Promotion confirmed at poignant time for Norwich-born Millers boss
He was a fitness coach who used to play for Wroxham and Diss but Paul Warne’s remarkable rise as a manager has continued after leading Rotherham to a second promotion to the Championship.
The self-confessed Norwich City fan, who grew up in North Walsham, led the Millers to League One play-off glory in 2018 but their limited finances saw them relegated last season.
Warne has inspired a fightback though, ahead of much bigger clubs including Sunderland, Portsmouth and Ipswich, with this week’s decision to settle the League One season on a points-per-game method sealing second place following March’s suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Apart from me and (his assistant) Richie Barker, it has secured everyone’s future in the club. I’d like to think so anyway; our jobs are never secure – I understand that,” Warne said.
“You are talking about people’s livelihoods and it is the same in every walk of life at the moment. If we go up this way and it makes our club more financially stable, then why wouldn’t I be proud of that. I am and now I have got a lot less awkward conversations than I might have.”
The achievement has added meaning for Warne as well, who returned home to Norfolk following the death of his father, Russell, last June after a long battle with illness.
“It’s good for the club at this bad time and hopefully it will give people in Rotherham a lot to smile about,” he added, speaking to the Yorkshire Post, having also made over 270 appearances as a player for the Millers.
“It’s poignant for me because it is the anniversary of my father’s death and it sums up the season we have had. We’ve had a lot of heartache in the club, some really sad stories within my coaching and playing staff. We have also had some sad stories on the terraces, more than I have ever known and it just feels like we are a really unified club which makes me really proud.
“To go up the way we have isn’t ideal, but it is probably the fairest way to end the season. It will probably sink in later because it seems a bit surreal. You get promoted and there is a game, a pitch invasion or something. It does feel odd but it doesn’t detract from the achievement of the lads this year, they have thoroughly deserved to be in the top two.”