posted on Feb, 6 2007 @ 09:24 AM
Who? Thats is probably what most of you thought when you read the title. Well, its my local football club and, although they have never been in the
Premiership, nor are they ever likely to, the shenanigans at the ground recently would probably make for an interesting movie, and it aint over yet,
by a long way.
Keeping it brief then, the clubs long time owner and chairman, Ken Booth, announced in 2004 that he was no longer interested in maintaining the club
and if no new owner came forward the gates would be locked for the last time at the the end of that season. In a desperate attempt to save the club a
group of fans formed 'Millers 05' to take over the running of the club. The big problem was they had no money but the club was said to owe £3m. No
problemo, said Booth, who simply kept the ownership of the ground in return for the 'debt' that he himself incurred, and rented the ground back to
The now asset free club predictably struggled even further and faced closure this time last year, bucket collections were organised at games up and
down the country when Rotherham played, and even at many where they did not, there was a wave of national support for 'little old Rotherham' that
saw them through their darkest hour and bought enough time for the second lot of new owners, and current owners, to move in.
The claws of Booth were never really very far away however and within days of Rotherham managing to sell their best two players for a combined £1m to
Premiership Watford, and thus securing the survival of the club, Booth issued a lawsuit for repossession of the Millmoor ground over unpaid rent,
quite obviously smelling money in the air over Millmoor for the first time in many a year!
The club is now run by very different people to the Millers 05 cannon fodder that Booth is used to bullying however and they are fighting back.
It has since transpired that the unpaid rent was only a few days late! It was subsequently offered to Booth who refused it and it is now lodged with
the court, Booth simply has no case, who has ever been evicted for being a few days late with the rent?
The current owners of RUFC however have issued a counter claim in which it is claimed that Booths original deal to take possession of the ground in
2004 was unlawful and a clear case of asset stripping! If proven it would mean that ownership of the ground would revert to RUFC Ltd and Boothy would
get his debt back, however a sting in the tail for Booth is that Rotherham United last year went through a CVA, which Booth voted in favour of, which
would mean he was only entitled to 1p in the pound of his original debt, which would serve the greedy old sod right.
The stakes are very high however and it is said that whichever side loses WILL go bust, therefore it is likely that a deal will be brokered in which
the ground will be sold to the local borough council for development into a modern community stadium (which is what the club has been trying to do for
months anyway but the Booths have been refusing to sell).
Has C F Booth been outmanouvred by its own one-time cash cow and whipping boy? I bloody well hope so.