PAUL Warne had the goal celebration all planned for his final playing appearance for Rotherham United.
“I was going to jump into the crowd and, just like at the end of Escape To Victory, grab somebody’s jacket and then just walk off,” he chuckled.
Knowing the man all Millers fans call ‘Warney’, then it’s exactly what he would have done - and is typical of a player who developed a special relationship with the club and its followers.
That goal-scoring moment really should have come about too. He got on last Saturday for a 10-minute cameo at the end and, with a couple of minutes to go, he was completely unmarked bearing down on goal - but the pass went the other way!
“I wasn’t even sure I would get on but did the senior pro bit and warmed up a lot and got a shout. It was a really nice gesture from the gaffer (Steve Evans),” he said.
“It’s a wrench packing in but my body was telling me it was time,” added Warne who was 39 this week.
However, he is staying on in a backroom coaching role he has had in recent years, having been integrated initially under Ronnie Moore. On Moore’s departure last year, he linked up with Andy Liddell to take charge of the team on a caretaker basis.
“The gaffer has been brilliant with me. We’ve got on well, but he could have bulleted me like happens when a new man comes in,” he added.
“I’m just so delighted to be staying on and helping a club I’ve come to love and developed such a feeling for over the years.”
It was that pull which made him turn down the opportunity to go and work at the academy at Norwich City, the club he supported as a boy in his native Norfolk.
“My wife couldn’t believe it when I said I wanted to stay in Rotherham but I love it here and have developed a special relationship with the supporters,” he said.
His maximum effort and non-stop running in the back-to-back promotions of 2000 and 2001 made him a massive and enduring favourite.
He left in 2005 but returned three years ago and last Saturday’s outing made it 294 appearances in Millers colours and a career total of 549.