Dog-walking, nachos and Rotherham United underpants ... Millers manager Paul Warne talk us through his perfect day in his Advertiser column

IT’S a Sunday but not just any old Sunday. This is a very special Sunday. This is my perfect day ...
I've just told Mrs W she's got six hours of NFL to look forward toI've just told Mrs W she's got six hours of NFL to look forward to
I've just told Mrs W she's got six hours of NFL to look forward to

There isn’t a second to waste so I get up nice and early and take my dog, Chief, for a ten-kilometre walk in Clumber Park.

On the drive there from Warne Acres in Tickhill, I stop to get me a Starbucks and him a Puppuccino. I now have one very happy pooch on my hands and he has one very happy owner.

My wife is probably with us. She’s optional, though. Rachel’s a very good optional extra but doesn’t have to be there to make my day a perfect one. It’s a bit like having heated seats in your car: they’re lovely but not essential.

I come back and have an unbelievable breakfast. Not a truckers’ breakfast, that’s not really me. I’m more an Eggs Benedict kind of guy. I have that with another coffee and I’ve also treated myself to  a decent newspaper.

I sound a bit snobby when I say it’s The Sunday Times but there are no ifs and buts about it: it’s a good paper with an excellent sport section.

I read the ‘Culture’ supplement that comes with it, not because I’m cultured but because it tells you the best TV for the week. Whatever they say is the ‘Pick of the Week’ I watch or record. It’s been like that for the last ten years. The people at The Sunday Times just ‘know’ me.

The newspaper still comes with numerous extra bits and is a very desirable, heavyweight package. In the old days, I used to watch the delivery boys and girls wobbling down the road on Sunday mornings with paper-bags twice the size of their bikes.

After digesting my breakfast and all the latest news, I have a little go in my gym — do a bit on the treadmill and all that.

Now I’ve worked off the Eggs Benedict and the day is really starting. It’s probably around 1pm or 2pm at this stage and I’ve packed in plenty already so I’m feeling good.

The weather has turned. It was lovely and sunny in the morning but we’re in England and you have to be realistic, even on your perfect day. It’s cloudy now. However, that’s no problem, my friends. It’s the perfect time to fit in a Meadowhall cinema trip.

I appreciate it isn’t ‘Buy One, Get One Free’ on a Sunday so my missus is optional again. She can come if she pays for the coffees and lets me have a bag of my favourite peanut M&Ms.

Sitting in a cinema on my own has never bothered me. For a few weeks I’ve wanted to go and watch ‘Elvis’ but my missus hasn’t really fancied it. That’s settled then. On my perfect day The King and I are happily spending a couple of hours in each other’s company while Rachel is ransacking Meadowhall (after buying the M&Ms, of course).

We then go home, it’s a ‘Super Sunday’ on Sky TV and I’m treating Rach to a bit of Warney time. She’s sitting next to me and loving every second of snuggling up on the settee while the Premier League footy is on.

We’re having a nachos, jalapeños and chilli hot dog sort of Sunday tea. Perfect. Rach has made it. Don’t tell her but this is the real reason why I’ve allowed her back into my perfect day.

Around this time I reach out to my dear old mum back in Norfolk — maybe FaceTime her and send her a few cheeky text messages. She likes that. I also send one or two voice messages on WhatsApp to keep a few people on their toes and that’s my only bit of work for the day.

After that, the next six hours are spent having a few scoops and following the NFL on the box. Ideally, Pittsburgh Steelers are playing but I don’t mind whoring myself out — I’ll watch anyone. There’s nothing wrong with that. When it comes to football, I’m a Norwich City fan but I still enjoy watching Manchester City and Liverpool.

I normally like to be in bed by 10pm but as this is my perfect day it is stretching out later than that. The second NFL game can finish as late as 2am so I’ll watch the first part downstairs and the second part upstairs.

For the second half, I’ll be laid like a starfish in bed legs akimbo, fully stretched out, wearing nothing but a Pittsburgh hat and my Rotherham United underpants. I’ve resisted adding a pair of Norwich footy socks. I don’t want to look ridiculous.

No-one else is allowed in my half of the bed. I can’t have the missus creeping over and becoming amorous because I’ve had a big day of eating and drinking. No funny business on a perfect day; we’ve got that stuff out of the way the night before.

There is a possibility I may inadvertently fall asleep. If so and I wake up with the remote control stuck to my face at 1.30am I’ll just go for an old-man wee and then try to see out the end of the game.

