A meeting with a former City striker shaped Warne’s views on the importance of community
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Rotherham United boss Paul Warne has recalled how an encounter with former Norwich City striker Robert Rosario taught him the importance of a footballer’s role within society.
Warne, a self-confessed Canaries supporter, has been phoning elderly supporters and recording video messages to help lift spirits amongst those who need it most during the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking about the lessons he’d learned during this period in his pre-match press conference, the former Wroxham player said: “I’ve learned quite a lot to be fair, I don’t think you realise how you can affect people’s days.
“The phone calls I’ve made or the videos I’ve sent and I’ve had emails back to the club thanking me - they make me feel really humble.
“I explain to the lads all the time how important they are in the community and just sending a message or speaking to someone, socially distanced, in a shop or a coffee house just might make their day.
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“At the moment, you’ve got to get any rays of sunshine you can from your day when you can.”
Warne believes the Millers are an important pillar of the community and confessed he is still amazed by the devotion of football fans and the lengths they go to attend matches.
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“Some people drive 300 miles to watch Rotherham play at home on a Saturday,” he added. “That’s mind-boggling to me because I don’t think I would do that for anything unless it was my son.
“If they’re prepared to drive a 600-mile round trip to watch us play away at Rochdale then it would be wrong for me to think a private message or a video from Michael Smith or Freddie Ladapo wouldn’t mean the world to them.”
Warne went on to explain how meeting Rosario as a youngster made him realise how highly some people hold footballers and the importance of their role in contemporary society.
“I still have a picture that I had with my school under-11s team with Robert Rosario who was a Norwich City striker,” the Norfolk-born Millers boss recalled.
“I just could not believe that he came to do our presentation, it was amazing. I’ve still got that photo.
“I look back on myself as a kid especially knowing what affect footballers can have on kids - not that he spoke to me, because if he did then I’d remember the words verbatim, but if he did then whatever he would have said I would have remembered until this day.
“So I know the affect these lads have on the community.”