Warne: The man and the manager

PAUL Warne’s first press conference as interim Rotherham United manager was like a breath of fresh air.

It was unconventional to say the least, but perhaps that is what’s needed.

The feeling in the media room was not one of a formal question and answer session, but more of a conversation between a group of people who loved talking football.

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Warne’s former Millers team-mate Guy Branston told me earlier this week that the 43-year-old was infectious, in his personality and his work-rate.

After spending just 40 minutes in the caretaker boss’s company, for the pre-Burton press briefing, I wholeheartedly agree.

Witty, intelligent and charismatic were the words that came to mind while listening to the fitness coach all but rule himself out of the job long term.

When asked if he wants the job permanently, he replied: “No, I don’t. I thoroughly enjoy my job.”

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He’s answered his chairman’s SOS call  – not for the first time – after the shock resignation of manager Kenny Jackett just 39 days into his three year deal earlier in the week.

But Warne has no ambitions of taking the role full time, or even until the end of the season for that matter.

“The chairman has asked me to step in and do a job to help out and I am happy to do it,” he said.

“If he asked me to clean the toilets, I’d clean the toilets.”

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Warne would be reluctant to take the job for longer than three or four games because it could mean cutting ties with the Millers in the future.

“I don’t think I’m a manager, but a fear of  mine is that I love working at this club and I love my job, if I do the job for ninth months and do well, I honestly believe that a good manager will not want me sitting behind him with a bunch of subs,” Warne explained.

“If the chairman asks me to do it until the end of the season I wouldn’t say no, but then regrettably I would worry that my career is elsewhere.”

So if not him, then who?

“I like a leader of men, someone who is prepared to criticise players. Generally, I want someone who is a good human being. Straight talking, honest, hard-working and someone who wants to play football in a way I think Rotherham fans want to see.”

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‘Warney’ – as he is known around the club – can hold a room and described his interim role as being like a best man, excited about the speech but nervous about how it will go down at the same time.

But he also possesses a hard, demanding streak. A self-professed ‘fitness freak’, Warne demands 100 per cent every day, in every session, in every game. Just like he gave when he was wearing the Millers’ jersey so proudly.


“I spoke to one player and told him that if he wasn’t giving me what I thought he could, I would take great pleasure in substituting him after 20 minutes,” being just one example of a ruthless side that lurks behind the friendly smile.

From calling Jon Taylor “the pocket rocket” to pulling himself up when he said something he didn’t like, to holding back the tears when he thought of his family watching from the stands on Saturday - this is Paul Warne, a man who has Rotherham United flowing through his veins and will do all he can to give the fans something to cheer about once again.

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If the players feel a breath of fresh air like I did at the New York Stadium, then expect a reaction at Burton Albion.

If they don’t, then maybe they need to take a long hard look in the mirror.

Hopefully that breath of fresh air will be released as a sigh of relief after the Millers pick up their first three points on the road at the Pirelli on Saturday.

Make sure you pick up this week’s Advertiser for seven pages of coverage on the turbulent events of the last week at the New York Stadium.