At this stage Mrs Warne is probably trying to put her head on my chest but it’s just overheating me so that has to stop. I want her on her side of the bed and me on mine.

To make sure that’s the case, I’ve picked up the draught excluder from the bottom of the bedroom door — the one in the shape of a snake — and put that down the middle of the bed.

Mrs W enjoys the NFL because there are lots of adverts and she can look at her phone a lot.

I haven’t checked with her but I have to say, this is probably her perfect day as well. She’s possibly gone for a walk with me, possibly gone to the cinema, definitely cooked and is sharing a bed (well almost — the snake is doing its job) with the man of her dreams.

Before I drift off for the final time, I notice Rach is overheating this time, not me.

Obviously it’s down to the sight of me in my Rotherham United underpants.

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I’M not sure I’ve revealed this publicly before but I came close to leaving this great club a few years ago.

Mark Robins and I are former Rotherham United teammates from the turn of the century and when he was manager of Huddersfield Town in the 2013/14 season he asked me to join him there.

It was back in the days when Steve Evans was the manager here and I was fitness coach.

Robbo wanted me for the same role with the Terriers and I admit I wasn’t far off accepting.

He and I have been good pals since being part of the same frontline for the Millers in the early 2000s under Ronnie Moore in the Championship.

I liked him from day one and we bonded during pre-season, spending some time together when Ronnie took the team south to play at Worthing.

Something Robbo said to me soon after that has always stuck with me.

I can clearly recall one of the first games we played together at Millmoor. We were walking off the pitch at the end and he put his arm around me and said: ‘What do you think, Mate?’

I said we’d done all right because we’d won and then he said: ‘Do you think I’ve done enough to stay in the team?’

I was thinking: ‘Wow, this is Mark Robins, ex Manchester United, asking me, Paul Warne, ex non-league with Wroxham, if I think he’s done enough to stay in the team.’

I liked him even more after that. He was just as humble and human as anyone else. He wasn’t ‘big time’ in any kind of way.

When we signed a player who’d played at Manchester United — particularly as our home was humble Millmoor — it was a big deal and I thought: ‘Cor, he’s not going to suit here.’

But he did. It was the same with Scott Minto who’d played for Chelsea and Porto. Good people are just good people and Robbo is one of them.

I was looking forward to catching up with him last Sunday when we were due to face his Coventry City side until the state of the pitch at Coventry Building Society Arena saw the game called off.

We spoke almost daily a couple of seasons ago when Covid ended the League One season early and it looked like the promotion places were going to be decided on a points-per-game basis. I’m sure we all remember it better as PPG!

I was manager of Rotherham and he was manager of Coventry and we were the two clubs in second and first place who would go up from League One if the last nine games of the regular campaign weren’t played

We’d be ringing all the time, asking each other what we’d heard while the EFL were holding a vote between all the teams and coming to a decision.

I was pleased it was his team that were promoted alongside us.

He’s always been good company and is someone whose opinions I value. I have a lot of time for him.

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RECRUITMENT this year has been tougher than ever.

Earlier this summer when we trying to do one particular deal, I had to have a Zoom meeting with an agent before I was allowed to have a Zoom meeting with the target.

There have been a lot of hoops to jump through.

Permanent deals have been harder to come by. I’ve met loads of players and unfortunately they’ve chosen to go somewhere else.

I don’t think we’re in a bad place after bringing in nine new boys but I’d like to have done a bit more by now. That’s the curse of being a manager: you never think you’ve done enough.

The loans are happening late, as is always the case. There will be loads of those done in the last three weeks of the window.

The Premier League clubs kept their young players until after they’d been on tour and their seasons were beginning. It was only then that they started filtering their players out to Championship clubs.

Then Championship clubs start filtering out players to League One and so it goes on down the pyramid.

We’re not fully at the loan trough yet. I’m looking to make a couple more signings if possible.

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I LOVE the new ‘five substitutions’ rule.

I know a lot of people say it favours the bigger clubs because it lets them bring on even more quality from their bench.

I don’t dispute that, but I’m still in favour of this season’s increase from three to five.

You can play right on the edge all of the time because you know you have the capacity to change things when one of your lads is spent.

Also, if the team start badly and I’ve picked the wrong shape, I can make two changes at half time, totally reshape things and still have three subs left.

Previously, you’d see managers — myself included — make two changes and then hold the third one back until the 80th minute.

You daren’t risk it any earlier in case someone then got injured and left you down to ten men.