The £150,000 Men
Feature by Millersmad Staff
Updated Thursday, 31st May 2007
In an ever-inflating transfer market where prices for seemingly mediocre players have soared, Rotherham's highest transfer fee that they have ever paid out remains at a paltry £150,000. Millersmad looks back at the four record signings.
In: Glover came from Port Vale in August 1996 after served his apprenticeship under the legendary Brian Clough proving good enough to warrant a starting place in the 1991 FA Cup Final. However, with big things expected of him having to replace the departed Shaun Goater and Nigel Jemson, Glover was a complete first season flop in what was the season from hell for both Glover and his new club as Rotherham slumped to the basement league. Scoring just one goal all season he was shipped off on loan to Huddersfield with Danny Bergara preferring Mark Druce up front.
Glover came to life in the 97-98 season under new boss Ronnie Moore and was made captain going on to score 18 goals and create many more in a consolidation season that saw the Millers finish just outside the play offs of Division Three. He finished as top scorer and began the 98-99 in equally good form banging them in as Moore's team looked set for a promotion campaign. However, a plague of injuries undermined the rest of his Millmoor career and his appearances over the next two years were limited.
Out: The Scotsman was released by Ronnie Moore after the club had won promotion back to Division Two. He went on to join Macclesfield Town before eventually ending up in non-league.
Stats: Glover made 88 league and cup starts for Rotherham scoring 33 goals.
Greatest Rotherham Moment: Glover's finest moment for Rotherham came in December 1997 in a thrilling Christmas derby against Hull. The striker bagged four goals including a perfect hat-trick as he fired his team in to a 5-1 lead, setting the other goal up. Those strikes were enough to give Rotherham the win despite a late City come back making the final score 5-4.
Worst Rotherham Moment: Arguably it could be the entire first season at Rotherham, where he was utterly shocking but we've decided that it was his horrific run of injuries that plagued him from January 1998 until his time at Millmoor came to an end in 2000.
Where is he now?: Following his retirement 'Gloves' went in to non league management first at Corby Town and then at Grantham but following his sacking he has gone off the radar. He represented Rotherham in the Yorkshire Masters in July and also appeared on 'Britain's Brainiest Footballer' where he finished as a semi finalist.
In: When Cardiff came in with a £300,000 bid for Leo Fortune-West in September 2000, Rotherham were in desperate need of a striker and Ronnie Moore took a punt, initially on loan, on Alan Lee from Burnley. Lee wasn't an initial success at Millmoor as he looked particularly uneasy in front of goal but his bustling all action game soon came to the fore and after a month of his loan spell, Moore made the signing a permanent one. Lee went from strength to strength leading the line as Rotherham won an amazing promotion to Division One quickly becoming a terrace hero.
The Irish man took a while to find his feet in the second tier, but eventually he progressed and became one of the toughest strikers in the league with his deceptive pace and strength and on the back of an impressive 16 goal haul he earned a call up for the Irish squad. Ironically it was his international recognition that ultimately led to Lee's departure from the club as Rotherham's failure to tie him down on a modest contract meant the pound signs began to roll around.
Out: Following Rotherham's failure to make Lee their highest paid player, the popular striker handed in a transfer request and several days later he was sold to Cardiff for a fee of £850,000 with supposed add ons.
Stats: Lee made 105 league and cup starts and scored 39 goals making many more.
Greatest Rotherham moment: It just has to be last minute winner against Brentford at home in April 2001 that sealed an astonishing double promotion. In the dying seconds, with Rotherham needing a win to ensure promotion, Lee, with his back to goal turned and shot in one movement and his shot flew in to the bottom corner to spark unrivalled celebrations and immediately sent Lee to legendary status.
Worst Rotherham moment: There weren't many bad times for Lee in a Rotherham shirt. Adored by fans but seemingly picked on by referees, his worst moment has to be being sent off by Dermot Gallagher in the club's 4-0 mauling at Millwall, that handed all the initiative to the Londoner's in the title race in the 2000-01 season.
