Jerry Yates, Jonson Clarke-Harris, Chieo Ogbene and how Mr and Mrs Warne got together ... The Advertiser column of Rotherham United boss Paul Warne

Jerry Yates, Jonson Clarke-Harris, Chieo Ogbene and how Mr and Mrs Warne got together ... The Advertiser column of Rotherham United boss Paul Warne

By Paul Davis | 21/05/2021

Jerry Yates, Jonson Clarke-Harris, Chieo Ogbene and how Mr and Mrs Warne got together ... The Advertiser column of Rotherham United boss Paul Warne
Happy couple

WE didn’t get the Disney ending to the season we wanted and I’m gutted, absolutely gutted.

To come within six minutes of staying in the Championship and then have it ripped away from us is really tough to take.

I was emotional afterwards. I’m an emotional man. I love this club and feel a huge responsibility towards it.

It would have been so, so good had we managed to hang on at the City of Cardiff Stadium last weekend and secure survival.

Without doubt, it would have been my great moment in football, better than any of the six promotions I’ve won with the Millers.

I’m really proud of my players and staff. They really gave it everything they could.

We started off the season with a real ambition to stay in the division and I honestly believed we’d be able to retain our status and hopefully build a little bit more.

Going down isn’t due to a lack of effort from anyone. My staff have been doing seven-day weeks for God knows how long.

Our performance against Cardiff was excellent and deserved the win that would have sealed our safety. But, you know, for whatever reason it wasn’t to be.

I said to the lads after the game that I stood there proud to be their manager and it had been an honour to watch them play. I don’t know what more we could have done.

It’s been a roller-coaster season. In time, I might be able to look at it with even more pride. At the moment, though, I’m just hurting really.

I feel a bit hollow and devastated for the group. I wanted greatness for them, I wanted them to leave the stage like heroes.

We had so much energy and heart, but couldn’t quite finish Cardiff off. I asked them to play like warriors and they did.

If we had gone there and lost 3-0, we could have accepted that maybe we are just not good enough at this level.

But drawing 1-1 and coming so close to victory feels worse. As I’ve said before, it’s the hope that kills you.

Cardiff equalised in the 88th minute. I was urging the lads forward again in stoppage time and I could see the pain on their faces. Their faces were saying: ‘Gaffer, we’ve got nothing left to give.’

It leaves you feeling empty. What a sad day, but also a proud day.

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YOU can only do your best. We’ve worked as hard as we can and have tried to do the right things. I haven’t got everything right, obviously. No football manager in the world does.

The other week, I walked round the training ground in the sun and thought: ‘One day I won’t do this, one day I won’t be the manager of this club that I’ve had a really good relationship with.’

Even though it’s been tough with all the fixtures, the sleep deprivation, the emotional roller coaster and trying to get wins, it’s still been enjoyable.

I try to enjoy things more and worry less these days. That’s a good life lesson. I say to the lads: ‘The sun will come up tomorrow and we’ll attack the day.’

We did everything we could, we worked as hard as we could and the lads give us everything.

We took it to the last day and everyone was in it together. We didn’t have any dressing-room issues or anything like that. Everyone was determined to stay up and all of the loan players were excellent in terms of their attitude.

I think there were some really good performances this season and we didn’t end up with the number of points we deserved.

We’ve fallen short and I appreciate that I’m the top of the triangle and it’s on me. I understand that.

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I’D just like to wish Jerry Yates all the best in the League One play-offs with Blackpool.

He’s done great things at Bloomfield Road since he left us last summer and has scored more than 20 goals.

I always thought he’d go on and do well. It wasn’t working out for him here but I never doubted his ability to put the ball in the net.

We got decent money for him and a parting of the ways was the right decision for him and us.

We don’t just hold people here and ruin their careers. If they feel that their careers lie elsewhere or they can get more game-time elsewhere, they find we won’t stand in their way as long as the deal suits everyone involved.

Jerry scored a brace a few weeks ago and I texted him to say ‘Well done’.

He texted me back saying ‘Thanks, Gaffer’. I always find it funny and touching when former players still call me that

I’m buzzing to see him doing himself justice.

He’s always going to have a great career because of his work ethic. His work ethic is literally second to none.

The Rotherham fans probably didn’t see the best of him because he never really had a good run in the team. However, we saw him on a daily basis and thought the world of him. He’s a really positive story.

Also, I’d like to congratulate another of our former strikers, Jonson Clarke-Harris, who has scored for fun for Peterborough United, has been named League One Player of the Year and is now heading into the Championship.

