It was a time for celebration and happy memories at the New York Stadium yesterday as Millers fans turned out for club legend Paul Warne at his Testimonial Game.
Over 3,000 saw the current squad take on a Warney’s Legends XI which included many of those who were teammates of his during the back-to-back promotion seasons in 2000 and 2001 and then in The Championship for four years.
And right at the end of an entertaining game, there was a glimpse of a possible Warne Mk2 - his son Mack, who plays for the club’s Under 9s, replaced his dad for the final couple of minutes and scored the last goal for the Legends.
“That was a great surprise to round off a wonderful afternoon because whilst I knew I was going off, I didn’t know my son would be replacing
me,” said an emotional Paul afterwards. “A day like this means so much to me and my family. My mum and dad were here which means they got to see their grandson play out there.
“I would like to a massive thanks to everyone who came or has helped in whatever way and all those who came to play for me because they
were not only terrific teammates but also friends and people I have kept in touch with. They really were a special bunch of lads,” added Paul, now on the backroom staff after two playing spells starting in 1999.
He made almost 300 appearances for the club, none of them at any less than 100 per cent of wholehearted effort and giving everything for the team cause.
The current squad received their runners-up medals from vice-chairman Richard Stewart and director Terry Stewart and then Paul had a special, personal introduction for each of his legends before they emerged, one-by-one, from the tunnel.
To roars for each one he welcomed Kevin Watson, Mike Pollitt, Alan Lee, Chris Swailes, Nick Daws, Chris Sedgwick, Rob Scott, Stewart Talbot, Leo Fortune-West, Robbie Stockdale, Richie Barker, Mark Robins, Guy Branston, Ryan Cresswell, Jamie Green, Darren Byfield, Shaun Barker and Andy Monkhouse and also, for a poignant final appearance, Andy Warrington and Dale Tonge.
A great welcome too for Ronnie Moore and John Breckin.
The Legends won through Alan Lee (2), Richie Barker (both netting spectacular diving headers), Paul Warne with a penalty (against Scott Shearer) and Mack Warne with Nicky Walker and Daniel Nardiello for the Millers - and even the Chuckle Brothers got in on the act to add to the entertainment.