Ipswich Town’s Ben Pringle reflects on his Rotherham United rollercoaster ride
Ipswich Town loanee Ben Pringle has reflected on the turbulent bookends to his four-year career at Rotherham ahead of the south Yorkshire side’s visit to Portman Road tomorrow.
The Blues, just a point adrift of the Championship play-off places following Tuesday night’s 2-0 home win over Blackburn, face a resurgent Millers team.
Experienced boss Neil Warnock came out of retirement to take over at The New York Stadium last month and has overseen impressive wins over Brentford, Sheffield Wednesday and Middlesbrough, as well as a dramatic come-from-behind 3-3 draw with Derby.
It’s another chapter in a rollercoaster few years for a club that was in League Two just three years ago, midfielder Pringle having played a major part in their two promotions and successful fight against the drop prior to a Bosman switch to Fulham last summer.
“I wasn’t playing regularly for Derby in the Championship, so I decided to drop down to League Two,” explained the 26-year-old.
“Andy Scott signed me there. He sold me the dream but my first year there ended up being an absolute nightmare. For some reason I wasn’t his cup of tea and it was the worst time in my career.
“I was asking him what I needed to do to improve and get in the team and the answer was something different every week. At one stage, I didn’t have a day off in six weeks through my own choice. I didn’t want to give him any reason to say I wasn’t working hard enough.
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“As time went on I think it just got personal. I wasn’t even in the squad. It got to the point when I was going to leave. I was getting paid up but on the day that I was going to leave, the manager called me in and said ‘I need you to play’. It was said as though nothing had happened over the previous eight months.
“As much as you feel like rebelling in that situation and saying no, you have to be professional. I didn’t really think I had a choice. I was on the bench, went on and scored.
“Two weeks later Andy was sacked. I felt relieved, but I still shook his hand on his last day and we’ve moved on. That situation happens in football all the time.”
He continued: “I played virtually every match there when Steve Evans was the manager. There were about eight or nine of us who were regulars in the side for two or three seasons.
“He liked me so I was lucky but for the lads who would come in and play two or three games and then get left out, or annoy him over something, it must have been difficult for them.
“If you got on the wrong side of him, he could turn very easily and make life difficult for you. On his day, he could be a nightmare to deal with. You had to adjust to what he was like but as I said, I was lucky, he liked me!”
On his departure, Pringle added: “There were six or seven of us who said to the club after we got promoted at Wembley that we would happily sign if they gave us a fair deal.
“We had come from League Two so we weren’t on the highest wages and we were just looking for a fair reward but the club stalled and we got to January last year and nothing had been spoken about at all.
“Rotherham tried to cash in and told me they had accepted a bid from Millwall. They were below us in the league though, they were bottom I think. The club wanted me to go there but I refused to do that.”
Having started the first six games of his loan spell at Town, Pringle could return to the team tomorrow after dropping to the bench in midweek.
“I came here to play football,” he said. “It’s a different mentality here because Ipswich are up near the top of the league while at Fulham, it was all about staying clear of the relegation places. That’s a nice change and I’m enjoying it.”