Paul Warne: Rotherham United already sifting through applicants as boss leaves for Derby County

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Rotherham are beginning the search for one of the most important managerial appointments in their recent history following the shock exit of Paul Warne.

Warne has left the Millers to join League One Derby, bringing to an end a six-year reign at the AESSEAL New York Stadium where he won three promotions.

The 49-year-old has replaced interim boss Liam Rosenior at Pride Park after the Rams’ pursuit of Warne over a number of months finally paid off.

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Signing a four-year deal, Warne takes assistant Richie Barker and coaches Matt Hamshaw and Andy Warrington with him.

Rotherham United have confirmed Paul Warne (right) and assistant Richie Barker have left the club to join Derby County  Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.Rotherham United have confirmed Paul Warne (right) and assistant Richie Barker have left the club to join Derby County  Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.
Rotherham United have confirmed Paul Warne (right) and assistant Richie Barker have left the club to join Derby County Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.

The deal was finally announced on Thursday afternoon and the club did not dwell too much on Warne’s tenure, more focusing on what is a huge appointment to replace him.

The club say they have an “exciting opportunity” to bring in a new managerial team to build on what is the best start in the second tier since the 1960s.

They said in a statement: “Rotherham United can confirm that first-team boss Paul Warne will leave the club to join Derby County, alongside staff members Richie Barker, Matt Hamshaw and Andy Warrington.

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“The Millers received an approach from the Pride Park club to procure the 49-year-old and his staff’s services and were given permission to discuss terms.

“Whilst of course we are disappointed to see Paul and his staff depart, they do so with our very best wishes and thanks for their commitment to their roles here with Rotherham United.

“Their departure now provides the club with an exciting opportunity to bring in a new team of coaching staff with a fresh perspective and build on our excellent start to the 2022/23 Sky Bet Championship season.

“The club has already begun work on searching for their replacements, having received numerous applications and will communicate with our supporters on this matter in due course.”

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Warne’s exit leaves an unfathomable hole to fill at the club as he ends a 13-year stint that began as a player in 2009.

Not only was he one of the most successful managers the club has ever seen - no other man has won three promotions - but he was a brilliant ambassador.

A man of morals and values, Warne, who was also a player between 1998 and 2005, overhauled the way the club was run and changed the toxic culture that had engulfed it in the wake of five managers in just over 14 months.

The first non-negotiable metric he used before signing a player was whether they were a ‘good human being’. If the possible new recruit failed that test at the first hurdle that would be the end of it, no matter how good he was.

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His man-management skills were second-to-none, with the recent BBC podcast ‘Moment of Truth’ giving an insight into just how he played on the human element to get the best out of his players.

He represented the club in the community in a way no other manager has before, often sending video messages to fans on their birthday or wedding day and he gave up so much of his free time to engage with supporters.

Warne’s exit leaves Rotherham facing their biggest managerial appointment since Steve Evans in 2012 as the club face a crossroads.

Currently sitting in eighth, the club have a real chance to finally snap their yo-yo status that has seen them swap between the Championship and League One in each of the last six seasons.

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Chairman Tony Stewart, who has always ensured the club is self-sustainable and live within its means, must decide whether now is the time to gamble and make an eye-catching appointment in the bid to become a second-tier regular.

An early contender could include Grimsby boss Paul Hurst, the club’s second highest appearance maker of all time, while the likes of Mark Bonner at Cambridge or Matt Taylor at Exeter may appeal if they are prepared to lure Warne;s replacement from another job.

There will be plenty of interest from out-of-work managers, with the club intending to interview candidates next week.