Rotherham United chairman Tony Stewart on transfer spending, manager Paul Warne and head of recruitment Jamie Johnson

TONY Stewart is ready to put his hand in his pocket to finance Paul Warne's transfer-window pursuit of permanent signings.
Tony StewartTony Stewart
Tony Stewart


The Rotherham United chairman supports manager Warne's preference for full deals rather than relying too heavily on the loan market.

And he'll back the boss if the right targets become available before next Thursday's January 31 deadline for recruitment.

“If the manager comes to me and asks for funding to bring in a player, the answer is 'yes',” Stewart said.

“He wouldn't come and ask me for £10 million. We live within our means. But will we invest? Yes, we'll always invest.

“We've never had a budget. There's no set amount for spending. It's always been that way.

“The manager's thoughts, and I agree with him, are that he would like to get more players on Rotherham's books — permanent transfers rather than loans.”

Stewart likes the way the Millers' transfer policy is now operating, with developing players being snapped up and then improved by Warne and his coaching team.

“The idea behind signing young players is that they will stay with us for several seasons,” the chairman said.

“Some of the players now have been with us for more than two years and we've seen them mature.

“They are competing. From being lads, they are now mature, professional footballers.

“The players love Paul Warne. He's close to them. There's no falseness. It's all about honesty, hard work and getting better.”

The Millers won promotion from League One last season and are above the drop zone in their first season back in the Championship.

Stewart says the more progress Rotherham make, the more he will invest in fresh talent, although not at the expense of the club's long-term stability.

“We have two of three options for every area of the pitch,” he said. “It's about value for money. Nobody goes out in Rotherham and pays £50 for a pair of shoes if they can get them for £30. There's nothing wrong with that. I've always tried to do that.

“If a player out there is a prima donna and thinks he's worth millions, I wouldn't pay it. You either throw money at it in big sums and hold your breath or you recruit young and develop players.

“We have to make sure, first and foremost, that we're going in the right direction. That gives you the confidence to then go out and say: 'We're now going to push the boat out.'

“There are big clubs who have tried over many seasons to get into the Premier League and they've failed. The chairman has gone, the funding's gone and another guy has come in.

“They spin the wheel for another three years and then they change again.”


Paul Warne:

THE close relationship between chairman and manager could play a part in Paul Warne choosing to stay at Rotherham United if other clubs come calling, believes Tony Stewart

Boss Warne led the Millers to League One promotion in his first full season in charge and  it won't have gone unnoticed elsewhere that he has kept them competitive in the Championship this term.

But chairman Stewart revealed he loses no sleep over the prospect of losing Warne who signed a new three-year contract along with assistant manager Richie Barker after last May's Wembley play-off final success over Shrewsbury Town.

“I don't worry. I never have done about any manager,” he said.

Paul Warne

The businessman has used the millions he has earned from his company, ASD Lighting, to bankroll the Millers for the last ten years.

He added: “I employ salesmen at ASD, good salesmen. Some of them have been here for 30/35 years. You treat good people well and hope that counts for something.

“Football is a bit different. The grass is always a bit greener. There's always someone throwing money at positions. I think what will be will be.

“If you do your level best, if you make things comfortable, if you speak to the manager almost daily, that's a good balance.”

Stewart says he and Warne work well together because they operate a policy of openness.

“You share everything. There are no secrets,” he said. “You share moans and groans. Very little comes of that.

“I always say to Paul: 'There will never be a mystery. You don't want a mystery, I don't want a mystery.'

“We speak openly and frankly and it's a harmonious relationship.”


Head of recruitment:

HE may be based on the south coast more than 200 miles away from ASSEAL New York Stadium.

But out of sight doesn't mean out of mind in the case of Rotherham United head of recruitment Jamie Johnson.

Chairman Tony Stewart speaks with him weekly and insists the long-distance arrangement is no barrier to the club making the right signings.

Johnson and the group of scouts he co-ordinates are responsible for identifying the kind of players manager Paul Warne would want to add to his Millers squad during the summer and January transfer windows.

“It works very well with Jamie and his team,” Stewart said. “He's been on board for two years now. He's a good, hard-working, talented individual.

“He effectively reports on a daily basis to Paul Warne. I speak to him once a week for a 'catch-up'.

“He lives down in Brighton. It doesn't worry me that he's there rather than up here.

“I get print-offs and charts on all the games he and his scouts have been to throughout the UK.

“Scouting isn't regional. It's beyond that.”

Rotherham, who are keen to bring in at least two more new faces before the end of the month, are also extending their search to Europe.

Warne said: “There are two lads playing in foreign leagues who I like.”

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