Rotherham United: Old teammates Barker and Hurst clash after Millers match
A spat with Millers No 2 Richie Barker marred the return to Rotherham United for former player Paul Hurst.
Hurst, now manager of Shrewsbury Town, brought his League One table-toppers to AESSEAL New York Stadium last Saturday and watched his side beat the Millers 2-1.
He clashed with ex-Rotherham teammate Barker at the final whistle after Town had kicked the ball out of play when Millers midfielder Will Vaulks was hurt in a tackle late in the match and the home team didn’t give the ball back at the ensuing throw-in.
“I had a few words with Richie Barker at the end. It’s a passionate game. It’s emotional,” Hurst said. “It’s gone as far as I am concerned.
“We kicked the ball out for an injured player at the end and they haven’t thrown it back. It has soured it for me. If that’s the case, we will not kick it out again.
Hurst, given a warm reception by home supporters before kick-off, added: “People will make a little bit more of it than what it is. I have got nothing against Rotherham United. I love them to bits and I want them to do well, but when I am out there I am managing my team.
“I am going to protect my players and my club. The ideal scenario for me would be if we are both very successful. I had friends in the opposing dugout.”
Paul Warne, who side slipped from sixth spot to eighth after a third defeat in five league matches, didn’t see the incident.
“I was stomping up the tunnel,” said the Millers manager, who also once played alongside Hurst. “In the heat of the battle, people might say things they don’t mean. I can’t imagine those two falling out. They have been friends for 35 years.
“We saw Hursty bit of him before the game. He came in our office and we were giving him stick. It’s a great day for him, I thought the fans were brilliant with him before the game.”
Rotherham were pushing for a winner in time added on when Shrewsbury broke, Semi Ajayi needlessly conceded a corner and Stefan Payne sealed the contest for the visitors.
Hurst, second only to Danny Williams in the all-time list for most Millers appearances with nearly 500, added: “It was really nice to see people. The ovation I got was very warming, but in the second half I was every name under the sun.
“But one reason the Rotherham fans liked me is that I am competitive. My job was to be Shrewsbury manager and win a game of football. That’s what it’s about. I didn’t feel the occcasion affected me. It was just nice to win.
“It’s a great three points. I am proud of the players, their commitment and attitude to the game. I am delighted by their efforts.”