Boss Steve Evans can’t wait for next season after admitting he learned more in Rotherham United’s Championship survival campaign than in any other year as a manager.
The Millers will be a second-tier club again next year after finishing five points clear of the drop zone, and Evans is convinced his experiences over the last 12 months will make him a stronger manager.
“You learn,” said the boss who had won four successive promotions - two with Crawley Town, two with Rotherham - before last season.
“I describe it this way, if you take it to the extreme: First year at big school, you walk in the gates. Your three mates you’re pally with, you can’t see them. You don’t know your teachers, you’re walking round not knowing where you’re going.
“Equate that your second year. You’ve established your mates. You know who your teachers are. You know who likes you, who doesn’t like you, all that kind of stuff.”
Rotherham sealed their survival in their last home match of the season, against Reading, despite being docked three points by the Football League for fielding an ineligible player in the Easter-Monday win over Brighton.
Evans says the challenges presented by the Championship are huge compared to the lower league from which he led the Millers with back-to-back promotions in 2013 and 2014.
“If I was an owner who’d just bought a club in League Two or League one and I wanted promotion, I’d just go and give Evans a king’s ransom. Because that’s easy,” he reflected.
“The Championship has been the biggest learning curve for me as a manager.”
Meanwhile, Rotherham are considering increasing the capacity of AESSEAL New York Stadium next season.
The ground can hold 12,000 people and chairman Tony Stewart may decide to up it to 16,000 when he meets with the club’s architect next week.
The stadium has been designed so that the capacity can be raised in 4,000 increments, going as high as 20,000.
The were several New York sell-outs last year, and Rotherham are aware that many more away fans would buy tickets if seats were available.
Left-back Mat Sadler, freed by the Millers after a season in which he saw no Championship action, has joined newly-promoted League One club Shrewsbury Town.