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…The Blackpool fans filled about half of the away end, and over the empty seats unfurled a large banner that read “Football First: Financial Fair Play for ALL Clubs, Not Just The Top”. They’re having an awful time of it at the moment, but would loudly back their club throughout the game.
The Rotherham mascot – which I think is a cat – wandered through the stand, hugging fans and having pictures taken. This was pretty cool, rather than just wandering around the pitch and waving at kids he was properly getting involved with older fans and being daft. I suspect there is an out of work actor within that costume, just throwing himself into the role as best as he can.
The last two songs played before kick-off are “Two Tribes” by Frankie Goes To Hollywood, which is one of the best songs ever made – as long as you’re listening to the gloriously over the top 12 inch mix of it that lasts for about a day and a half and has Chris Barrie from Red Dwarf doing impressions on it. It really does, look it up.
Then they play New York New York by Frank Sinatra. Not the whole song, just the final few bars. And whilst I thought it would be cheesy, it really isn’t. The fans join in, an orchestra swirls beneath the singing and it does make the beginning of a match feel suitably epic.
The game kicked off and I noted that Nile Ranger was playing up front for the Tangerines. I’m always one to allow a player to try and play his way out of his reputation, but he spent the entire match leading into every 50-50 ball with his elbows. He got a surprisingly small amount of flak from the Rotherham fans bearing in mind his history, but he wasn’t exactly a terrifying threat up front for Blackpool playing completely on his own.
Rotherham made a decent start, with Matt Derbyshire playing alongside on-loan (from Leicester, no less) Tom Lawrence. The latter was making his home début, as was Scott Wooton (from Leeds), Emmanuel Ledesma (Middlesbrough) and Reece James (Manchester United). Rotherham manager Steve Evans has been trying to strengthen his squad as best he can in recent weeks to try and stave off the threat of relegation, with Ledesma the player catching the eye the most, marauding down the right wing with bags of pace and skill.
The United fans were excellent, every one of them singing as loud as they could and getting 100% behind the team. Lawrence had the first really clear-cut chance of the game on 15 minutes, before Nile Ranger had his only really good sight at goal, drawing a decent save out of Rotherham keeper Adam Collin….