What philosophy will Paul Warne adopt leading Rotherham into the Championship?

When considering how best to prepare for life in the second tier, Rotherham boss Paul Warne has two wildly different, yet ultimately successful, reference points.

He was first part of the famous side under Ronnie Moore that won successive promotions at the turn of the century, and then was on the coaching staff when Steve Evans masterminded a similar feat almost 15 years later.

Moore’s team did it against the odds, playing as a group of mates and following the rise to the then Division One new arrivals were limited.

 

There was not the money floating around in the Ken Booth era, of course, but Moore only brought in Mike Pollitt, Chris Swailes and Nick Daws, with Martin McIntosh and John Mullin following shortly after the season started.

All five of those players slotted into the group seamlessly and despite failing to win either of their first 10 or last 10 games, the Millers stayed in the division on goal difference.

Evans’ approach could barely have been any more different.

Despite having a group of players that had won promotion with an incredible sense of spirit and unity, the Scot chose to overhaul his squad, bringing in 16 new signings during the close season and breaking the club-record transfer fee twice.

The majority of the promotion-winning players stayed – only James Tavernier, Wes Thomas and Kieran Agard left – but the soul and identity of the team had been ripped apart.

Nonetheless, with plenty more arrivals as the campaign went on, the Millers secured their survival with a game to go, shirking off a points deduction to boot.

 

Two contrasting approaches, perhaps dictated to by circumstance, but both yielded the same successful result.

Now Warne is the man with the decision to make and it is pretty obvious which way he is going to go.

The Millers boss managed to harvest something similar to the Moore years in terms of group dynamic and spoke at length this season about how close his players are and how they socialise together away from the club.

He has referenced his playing days on many occasions and thinks this group can go on and achieve similar.

Besides, even if he wanted to bring players in through a revolving door, the Millers hierarchy have learned their lesson from last time.

But, that has never been Warne’s intention and he believes this group deserve a shot in the Championship.

“I am all about rewarding the people that get you up, so I am trying to keep the group together,” he said.

 

“I obviously have to add to it, I am not naive enough to think this group is good enough to do amazing in the Championship on their own.

“But if they carry on the feeling of winning games and start the season well you never know.

“It will be an uphill task, there are some amazing teams in that division, I am well aware of that, but if you can try and put smiles on people’s faces and the people of Rotherham can get behind the team then you never know.”

 

 

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