Where is he now?: Despite leaving Rotherham with huge potential to become a Premiership player, Lee is still plying his trade in the Championship at Ipswich. His time at Cardiff was a disappointing one and maybe, just maybe, despite his bank balance being much healthier, he regrets leaving Rotherham when he did……
In: Despite having a fee of 150k that the Millers paid Burnley, Mullin is officially the record transfer signing for Rotherham after add ons took his fee above the others. He was signed from the Lancashire club in October 2001 as the Millers were finding life tough in Division One. The central midfielder, who scored the last ever goal at Roker Park, made an immediate impact as Rotherham recorded their first win on his debut and he contributed much to their miraculous survival in the 01-02 season.
For the majority of his time at Millmoor, he played in the centre of midfield and was an integral part of the club's four year stay in the second tier, being at his best going forward with his surging runs beyond the front men. His versatility was also an asset as he also plied his trade on both flanks and even used as an emergency striker.
Out: Following the club's flirt with relegation back to the basement league, Mullin who was a big earner, decided against signing reduced terms and went to join the man who signed him for the Millers at Tranmere last summer.
Stats: 169 league and cup starts brought just 14 goals for Mullin.
Greatest Rotherham moment: Mullin was an honest pro, who was reliable yet never seemed to do anything spectacular. He had memorable performances at both Birmingham and Man City in 2001-2002 but his finest moment was on his return to Burnley in December 2002 when he fired two fine long distance goals in a thumping 6-2 win for the Millers.
Worst Rotherham moment: Because there wasn't anything too spectacular from Mullin, it also meant that there wasn't anything too disasterous. He had a bit of a hot temper though that saw him receive a red card at Stoke for a head butt, but Mulln's worst moment in a Rotherham shirt came after a misunderstanding between him and Michael Proctor led to the midfield man throwing a punch at his team mate who had misplaced a pass.
Where is he now?: Mullin is back with Ronnie Moore and currently a central figure in Tranmere's attempts to get back to Division One after a six year absence.
In: Just as Alan Lee was signed to fill the boots of the departing number 9, so was Martin Butler and he had a big act to follow. Rotherham had been hit hard by Lee's exit and with just one goal to their name all season they turned to Butler who had an outstanding goalscoring record in the lower leagues. Once again similarly to Lee, he took a while to get going, but once he scored one, he began to score regularly for the Millers and his 16 goals in the 2003-2004 arguably kept Rotherham afloat.
Although lacking the physical presence of his predecessor, Butler was quick footed and was clever off the ball and was a constant threat up front, forging a particularly good partnership with Michael Proctor. An illness during the 2004 summer was catastrophic for both Butler and Rotherham as he lost that edge he had previously had and was brought back far too early in a bid to save Rotherham's season.
Butler never regained the quality he had shown in his first season and he produced a disappointing season in the club's struggle last season.
Out: Butler was a huge earner at the club and he too turned reduced terms down to drop a division and return to the club where it all began, at Walsall in the summer.
Stats: 29 goals came in 96 starts for Butler
Greatest Rotherham moment: Butler took the limelight during an epic 4-4 draw with Norwich at Millmoor in January 2004, scoring a perfect hat-trick with a left foot, right foot and header giving Rotherham a share of the points in a classic Rotherham game. His hat-trick should have been enough to seal a win but the antics of Darren Huckerby put pay to that!
Worst Rotherham moment: Undoubtedly the close season of 2004. On the back of an impressive debut season for Rotherham, Butler contracted Hepatitis B in Cyprus that kept him out for months. His premature return saw a weak and lacklustre Butler and he will arguably be never the same player again.
Where is he now?: Butler is the top scorer for Walsall this season as the West Midlands club aim to bounce straight back to League Two.
What are your thoughts on these men? Who represented most value for money? Discuss this article here!