Make it the best minute's applause ever for Charlie Louise: The Paul Warne Column

By Paul Davis | 19/10/2019

Make it the best minute's applause ever for Charlie Louise: The Paul Warne Column
Charlie Louise Hunter

IF you do only one thing at AESSEAL New York Stadium today, please make sure it's applauding in the 16th minute

Tragically, we have lost one of our fans. Charlie Louise Hunter has died, unexpectedly, at the age of just 16.

My heart goes out to her family. I can't begin to tell you how I felt when I heard the news and I can't begin to comprehend how they are feeling.

I just hope they're coping. I am a dad and a family man. You love your kids more than life itself.

Everyone at Rotherham United sends their love and sincerest condolences to Charlie's family and friends.

It pleases me immensely that our supporters are planning a minute's applause in the 16th minute of our home game against Oxford United.

Join in. Make it the best minute's applause ever. Pay tribute to Charlie. Celebrate her. Help her family.

Everybody on the Rotherham bench will be take part.

My dad died recently and the support I received from so many people played a huge part in me being able to get through it.

Charlie was a season-ticket-holder. She sat in the North Stand. Her dad, Ian, is a season-ticket-holder. They both went home and away to matches.

The 16th minute ... for Charlie, for a great girl, for her family.

For all of us to show what being a Miller is all about.

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NO-ONE is afraid to cry or show their feelings at our Roundwood training base and that's exactly how I want it to be.

Mental health is a big issue and one we should all be aware of. It can be an unseen killer in society and it is also far more prevalent in sport than many people realise.

As a manager of a football club, I am in charge of a lot of young people and I take that responsibility very seriously.

It was World Mental Health Day last week and I was pleased about that because anything that gets the message out there that people might be struggling is a good thing.

I understand the pressure young people in any walk of life can feel. The pressure from Instagram and Twitter on teenagers these days is disgusting. Then there's the bullying on social media as well ...

I appreciate the pressures my young me - I'm not in charge of any women - are under and how they spend a lot of time in their own thoughts.

I don't want them to go down the wrong avenue. We're here to support them. We've had loads of meetings here where the lads have been crying and I have been crying. I've done loads of meetings where I'm crying. No-one is surprised about that, are they! I think I'm known for wearing my heart on my sleeve.

We have a structure in place. We have three members of staff dedicated to it and if they can't help then the players get passed on further. We have an environment where fears and vulnerabilities are expressed. There is no point hiding them in.

As a management team, we don't pretend we're the big men. We're not shouters and screamers. We're not macho and banging our chests. Those days have gone, I think. I surround myself with really good staff who are sensitive to that and I sign players who buy into that.

People get obsessed with what players earn but I don't see why earing more money than average means you're immune to problems, depression and lack of self-esteem.

I heard someone say on the radio the other week that the next Manchester United managers should be Roy Keane and Neil Lennon jointly because they can really rip into the players if things aren't going right at half-time.

That approach may work - although, I have to say, there is plenty more to those two than just that - but the perception from certain individuals that it is the only way to motivate a team to play at their optimum is outdated. 

Those days are fading out. New managers coming through have a different attitude to humanity and getting the best of people. I think the new way is the best way.

You have to treat people with respect and they have to know they're in an environment where you're trying to help them and you look out for them and not in an environment where you persecute and abuse them and make them feel bad about themselves.

It’s hard being a footballer. I know a lot of people don’t want to empathise with that and will be going ‘Tough, boo hoo’, but players have to play in front of 10,000/20,000 people sometimes giving them abuse. You need to be a tough character to take that.

And when you’re a footballer, all you are is a footballer. For example, if I introduce myself to someone and say ‘Hi, I’m Paul Warne’, the other person often says ‘Oh, you’re the football manager’.

I’m not just that, though. I’m Paul first, then I’m a husband, a father, a son, a friend. And then my job happens to be in football. People get obsessed with that.

The way Twitter is now, it can be disgusting. Some people decide to go on there just to personally abuse a footballer. Why would a fan abuse a player from his own club?

