Rotherham United: Meet Paul Warne – The King of New York

Rotherham United manager Paul Warne on the touchline during the Sky Bet League One Final at Wembley Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday May 27, 2018. See PA story SOCCER League One. Photo credit should read: Nigel French/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Rotherham United manager Paul Warne on the touchline during the Sky Bet League One Final at Wembley Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday May 27, 2018. See PA story SOCCER League One. Photo credit should read: Nigel French/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
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It was early in 1999 and Fatboy Slim's Praise You, the number one at the time, was probably blaring out on the radio.

Paul Warne was travelling in his car ready for a new chapter in his life when he realised he would need to check a map.

Rotherham v Southend 5.  ,Paul Warne in action

Rotherham v Southend 5. ,Paul Warne in action

There were no Sat Navs in those days, no instant directions via a smartphone, just the trusty old road atlas.

Warne, a 25-year-old, was making his way across the Pennines, having been told he was being sent from Wigan on loan to Rotherham.

But the striker, brought up in the deepest, darkest Norfolk Broads, had no idea where the South Yorkshire town was, so he stopped at some services to find out exactly where he was going.

Little did he know that when he tracked his finger from the M1 down Upper Wortley Road towards Millmoor on the map that he would have been plotting the route to his footballing home.

A few days later Warne scored two goals on his debut as Ronnie Moore's side beat Leyton Orient 3-1 and the rest is history.

“I remember being at home on a Sunday night,” Warne recollects. “I had just been watching ice hockey in Manchester and came back to my house with my Mrs that we were renting at the time.

“I got a phone call off John Benson saying you are going on loan to Rotherham, which is odd because these days you virtually have to beg the players to go, whereas in the old school days you were just told what you were doing.

“We stopped at some services on the M1 and had a coffee and then I came over here, I remember being not too sure where Rotherham was on the map because I was not a northern lad.”

He made 292 appearances for the Millers over two spells, playing in one of the most successful teams in the club's history, went on to win two promotions as a coach before reluctantly becoming the manager with the club in crisis.

The tears at Burton, the sleepless nights and the self-doubt have been well documented as Warne battled his instinct to do the job, but he came out of the other side with a place among esteemed company in the club's history books after a memorable promotion last season.

We've come a long, long way together, through the hard times and the good.

“You go to clubs all the time, I didn't realise this would be my football home,” he added.

“I didn't think it would go from just coming on loan to play some games to going to be the manager. And neither did I know when I joined in League Two would we end up playing in the Championship and being as hilarious as we were.”

He is about to rack up two years at the helm and on that glorious sun-soaked day at Wembley in May became just the fifth manager at Rotherham to win promotion to the second tier.

Last month he also became the fifth man to play 100 games for the club and go on to manage them for a 100 games.

He is Rotherham United royalty, but you wouldn't know it.

Go to most footballer's houses and you know exactly what they have done for a career.

Pictures hung up on the wall, framed shirts above the mantelpiece, matchballs in a glass cabinet – people proud to show off their achievements.

Warne is different, though, so much so that the one piece of hardware that commemorates his most successful day as the club's manager is no longer in his possession.

“When you come to my house there is not one picture up, there is not one trophy, I gave my promotion medal away,” he added. “I don't keep anything.

“My Mrs hoards everything so I am the antithesis of that. My parents have got all of my football shirts, I don't know where they are so I am not one for anything like that. I just try and live in the moment.”

That ethos means he is not fussed that his name appears so prominently in the club's history books.

He takes no satisfaction from the fact that only he, Danny Williams, Moore, Phil Henson and Mark Robins have completed the century double of games played and managed.

His biggest concern is getting one over former team-mate and friend Robins.

“Robbo got to 100?” he asked incredulously. “Wow, I have to try and beat him. I am amazed that there are four others that have done it.”

When pushed further on the matter, Warne eventually conceded to taking some pride in reaching a century of games at the helm.

Crying on the touchline at the Pirelli Stadium after a 2-1 defeat in his first game in charge, another 99 games seemed an impossibility.

“I have said this loads of time, but when I did the game at Burton and we lost I honestly believed that was my one and only game as manager,” Warne said.

“So when I lost that game it felt like my football world had fallen in because I thought that I could always have been a player here for years and years and been involved in some great times and teams and I could also say I won 100 per cent of my managerial career.

“So to go from there, that bleak Saturday night to managing a 100 games does give me pride to be honest. When I am older it might do more.”

Maybe satisfaction in some of his other achievements at the club will come with time as well.

But for now, there are plenty of other people willing to appreciate just what he has done for the club.

We have to celebrate you Warney, we have to praise you like we should.

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