Rotherham United: Christmas in Millers manager Paul Warne’s household

Paul Warne

Paul Warne

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He has to go work, his kids prefer the company of others and he can’t help annoying wife Rachel, yet Paul Warne still loves his family Christmas.

The Rotherham United interim boss will take training on Christmas Day morning tomorrow ahead of the Millers’ Boxing Day clash with Wigan Athletic and then head back to the Warne clan to enjoy the festivities.

“In the Warne house, we are full of Christmas joy,” he said. “My daughter is just on the edge of the whole Santa thing. I wish I could have a few more years back. My daughter’s 10, my son is 13. Christmas Day is a big thing.”

The 43-year-old savours the occasion so much he drags it out for as long as possible. That’s why he won’t be opening any presents before heading to the club’s Roundwood training base and will be pinching his players’ Yuletide grooming products afterwards.

“The lads will be in this year. They’ll be in and out reasonably quickly as long as they get the preparation in I need,” he said.

“I’ll get up at the crack of dawn, probably about 6am. I say that ... last year me and my missus were up at six and the kids weren’t. It was like: ‘Wow, this is all right, isn’t it? What’s happening?’

“The kids open their presents from Santa. Mayhem. I’ll go to training, come back and then they’ll start opening the presents from the family. They get irritated by me because I like making Christmas last. Mainly because I’ve paid for most of it!

“I don’t even start to open my presents until about 5pm. I don’t feel like I can open anything before I go to work. Say I get an remote-controlled car ... I don’t want to go to work, do I? I want to be staying at home with my car.

“I don’t take my new shower gel to work. I use the lads’ shower gel! It takes me ages to open everything, which my missus hates!”

Fitness coach Warne took over late last month after the ill-fated reigns of Alan Stubbs and Kenny Jackett, inheriting a squad at the foot of the Championship table and, after impressing in his four matches in charge, is set for an extended stay in the hot-seat.

On December 26, the Warnes will descend on New York swelled by the arrival of extended family.

“Boxing Day is good because my brother and four neices come up from Norfolk,” Warne added. “They come to the game normally. Then I have another Christmas night with them.

“It’s good for the kids because they’re getting to the stage where they don’t think me and my wife are cool anymore. They get to have some fun with their cousins.”

The former Millers player and self-confessed fitness fanatic would be active on Christmas Day anyway, even if there was no match to prepare for.

“I’ve alway gone training, even in the Ronnie (Moore) days when I didn’t have to,” he said.

“I used to go for a run in Herringthorpe with (ex-player) Richie Barker because we were sport geeks and had to train.”

Even if Santa brings a remote-controlled car, even if he gets to keep his festive “smellies” for himself, Warne, in his new Millers role, knows there is something else that would make his Noel extra special ...

“It’s obviously better if we win.”

The Millers are 12 points adrift of safety but consecutive New York Stadium matches, against the Latics and then Burton Albion on December 29, offer a chance for the gap to be closed.

That’s why Christmas at home could mean even more to the club legend this year.

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