Rotherham United: Stewart outlines Millers hunt after Warnock goodbye

Tony Stewart
Tony Stewart
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Rotherham United are set to target managers already in work as they search for a new boss after bidding farewell to survival saviour Neil Warnock.

Chairman Tony Stewart is anticipating a flood of interest in the post, but revealed somebody employed at another club could be the next man for the Millers.

Neil Warnock

Neil Warnock

“If the past is anything to go by, we’ll have 50 applications by Friday,” Stewart said. “We’ll allow the days for applicants to pass. Then we’ll go through them next week and see if one or two candidates catch our eye.

“We might have in mind one or two managers who could already be in a job. I certainly wouldn’t rule that out. We’ve got time to get the right guy.”

Under Stewart, Rotherham are well respected for operating in the right manner and would make an official approach to a rival club for permission to open talks if that is a path they choose to follow.

Warnock earlier today parted company with the club he led from the drop zone to Championship safety, after answering Stewart’s SOS call in February, when talks between the two men about a new contract failed to end in agreement.

Supporters were desperate for him to stay and the 67-year-old said: “Leaving this club is one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. I love everything about it - the chairman, the people, the fans, the family feel.

“I understand the chairman’s need for a quick decision and the time is right for both parties to go their separate ways. There’ll always be the memory of what we achieved together. Had I stayed, I think it would have been for the wrong reasons really. Up until a couple of days ago I thought I was staying.

“Rotherham is a project, and I want only one more year, They need someone to come in for two or three years, build things up bit by bit, consolidate their place in the Championship and then look to go on from there.”

Assistant boss Kevin Blackwell and coach Ronnie Jepson have also departed AESSEAL New York Stadium.

Warnock added: “I’ve been in talks with two or three others clubs, and Tony knows about that. There will probably be more interest now the Rotherham decision is made.”

Stewart says the Millers are looking for a manager who has already operated in the second tier and he wants someone with the characteristics Warnock showed in his 16-match reign.

“Our next manager will be experienced,” he said. “We won’t take risks with someone untried at this level. Our man will be quite conversant with the Championship.

“People know by now what’s on my checklist: Character, ‘push’, drive, passion, the kind of qualities displayed by Neil and, before him, by Steve Evans. These guys don’t hide away from a challenge.

“We won’t waste time in finding a new manager but we will take our time. Necessary time.”

Stewart and Warnock have held in-depth discussions since late last week and there was more contact today.

“There have been protracted talks and I’ve spoken to Neil two or three times today,” the chairman revealed. “The situation had to come to a head. Both parties have agreed the details will remain confidential. We weren’t poles apart. There is absolutely no bad feeling. We’re still the best of mates.”

Former manager Steve Evans is 3/1 favourite with the bookmakers, followed by Keith Hill at 8/1, Gareth Ainsworth at 12/1 and Dougie Freedman, Stuart Gray and Gary Bowyer, all at 14/1.

Warnock, meanwhile, signed off by playing tribute to Millers followers were sent flowers to his wife, Sharon, to support her during her illness and raised money for her to donate to a cancer charity.

“The love and affection those fans have shown Sharon is something else,” he said. “It’s something I will never, ever forget.”

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