Two bosses overlooked him and one turned to him in Rotherham United’s hour of survival need.
Now Richard Wood can’t wait to win over the fourth man to occupy the hot-seat since he joined the Millers.
The centre-half signed a new one-year deal yesterday and immediately looked forward to working under Alan Stubbs, himself a top-class Premier League central defender in his own playing days.
“With the new manager, it’s exciting times,” Wood said. “It was an easy decision to stay. I’m looking forward to working with him, to see what he puts on in training and his plans for how he wants us to play. I’m ready to kick on.”
The defender, who was out of contract this summer, hardly played under the man who signed him, Steve Evans, or for Neil Redfearn, but became a key man in the Championship survival act engineered by Neil Warnock in the closing stages of last season.
The Millers went on an 11-match unbeaten run to safeguard their second-tier status and Wood believes that can be a launchpad for better things under Stubbs who was appointed a fortnight ago after lifting the Scottish FA Cup as manager of Hibernian.
“We have to build on how we finished last year,” the 30-year-old said. “It will be difficult. But we showed in the last two or three months of last season what team spirit can get you. We’ve got a good group of players here.”
Wood had been offered terms by the Millers before Stubbs’ arrival. The fate of three others in a similar position, defenders Kirk Broadfoot and Stephen Kelly and attacker Matt Derbyshire, has yet to be revealed. Negotiations with the trio have been ongoing.
Stubbs has been identifying players he’d like to sign for his new club, but agents being away at Euro 2016 has delayed the process, and the first half of June is traditionally a slow time in player movement anyway.
Meanwhile, goalkeeper Adam Collin, a hero of Rotherham’s 2014 League One Play-off Final success at Wembley when he saved two spot-kicks in a penalty shoot-out against Leyton Orient, has joined League Two Notts County.
The 31-year-old was released by the Millers in May after hardly featuring last season and going out on loan to Scottish Premier League side Aberdeen.