Rotherham United legend Paul Warne’s love affair with the Millers has seen him reject the chance to move to other clubs.
The fitness coach has stepped up to be caretaker manager of the Millers after the resignation of Kenny Jackett and is set for an extended stay in the hot-seat after impressing in his four matches in charge.
Warne, a former long-serving Rotherham player, inherited a squad bottom of the Championship and has restored the pride missing after the short-lived reigns of Jackett and Alan Stubbs.
“I love the club,” said Warne, a revered figure in Millers circles who joined the backroom staff when he hung up his boots in May 2012 three days before his 39th birthday.
“I have been lucky enough to be offered jobs at other clubs and haven’t taken them. The club is a great club.
“I am like an ambassador. Everywhere I go, I bore people to death about it!”
Warne led Rotherham to only their second win of the season in his second game at the helm, at home to QPR, and his side have lost his three away games by only a single goal.
The Millers now face two crucial home games, against fellow strugglers Wigan Athletic and Burton Albion. The 43-year-old will have his men up for both festive fixtures as they look to bridge a 12-point gap themselves and safety.
“While you are still in it, you are still in it,” he said. “If we were to win back-to-back games at Christmas and went into the New Year only seven or eight points off it, with a few signings in January, who knows.”
Warne, who watched his side lose the South Yorkshire derby at Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 to a disputed penalty in time added on last Saturday, is happy to remain in his interim role for as long as chairman Tony Stewart wants him to.
He has brought in ex-assistant boss John Breckin as his No 2 and Matt Hamshaw has moved up from his Academy duties to help coach the senior side.
“There are certain parts of the job I really enjoy, there are parts I don’t,” Warne said. “I don’t like speaking to the lads after defeats like Sheffield Wednesday when a few of them are a bit teary and angry.”
Richard Wood was sent off in the Owls clash but the FA have rescinded the centre-half’s red card and he will not serve any ban.
The Rotherham squad have responded to Warne, and he added: “I like the person I am and the person created by my parents. He’s a good bloke. I have got a good moral code and I think I try to get that through to my players.
I am proud of myself in that the lads have taken on the message that we are trying to give them.”
“I want 11 good human beings on the pitch. If you are not a good soul, I am not interested. I want 11 proper men.”
Meanwhile, one of the club’s most successful ever strikers, Albert Bennett, has died at the age of 72.
Bennett played for the Millers in the 1960s and scored 70 goals in 121 appearances before moving to Newcastle United.
Breckin said: “When I was a supporter as a youngster, Albert was part of the side that I really worshipped.
“Supporters of a certain age will always tell you about that forward line of Albert, Barry Lyons, Ian Butler, Ken Houghton and Frank Casper.
“It was a privilege to watch them play. They were my heroes.”