WATCH: Collar and tie for Warne, but Moore is the real Millers smart guy: Rotherham United 5 Southend 0 + Match Highlights

Paul Warne's new look. Pictures: Marie Caley
Paul Warne's new look. Pictures: Marie Caley
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Play like this and Rotherham United will have big trouble putting bums on seats this season.

Five goals, three points to get their League One campaign up and running and one heck of a performance against a side only a point away from the play-offs last year.

Little wonder that nobody of a Millers persuasion was able to sit down.

Half-time, 4-0 up - standing ovation. Lee Frecklington subbed with the Millers five goals ahead - standing ovation. Hat-trick hero Kieffe Moore goes off - standing ovation. Scorer Ryan Williams departs - standing ovation. Full-time, 5-0 rout confirmed - standing ovation.

Rotherham tore Southend United apart as their slick, dynamic attacking play opened up the opposition time after time.

Not since the League One promotion season of 2013/14 - against Notts County on their way to a 6-0 triumph - have the Millers led 4-0 at half-time, and last year’s relegation woes were forgotten on an afternoon of thrilling unity at AESSEAL New York Stadium.

In the 61st minute, two minutes after the fifth goal had gone in, the North Stand broke into impromptu song in salute of the man who fought fires last season and looks to be lighting them this one: “Paul Warne, there’s only one Paul Warne.”

“That was nice,” said the manager who’d shocked everybody by ditching his usual touchline tracksuit for a snazzy collar-and-tie combination.

“The fans have been through some bad times. Last season, we were hanging on in games. I don’t think we have won 5-0 at home for a while.”

So brutally were Southend dismantled by a stunning first-half Rotherham display that Shrimpers boss Phil Brown said his players would be in for training at 7am this morning.

They never woke up to the threat of the Millers. The marvellous, at times majestic, Millers.

WEARING IT WELL

Warne was probably born wearing football boots, tracky bottoms and a T-shirt with ‘PW’ embroidered on the breast.

Here, he evoked jokey comparisons with Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola - whose under-23 side are at New York in the Checkatrade trophy on Tuesday - with his black sweater and slightly-baggy matching trousers.

Hat-trick hero Kieffer Moore

Hat-trick hero Kieffer Moore

“Polly (goalkeeping coach Mike Pollitt) said to me walking down the tunnel that my trousers made me look like a schoolteacher,” Warne grinned. “In the words of my son, I might have to ‘go tight’.

“I think it complements my beauty. I think I also need to step away from the ‘cone boy’ sort of look, I think people still look at me as the fitness coach rather than the manager, although not in the camp, I don’t think.

“The weather was quite nice and I just fancied it. I bet Pep will be really pleased to know I’m dressing like him. He will be buzzing. When Pep hears this, it will give him a massive confidence boost.”

THE GAME

Forty-six minutes into his home league debut, Moore already had claims on the matchball.

The striker latched on to Williams’ 15th-minute pass to slip the ball under Southend goalkeeper Mark Oxley, finished off Jamie Proctor’s cross a minute later and took advantage of another Proctor feed to complete his hat-trick in time added on at the end of the first half.

Creator Jamie Proctor

Creator Jamie Proctor

Joe Newell, with Proctor again the provider, had floated a 20-yard, right-footed beauty into the net in the 23rd minute for the third goal.

Southend, outgunned, outmuscled, outfought, outworked, had no answer. “It was a reasonable scoreline for Rotherham, to tell the truth,” acknowledged Brown. “It could have been more.”

Warne said: “We have worked hard since the summer in getting players in to play the way we want to play and it’s nice to have one of those days where everything slots into place. But I am aware that it is only one game.”

His men added a fifth 14 minutes into the second period when Williams - after that man, Proctor, had played another telling part in the build-up - despatched Moore’s cross.

But home keeper Richard O’Donnell had to deny Marc-Antoine Fortune and Simon Cox in quick succession in the 51st minute while Fortune hit the post a minute from the end when he had the entire goal to aim at from only seven yards out.

There was enough defensive frailty in that second half to send the Millers, as good as they were overall, back to the training ground with plenty to work on.

DEADLY DUO

Moore, all 6ft 5in of him, was the hat-trick hero. 6ft 2in Proctor had a hand in four of the five goals.

The pair linked up superbly and, on occasions, were virtually unplayable.

As Warne had memorably said during the week: “If you were a defender, you wouldn’t fancy playing against those two big horses, would yer?”

Everybody thought Proctor and David Ball would be the first-choice strike partnership but Moore has been so good since arriving from Ipswich Town on loan that his case to start has been irresistible.

“David Ball is probably the unluckiest man in the squad,” Warne said.

“Kieffer has done really well. I’m really pleased for him to get the hat-trick. Some people might have raised their eyebrows when I brought him here, but he is in good physical shape and he believes in himself. He and Procs were causing massive problems.”

Some of the football was a joy to watch. Not only was victory important as Rotherham sought to give their 2017/18 campaign lift-off, the manner of it was too.

In the first half particularly, the Millers played in their manager’s new image. Sharp. Smart. Nothing casual.

Rumour has it that in Manchester people are saying Pep Guardiola dresses likes Paul Warne.

Player ratings and match stats

Ryan Williams scores the fifth goal

Ryan Williams scores the fifth goal