BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Alan Stubbs is no stranger to an uphill task after achieving the unthinkable with Hibs: bringing home the Scottish Cup for the first time since 1902.
However, Rotherham legend John Breckin insists he will now be charged with “climbing Mount Everest” with The Millers.
A boyhood supporter of the club, Breckin is an icon in Stubbs’ new parish, serving as a player, captain, assistant manager and boss during an association with Rotherham which spans more than 40 years.
He now works for United’s hospitality department and cannot wait to welcome Stubbs to the club after the 44-year-old agreed a three-year deal with the Championship outfit.
While Stubbs faced plenty of challenges at Easter Road – notably inheriting a shambles following their relegation under Terry Butcher in 2014 – Breckin says that will be nothing compared to the task of simply finishing mid-table next term.
“The idea that we can become a well established Championship club is the stuff of dreams to me,” admitted Breckin. “I know the chairman won’t agree with that – he’ll want us to go even higher.
“But never mind the Scottish Cup, if Alan leads us to a top-half finish he’ll have climbed Mount Everest and swam the channel and back five times! That’s how tough the challenge is going to be.
“Everyone dreams of doing a Leicester City now but I’m a realist, that’s not going to happen. If Alan can lead us to safety that will do for me.”
And Breckin has hit back at the notion Stubbs has taken a step down by swapping Hibs for Rotherham.
While the Yorkshire outfit have a modest history – yet to win a major trophy in their 91-year existence – colourful chairman Tony Stewart cuts an ambitious figure, while the financial benefits of life in England’s second tier are clear.
Allied with an impressive new stadium and weekly encounters with the likes of Newcastle, Aston Villa and a host of local rivals, Breckin reckons the decision was a no-brainer for Stubbs.
“Just take a look at the teams who will be in the Championship next season,” said the 62-year-old. “Newcastle, Villa, Norwich, Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield United, Leeds.
“There’s Huddersfield, Barnsley and Nottingham is only 40 minutes up the road. We’ll be playing a derby almost every other week! There’s a real football hotbed here.
“The games will come quick and fast and there will be sell-outs every week.
“So I can totally see why he would want to come here and every game will be a challenge, it will be as intense an experience as Alan has had.
“But it’s one that will stand him in good stead for whatever he goes on to do in the future.”
With suggestions the Stubbs could see the New York Stadium as a stepping stone to bigger things – or even his dream job at Everton – Breckin believes Rotherham is the perfect fit.
“The great thing for Alan is the chairman will give him the tools to do it,” he added. “If Alan wants to go for certain players he will try and support him in any way he can. So it’s a great job for him to cut his teeth on and I think he sees that.”