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Pringle leaves lasting Millers memory

There have been few better sights over the last few seasons than Ben Pringle picking up the ball on the left and whipping in a wicked delivery into the box.

Over the three years that the 25-year-old was a regular in the side his deliveries caused mayhem for the opposition and led to a glut of goals for the Millers.

It was a sight, so pleasing on the eye, that epitomised a golden era for the club where attack and exciting football was the name of the game.

But there was so much more to his game than his magic left foot.

He possessed a real work ethic and desire, with his constant harrying and chasing just as an important part of his armour.

His will to win and do well was highlighted by the little hissy-fits he would have if someone did not pass to him when he was open or if a team-mate did not make the correct run at a set-piece.

But that won’t be seen at New York Stadium anymore – on a regular basis at least – after the club confirmed the former Derby man has opted against penning a new contract, instead choosing to seek pastures new.

That decision, made due to a perceived lack of desire shown by the club to keep him, represented a sad day for the club and its supporters who developed a real love for Pringle.

And it was deserved as his performances over the two promotion seasons were at such a high standard, particularly in the 2013/14 League One where he was simply sensational.

His 13 assists in that campaign, with many more goals coming from his key passes, earned him a place in the PFA Team of the Year and his eye-catching bleached blonde hair and inviting crosses made him a stand-out player in the Millers’ ranks.

He delivered on the big occasions too, none more so than in the second leg of the play-off semi-final against Preston where he created two of the Millers’ three goals and rattled the crossbar with a fine volley.

The Newcastle-born winger found life tougher in the Championship this season, but still was a key presence in the side which stayed up.

His delivery proved lethal as ever and although he sometimes struggled with the physicality and pace of the division and enjoyed less time on the ball, he still finished as the top assist-maker and saw off competition from several other players for his shirt.

Boss Steve Evans has always been overt with his praise for Pringle, regularly bigging him up in the press and reminding everyone that Pringle’s treatment under former boss Andy Scott.

Evans once said of his Alice-band-wearing star: “I have never hid my admiration for Ben. Now he is an established, quality Championship player. 

“When I arrived he was in the cupboard and how you could put a player like that in the cupboard I don’t know.
“The players say I love him and they’re right I do love him. I'm in love with Ben Pringle.

“I am not knocking Andy Scott because of his management of Ben but he is the sort of lad who can deliver magic.

“Now he is an established, quality Championship player.

Despite the love-in in the media there was always an under-current of feeling that the relationship between the two might have been so rosy behind closed doors.

And, although the club offered him a fresh deal and wanted him to stay at New York after some consistent late-season performances, the fact they accepted an offer for him from Millwall in January, believed to be just over £100,000, proved in Pringle's mind that the writing might have been on the wall and his future lays elsewhere.

If they were prepared to let him leave in January – to a potential relegation rival no less – how loose will the purse strings have been when it came to offering him a new contract this summer?

Pringle was also put out by the delay in offering him a deal, insisting that the club promised they would reward the players who won them promotion immediately after Wembley, something that never happened.

Regardless of his suitability as a Championship player or likeliness to be in the team next season, Pringle’s exit – and that of Craig Morgan – is certainly sad on a sentimental level as it continues the breaking up of the 13/14 side that many Millers fans class among their favourite ever.

Just 12 months on from that goosebump-inducing day at Wembley, only Lee Frecklington, Kari Arnason, Adam Collin and Richie Smallwood remain from that team.

Evans may very well bring in a player who ends up offering more than Pringle, but the impact and contribution the Millers’ number 18 made should never be forgotten.

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