'Honest truth, I don't see us playing again this season' ... Rotherham United boss Paul Warne's Advertiser column

'Honest truth, I don't see us playing again this season' ... Rotherham United boss Paul Warne's Advertiser column

By Paul Davis | 07/05/2020

'Honest truth, I don't see us playing again this season' ... Rotherham United boss Paul Warne's Advertiser column


HONEST truth, I can’t see us playing again this season.

I’ve said that from day one, ever since coronavirus shut down football.

What is 100 per cent certain is that if we do come back no fans will be allowed in to watch matches.

The lads have had longer away from full training now than they would in an off-season.

You know how obsessive I am about pre-season.

We normally have five weeks, a week of intensive training away and at least five friendlies. We build-up the players’ game-time.

If we come back now, we’ve got about three weeks to prepare and we can’t have any warm-up games. I just don’t think that will help the integrity of League One or any other league.

Take the Premier League ... I just don’t know how good the product would be if players come back and play in empty stadiums and wear face masks, if that rumour is true.

They’re not going to be as prepared as they’d normally be. I know players don’t forget how to play but, after they’ve had this much time away and then not had the proper preparation time, the standard is not going to be as good.

I don’t see Leagues One and Two coming back. League Two clubs are already releasing players, which is very strange to me when they potentially still have nine games left.

The Premier League will do everything they can to get it back on because of the huge amount of TV money involved but the whole neutral-venues thing is obviously causing problems. Whichever way they go, it’s going to cause problems.

One things is for sure, the EFL will find it difficult to make a call until the Premier League make theirs. If the Premier League are finishing now and doing relegations, it will enable the EFL to make decisions.

Would I accept promotion on sporting merit if the season ends now with us in second place in League One? Absolutely I would. I don’t think any manager would say they wouldn’t.

That’s not me trying to take advantage of a bad situation. I think we are one of the better teams in the division. I believe promotion will end up going to a vote.

I reckon there’s a chance the top two sides might go up and the next four sides end up being at St George’s Park or somewhere for a play-of to decide the third promotion spot. I could imagine that happening.

If I was told now that we’re not going up and will still be in League One next year because this season is being declared void, obviously I’d be disappointed. We’ve worked since last May on this. But I understand these are crazy times.

I understand how managers of other sides might feel differently about the current top two going up. If I was in charge of a club in fourth or fifth place I would feel frustrated.

However, if my team were in, say, sixth place and, for argument’s sake, Coventry City and Portsmouth were first and second, I would vote for the top two to go up. They would be the two best sides in the league and it would give me a better chance next year to get my promoted.

In reality it’s Coventry and us who are first and second. If other clubs didn’t vote for our promotion, I wouldn’t believe that was a sporting vote, I think I’d regard it as a bitter vote.

I don’t know why you wouldn’t want the top two teams to go up.

If, for example, you’re a manager of a midtable team in the Championship and you knew Leeds United and West Brom could go up, you’d be an idiot not to vote for that to happen.

Why would you not want that to happen?

You know that those two teams would probably be the best two sides the following season, particularly as there’s likely to be reduced recruitment for a while and many squads aren’t going to change a great deal.


IT’S my birthday tomorrow — Victory in Europe Day!

Many of you will find it hard to believe I’m not still in my 30s but I’ll actually be turning 47.

I have no reals plans. I presume I’ll get a few video phone calls, which will be good, and the sun looks amazing so I could be firing up the barbie.

It seems that everyone is having a street party for me as well, which is great. VE Day is a side-note. I’m allowing it to join my street party.

It’s weird that I’ll be in this country. I’m normally on holiday at the end of the season. It will just be nice to be with my wife and kids, although they’ll moan at me because I take all day to open any presents I get.

I’d like to think Mrs Warne will have done some online shopping on my behalf. She’s a good purchaser, my missus, to be fair.

I treated myself to a couple of tops two weeks ago because my favourite shop, Reiss, was having a bit of an online sale with 25 per cent off. I seem to buy loads of stuff from there.

When they arrived my missus’s face was great: ‘Well, you’ve just ruined your birthday.’ I do it every year just to wind her up. She has to return things and try harder!

On a completely unrelated note, I don’t think we’re getting a Rhodesian Ridgeback dog any longer.

We did want one at Warne Acres but the dog we had chosen isn’t going to have puppies now.

The other breed my missus quite likes is a Red Fox Labrador.

Our coach, Matt Hamshaw, texted me when I was out for a walk to tell me that a cricket friend of ours had got in touch with him with a picture of a Red Fox Lab and said: ‘Is this the dog your Gaffer wants?’

Love a Lab ... the Warnes need a pooch like this

I said: ‘Brilliant. Are they available?’ Hammy sent me a video of the puppies jumping about. I told him: ‘Yes, I’ll have one, a big male please.’

I’m showing the missus and the kids the video and they’re obviously really excited. We’re all thinking it will be great and we can train the dog while we’re off.

A couple of hours later, I get a text back saying: ‘Sorry, they’ve all been sold.’

It was disgusting. It was like we were losing a member of the family.

We’ve now got another breeder who’s due to have puppies for sale in about three weeks.

Oh my god, I’ve just realised Hammy and my missus are bluffing me and I’m getting a birthday dog!

‘Here, Boy.’ ‘Woof woof.’ Happy times.

If all Rachel buys me now is a couple of Reiss tops I’ll be gutted.

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