Jonno was a young man who came here and had a big transfer fee hanging over his head.

He didn’t get to play a lot. Some people suit certain clubs at a certain time in their career and eventually he went to Bristol Rovers and did brilliantly there. He scored regularly and was linked to loads of different clubs.

A perfect opportunity came up for him with Posh. They were selling Ivan Toney and looking for an out-and-out ‘9’, which Jonno definitely is.

The way Peterborough play suits him because he will always get chances to score. It doesn’t surprise me that he’s scored as many goals as he has.

Peterborough are up and Blackpool have a chance of promotion. It would be interesting to see if Jerry and Jonno can replicate their League One form in the Championship.

It is a different level, there is no disputing that. The gap is a step too much for some players.

They’re great kids who can score goals and I wish them well.

They’ve both got some Rotherham DNA in them. Every time either of them scores, we sit back and feel quite proud of what they’re doing.

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CHIEO Ogbene is finally back to full fitness and I think he’ll be a huge player for us next year.

He showed how dangerous he can be against Barnsley the other week and it’s a real shame that such a huge chunk of his season was written off by his knee injury.

We’ve had some big players out for long periods in this campaign and he’s been one of them. He spent six months on the sidelines.

His pace is a threat and he’s capable of being a massive weapon for us. He has the ability to cross and score goals and he just adds something.

He’s always smiling and upbeat and his character is good for the dressing room. The lads like to see him be part of it.

Against Barnsley he played up front and was a thorn in their side. He gets on to second balls really well when he plays there.

Unfortunately for us, he was missing from the end of September to the beginning of April and we got him back much later than we would have liked.

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THIS is me signing out for 2020/21.

The lovely Mrs W has had regular mentions throughout the season so I’d like to finish off by telling you how we got together.

It’s a while ago now. In fact, so long ago that I had hair in the beginning.

She was best friends with my brother’s wife. They all worked together at Norwich Union in Norwich. She’d left home, bought a house in the area and wanted a lodger.

She’s from Reedham and I’m from North Walsham and the two places are about 35 minutes from each other. She wanted a male and preferably an uber-sexy one. You can see where I’m going with this.

My brother suggested me because I’d just graduated from Nottingham University and moved back home.

As a lot of people who go to uni know, you move back in with your parents and it’s like: ‘Cor, it’s a bit tough this.’ Not in a bad way. It’s just that you’ve grown up a bit and living with your folks again is a step backwards.

I moved in as Rachel’s lodger and thought that if I wooed her I would get discount on my rent. In fact, she used to ask for the rent in advance. She’d say: ‘Look, I’m a bit short this month. Can you help me out?’ It absolutely did not work out the way I thought it would.

Apparently I was dating her for six months before anything happened. I didn’t even realise I was dating her. There wasn’t any chemistry or anything like that.

We just gradually became good friends, then she got me drunk one night a few months down the line and that was it. Game over really.

I’d genuinely moved in with no intention of anything happening, which is weird really because she’s quite a catch.

I’d only ever known her out socially in Norwich as a friend of my brother’s. Whenever I spoke to her I never, ever looked at her as a potential partner. I never tried to go ‘full Warne charm’ because that simply wouldn’t have been fair to her.

It would have been like Superman chatting her up and she was Lois Lane.

I was very respectful and polite. Even when I moved in with her, I never imagined anything would happen. She denies she was interested in me at the time as well, but we all know that’s a lie, don’t we?

Luckily for her, I didn’t put the Warne volume up to ten because she would have found that uncontrollable.

During the time I was lodging with her, we both had different partners. I even gave her boyfriend a lift somewhere once and there was no green-eyed monster in the background. He was a good lad and I liked him.

When we got together all her friends were like: ‘Well, what a massive shock this is. Everyone knows you’ve been dating for months.’ But we hadn’t!

All that would happen would be that she’d come home from work and we’d go out for food somewhere. Apparently, this was ‘unofficial’ dating. I honestly had no idea.

What I will say, though, is that I always looked forward to her coming home from work because I really liked her as a person. When she got in I’d say ‘Do you want to do something?’ and we’d head out for a meal.

I stress, I never went out with any thoughts of wooing her. People think I’m telling a porky pie but I’m not.

I just thought ‘Decent house, decent place, nice landlady, potential discount’, which I never got. Looking back, it’s definitely cost me in the long run!

By the way, I don’t remember everything about the drunken night but I do seem to recall it was excellent.

I have absolutely no regrets about anything. We’ve been a couple for more than 20 years and getting together with her is the best choice I’ve ever made.

She’s my Lois Lane all right.


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