Just imagine being the player who received that tweet … your worst fears and insecurities and someone has put them in print. And you’re reading it and you’re on your own in a flat and you’ve moved from Scotland or France or Bristol or wherever. It might be a 21-year-old lad receiving the abuse. It’s deplorable. I can’t accept it.

Not all social media is bad, obviously, but there is so much toxicity out there.

In the old days, if a player had a bad game someone might send a letter to the local newspaper. Now, it's all over Twitter. It's so much for the lads to take.

Football, like any sport, is amazing when things are going well. But of the 23 clubs in League One how many are doing well? About six? Fans at the other 17 clubs are raging.

A lot of people are putting a lot of pressure on player and it makes it harder for a player to flourish.

If management teams can't give players an environment where they feel protected and encouraged, a lot of really good players, I think, will just fade out of the game.

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WHAT a strike that was by Clark Robertson against his former club to seal our League One victory at Blackpool last weekend.

Obviously, it wasn't as good as the first ever goal I scored as a pro at Bloomfield Road back in the 1800s, but it was still some volley! Defenders aren't supposed to have a finish like that in their lockers.

I was really pleased for Robbo because he'd been left out of the team for the previous match when we beat Coventry City.

When you are not in the side, you are down in the dumps and want to be playing every game.

He was supposed to be on the bench against Blackpool but our left-back, Joe Mattock, felt his quad not long before kick-off and Robbo stepped in admirably.

When you are not starting, you warm up a little bit differently and are a little bit off it. Then , suddenly, you get called in.

The good thing when you get called in that late is, you think: 'Well, I have not got anything to lose. It isn't my fault.' Sometimes, it takes the pressure off you.

If Robbo had known beforehand that he was playing against his old side, it might have added something to it.

Joe came in after the warm-up and I did not know there was an issue until the physio pulled me and said: 'He's got a little bit of a problem with his quad.'

I spoke to Joe and he said he could run and thought he would be all right. I asked if he could do a full-out sprint as, in fairness, he was playing against Blackpool's best attacking threat in Liam Feeney and he said: 'Well, I am not sure. My quad could go.'

I am a pretty zero-risk manager when it comes to things like that. I do not want him out for six weeks. Obviously, I put Robbo in. Robbo has been struggling a little bit lately with a groin but he said he felt fine.

Right-back Billy Jones was my 19th man and came into the squad so we could fill the bench. I was harping on to the lads after the match about it being a squad game.

Striker Carlton Morris didn't get on at Blackpool, but his impact in previous games and in training has helped keep the lads on their toes.

At the other end, Matt Olosunde is one slide tackle away from a red card, so I stick Billy on and he shuts up shop pretty well.

It is all about the lads and the culture I am trying to create. They all get on and want to win for each other. Sometimes, that's enough.

By the way, I was about 30 yards out when I stuck one in for Wigan Athletic against the Seasiders in a 2-0 win on January 31 1998. I say 30, it was nearer 40. Maybe 50.

In true Warne style, it had taken me only 15 games to get off the mark. I was prolific for the rest of the season, though, and finished with a grand total of two.

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WAS it a penalty when Curtis Tilt went down in the ninth minute of stoppage time at Blackpool? It looked a good tackle by Michael Ihiekwe from where I was.

If we'd lost the game on that, I'd have been devastated. I don't want to hammer the ref, though. If he's seen something, he's seen something.

Luckily for us, it didn't have an effect on the result, but it is disappointing for our goalkeeper and back four and does affect our goal difference.

The 2-1 victory made it two league wins on the bounce and three victories in succession when you factor in our EFL Trophy triumph over Doncaster Rovers.

I am not getting carried away that suddenly we are a great team, but I'm not going to moan about taking all three points last weekend.

The lads were putting their bodies on the line, Robbo filled in and Richard Wood and Icky were pretty faultless .

Dan Iversen in goal gives us a real calm. We are trying to be brave on our lines with free-kicks because we know Dan is going to come out and catch.

Overall, three wins in a week was pretty Disney stuff. But we need to keep going - we have 30-odd games left.


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