Evans can stir Millers charge
A new stadium brings boundless positivity at Rotherham and new boss Steve Evans has what it takes to make the most of a monster budget...
Accrington ｜ Aldershot ｜ Barnet ｜ Bradford
Bristol Rovers ｜ Burton ｜ Cheltenham ｜ Chesterfield
Dagenham ｜ Exeter ｜ Fleetwood ｜ Gillingham
Morecambe ｜ Northampton ｜ Oxford ｜ Plymouth
Port Vale ｜ Rochdale ｜ Rotherham ｜ Southend
Torquay ｜ Wimbledon ｜ Wycombe ｜ York
After four forgettable years at an uninspiring athletics venue in nearby Sheffield, Rotherham return to Rotherham in style, inhabiting a purpose-built 12,000-seater stadium close to the city centre. The move should open up all sorts of new revenue streams, making long-term stability much more viable, but that's in the future. Right now, owner Tony Stewart is more concerned with seizing the moment. He's funding a no-expense-spared assault on promotion and sees Steve Evans as the man to bring his vision to fruition.
Evans is an abrasive character, intensely disliked by those unlikely to benefit from his antics. But is he any good? In truth, he's little more than a motivator and a manipulator, but his methods are effective. Only the most self-assured opponents aren't unsettled by his thirst for confrontation and when you consider that composure tends to be the attribute most absent at this level, it's a recipe for success. Occasionally, Evans gets his comeuppance but, with big budgets at his disposal, he invariably gets his own way.
Nothing triggers a tidal wave of positivity better than the move to a new stadium, especially on the back of a prolonged spell in the geographical wilderness. A new owner can be greeted with initial sceptism but a new ground brings great pride and unbridled optimism, the unmistakable sign of a club on the up. As such, Stewart can do no wrong in the eyes of Rotherham fans. The Millers are geared up for promotion but, if they come up short, the fans will be thankful for what they already have. Stewart has already delivered the one thing that really mattered.
Evans has taken the kid-in-a-sweet-shop approach to rebuilding the team over the summer. The Glaswegian has been swift and decisive in the transfer market, snapping up several players of League One calibre, and promotion ought to be a formality if they gel - but therein lies the main concern. Another potential stumbling block is Evans himself. His manner unsettles most teams but can inspire and motivate others. Without doubt, Rotherham will be the division's most prized scalp this season.
Kayode Odejayi (Colchester), Daniel Nardiello (Exeter), David Noble (Exeter), Michael O'Connor (Scunthorpe), Kari Arnason (Aberdeen), Ian Sharps (Shrewsbury), Scott Shearer (Crawley), Nicky Hunt (Preston), Lionel Ainsworth (Shrewsbury), Lawrie Wilson (Morecambe), Kieran Agard (Yeovil).
Lewis Grabban (Bournemouth), Danny Harrison (Tranmere), Ryan Creswell (Southend), Michael Raynes (Oxford), Marcus Marshall (Bury), Richard Naylor (released), Luke Foster (released), Ollie Banks (released).
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