Rotherham United: Paul Warne delighted at fans’ support for assistant Richie Barker

Rotherham boss Paul Warne was “buzzing” for his assistant Richie Barker after the fans showed him their support at Oxford.

Monday, 13th January 2020, 11:23 am
Rotherham United manager Paul Warne (right) and assistant manager Richie Barker in the dugout prior to the Sky Bet League One Playoff match at Glanford Park, Scunthorpe. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Barker was back in the dugout for the first time since his brother Chris – a former Barnsley player – died on New Year's Day.

The Millers put on a performance for their number two, winning 3-1 at promotion rivals Oxford to go top of League One.

After the game, the near-900 travelling supporters let Barker know how they felt about him, reducing him to tears on the pitch after they chanted his name.

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“I'm really chuffed for Richie," Warne said. "It's a little bit of sun on a dark few days for him.

"And I'm really chuffed for all the fans who came and sang their hearts out.

"Richie is like me. He has no ego. "As soon as the final whistle went he went straight up the tunnel.

"We got him back out again because the fans were singing his name. I've never seen him break before.

"It's the first time I've ever seen my best friend cry. At the end when the fans were singing his name I was absolutely buzzing for him.

“It's been a tough day for him, a tough few days. The players really wanted to do well for him.”

That would have been team-talk enough for the Millers, whose first-half display was one of the best in recent memory, with Kyle Vassell's double and Richard Wood's header blowing Oxford away.

But when Warne's side turned up at the Kassam Stadium they suddenly found even more motivation – once they were allowed in.

"We couldn't get into the ground," he said. "That was my team-talk done. It fired the lads up a treat.

“The first-half performance was enough to win the game.

"We had to knock and wait for someone to come and unlock the door for us. I've never had that before in professional football.

“I would like to think it hadn't been done on purpose. I used it in my team talk as if it had been.

"One of Oxford's players was saying in the programme that he thought they were the best side in the league. I read that out to the lads. That was great. That was my team talk done again."