“I wish I knew what Warney had talked me into when I walked through the door because I wasn’t sure it was the right decision.”
That Richie Barker and his family are currently on holiday with ‘Warney’ and his suggests their friendship has remained fairly solid.
And that the pair were pictured poolside on Friday as they signed new contracts to remain with Rotherham United suggests Barker has not been damaged too much by the experience of the last 12 months.
Barker answered the call of his friend and former team mate Paul Warne last year to return to Rotherham help with the sizeable rebuild job after slumping out of the Championship.
Last Sunday, that rebuild job was completed with a play-off final victory over Shrewsbury Town to secure an immediate return to the second tier.
And both he and Warne yesterday signed up for three more years at the New York Stadium.
Even though he still wishes ‘he knew what he’d been talked into,’ Barker insists he would do it all again.
“No regrets,” he told The Star.
“I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure what I was letting myself in for.
“But it’s spurred me on as a coach. It made we work harder and better and I think, for this experience, I’m a better coach than I was when I walked through the door a year ago.
“Certainly I have no regrets and it’s a fantastic achievement.
“I just want to keep creating my reputation as a coach.”
Former Millers striker Barker returned to the club to offer guidance to ex-team mate Warne, who made the step up from fitness coaching at the encouragement of chairman Tony Stewart.
Warne continues to state he his unsure about his suitability for management – despite winning promotion in his first full season in charge.
Barker believes his good friend has shown his capabilities over the past year.
“I think the strength of a good manager is recognising where your weaknesses are,” Barker said.
“He doesn’t claim to be anything he’s not.
“I think that’s a real strength that he’s got.
“He’ll take a lot of confidence from it.
“From where he was 15 months ago to where he is now, is totally different so he’ll take a lot of confidence from that.”
Neither Barker or Warne are under any illusions as to the size of the task facing them in the Championship next season.
But the assistant manager hopes another year of experience will serve them well.
“It could not be any worse than it was last year,” Barker said.
“He was sort of shoehorned into the job at a very difficult time.
“It was a skeleton staff with not a lot going on.
“Hopefully we’ll be better prepared this time.
“But we’re well aware it’s going to be a difficult task.”