A sudden twist from the Cambridge United boss leaves Rotherham United rather shocked as the search for a new manager goes on.
Just when the Millers thought they had got their man, Mark Bonner has instead decided to remain loyal to his boyhood club.
The U’s head coach had been strongly linked with the managerial vacancy at the Championship outfit in recent days, having an interview on Tuesday and on Wednesday bookmakers made him the clear odds-on favourite to take the job.
However, the 36-year-old has confirmed that he is to remain at the Abbey Stadium after a conversation with the Millers.
“Speculation is rife all the time in football. I’m here, I’m staying here and I’m not going anywhere – that’s the story,” he said
“There’s nothing for fans to worry about, if they were! My job hasn’t changed. I’m really enjoying my time here and I think we’re mid-way through a bit of a project and we’re not quite where we want to be yet.
“I’m well aware of the amount of work we’ve got to do. I’m not kidded on by our current position in the league table, but we’ve got a brilliant month ahead of us and that’s what we’re really focussed on.
“I’ve had discussions with clubs and I think the details of those conversations is for me.
“But I’m one of – I think – a number of people who have had a conversation and the outcome of the conversation is that I’m here. I’d rather talk about the job I’m doing than the fictional one that I’m not.
“That’s the situation for me, it’s crack on and get to work and look forward to a really loud atmosphere on Saturday in what I think will be a really tough game (home against Derby County).”
He added: “The reason we’ve been successful is because of everybody that has played a part in that – the staff I work with every day, the owners and the board are different class and they’ve got real ambition for what we’re doing and where we want to go. And the players have been brilliant, really good to work with.
“In that sense the club is in a really good position and we’re on an upward curve – we’ve had a good two years.
“We’ve said this before, it’s going to be very hard for us to maintain that momentum. We shouldn’t be kidded by the first 10 games, (but) it’s a brilliant platform to build on and really our targets for the season don’t shift. There’s a real united front here to continue building what we’re doing.
“The speculation, whether it’s myself, members of staff, players, I think (it) will always be there and we should be actually quite glad of it because it must mean we’ve got some good people and good players and things are going well.
“We’ve had some important members of staff leave the club in recent months in Matt Walker, Tom Pell and actually Mikey Burroughs (physio) has just started a job at Norwich City. We’ve got Ryan Meredith on board, he started this week.
“There’s lots of changes that are always going on. We’ve got lots of interest in the players and the staff we’ve got, I think that’s a positive, but the other thing is we’re in a good position to keep building and keep driving things forward.
“Myself, the owners, the board, the staff, the players are all really committed to continuing that so supporters should enjoy the position we are and not take it for granted at all, understand how difficult this season is going to be, but be excited by what the future might hold for us.”
Alan Biggs said on how Rotherham responded to the U-turn: “Told there’s a mood of real shock at Rotherham – in the club and out – at the apparent likelihood of Mark Bonner electing to stay at Cambridge.
“Unforeseen, as I said. From what I’ve heard, #RUFC were fixed on him and hadn’t seriously considered anyone else.
“Makes you wonder again about Dean Holden. An obviously strong candidate if he was considered, I’d have thought – and one who sources say would be keen on the #RUFC job.”
FAVOURITES TO BECOME NEW ROTHERHAM BOSS
Dean Holden – 11/10
Matt Taylor (Exeter) – 2/1
David Artell – 12/1
Richard Wood – 12/1
Gareth Ainsworth – 16/1
Paul Hurst – 16/1
This is how social media users reacted to the sudden twist from the Cambridge boss which leaves Rotherham shocked as their search for a new manager goes on…
@_andrewmurray_: Build him a statue! 🥳🥳🥳
@MarvinMooseCUFC: Just the best news for Thursday morning! There’s only one Mark Bonner!
@Ami3_Lou: Loyalty is everything 💛🖤
@ldgmostdef: I don’t want to be critical for being critical’s sake, but we are making ourselves look foolish by revealing Bonner as our ‘only candidate to consider’ and then not being able to secure him. Terrible PR for #rufc Well done to #CamUTD on holding onto your man, and GL this season.
@scott_james92: We as fans & as a club should take a minute just to appreciate just how lucky we are to have such a great young manager who absolutely loves the club. Marky Bonner is a U! 💛🖤 #CUFC
@jimbohare30: Give him freedom of the city, build a statue, give him a 20 year contract…… We’ve got Bonner, Super Mark Bonner, I just don’t think you understand. #BonzIsStaying You
@CraigGoater87: If MB just decided it wasn’t right time to have a crack at Championship then fair do’s, if its down to TS and us then it’s a joke but we don’t know the full facts. What we do know is this now needs resolving before it’s too late and poss cost us our great start #rufc
@jerryfroggett: Bonner is an absolute God at Cambridge United – completely adored by staff, players, fans… I think all U’s know and respect the fact that he’ll move for the right job at the right time so perhaps this simply wasn’t it?
@_Jake_Ellis_: Atmosphere is going to buzzing over the next few weeks, Derby and Sheffield Wednesday at Home then Ipswich and Peterborough away! Good time to be a U’s fan!
@Rufcjoe87: Another day. Another set of rumours, wind ups, insults and none of us knowing what’s going on lol. Another load of fun being a Millers fan. Let’s just hope we have someone in by next Saturday now #rufc
@fittall1987: I know he’s a Cambridge fan but quite surprised at that. Rotherham looks a good move for someone at the minute
@RobMStables: You have to admit though we must be the only club in the country that fucks about with everything whether it’s transfers managerial appointments ordering Enough football shirts etc we are a laughingstock and it’s embarrassing #rufc
@MiddletonRy: We’ve got Super Marky Bonner.. He knows exactly what we need! 💛🖤
@sh4unh__: Whats the odds in Richard Wood being made player/manager till end of season 😒 #rufc
@stuessexmiller: Fair play to Bonner for showing his childhood club the loyalty players and managers don’t show us. What annoys me more is the fact we have no plan B so a week is wasted. We never learn and still do things rather poorly at the top.
@JordanOwl28: No one wants to be at Rotherham 😂
@rufc__cal: WE ARE A MESS
— Hopper & Son (@CPriday) September 29, 2022