John Reames in charge of the team gained a good point with an equaliser from Paul Smith. Rotherham, however, went on to gain promotion in second place and the fortunes of the two clubs diverged for several years as the Millers reached what is now called the Championship a year later. It was around this time that the ground was finally made all-seater with the installation of seats in the Tivoli End.
Also in 2004, with changing room and other facilities in the Main Stand no longer up to modern standards construction of a new one to replace it was begun. This was planned to contain corporate facilities and bring the ground capacity back to over 10,000. The work was scheduled to finish in 2006, but faced a series of setbacks, one of which was Japanese knotweed being found beneath the foundations.
Construction of the new stand took place to a background of changes of ownership and financial troubles. A newly formed group called ‘Millers 05’ bought the club from scrapyard owner Ken Booth and a deficit of three million pounds was written off. Booth however, retained the freehold of the stadium which he leased back to the club for £200,000 a year rent.
The problems were not over yet, as early in 2006 it was announced that a funding gap of around £140,000 needed to be made up. This led to the launch of a “Save The Millers” campaign, aiming to raise the £1m needed to complete the season. It was also estimated that another £1m was required to complete work on the new stand.
An eleventh-hour intervention by two local businessman injected new investment but work on the stand was never finished and it remained only half-built.
Meanwhile Rotherham United, after four seasons in the second tier slipped back into the basement division in time for Lincoln City’s last ever game at Millmoor in League 2 in February 2008. The Imps made it a run of 21 games without a win on the ground but in a 3-2 defeat did at least manage to score two goals for the first time in 12 visits, taking the lead through Louis Dodds, but with Ben Wright’s late strike not affecting the result. Not long afterwards it was revealed that Rotherham had again entered administration and it was decided to leave Millmoor, the final Football League match there taking place on 3 May 2008 with a 1-0 win over Barnet.
After announcing their intention to build a new community stadium Rotherham first moved to play at the Don Valley Stadium situated more than halfway to Sheffield which dated from 1990 and had been constructed mainly for the staging of athletics. It was the venue for City’s next four away games with Rotherham. In 2010 the club purchased the site of a former foundry to be used for their new stadium and what became the New York Stadium was opened two years later, with City’s games since then taking place there.
As for Millmoor, it was set to host home games for the Rotherham Titans rugby team, until talks broke down in 2011, and has seen use for local youth Sunday League matches along with occasional events such as the European Championships of the Official Strongman Games in 2019 and the Planet Circus in 2020.
Unlike most other articles in this series a present-day photo of the site does not show a housing estate or a retail park but the ground itself, complete with floodlight pylons and as a sort of ghost stadium looking very much as it was when Rotherham United left it. Still owned by Booth’s scrapyard next door, there seems to be no news of any plans regarding the stadium’s future other than signs around the area promising ‘regeneration’.
Lincoln City played a total of 49 games at Millmoor against Rotherham United and its forerunner Rotherham County, and while their record prior to World War ll was fairly good with as many wins as defeats, from 1945 onwards things became increasingly dire with the last victory on the ground being recorded all the way back in 1957 with the best of the remaining 21 games played at the venue being seven draws.
Goals scored totalled just 55, with 4-2 being the biggest winning score, recorded on three occasions, all in the early days of the fixture. The leanest spell came in the 1970s and 80s when only one goal was scored – and that by a Rotherham player – in seven successive games. Along with that own goal 39 different players scored for City on the ground, the top scorers with four each being Billy Dinsdale in three games spread over five seasons and Harold Andrews, the only player to register a hat-trick. Next highest was Roy Finch with three, his goals coming over six seasons. Of the players with two goals, those who got theirs in one game were William Morris, Donald Slade, Thomas Maidment, Walter Ponting and Jock Dodds, while those who scored them in two games were Frank Pegg and Sam Ellis
Main Stand 1960s
Millmoor Lane terrace 1970s
Railway End 1970
Millmoor in 2017
New Main Stand
Millmoor Lane side 2017
All other ground photos.