An open letter from Paul Warren to Rotherham United supporters…
My amazing journey at this football club is over – for now.
I avoid calling it “the end” because football is a funny old game and you never know where it will take you. Rotherham United will always hold a special place in my heart and my love and closeness to a club that has given me so much will not die here.
As I’m sure you’ll be able to appreciate, this has been the hardest decision of my career – and that includes my time as the best attacking position in the hunt ever to honor the planet.
Sorry, I’m already relying on my own sense of humor to try to hide how difficult it is to actually write this.
I just wanted to put together something to express my sincere thanks to everyone associated with Rotherham United for all your support over the past six years or so.
My first thanks to my Chairman, Tony Stewart, who saw something inside of me that I could never have done and made the incredibly brave decision to offer the job to me, at a time when supporters were searching for answers. They were answers I wasn’t sure I could give, but Tony not only stood by me, but reaffirmed that I had the qualities needed to succeed. I’m no stranger to how football works, and I know there have been times when we hit a little gate, but the president has always been behind what we’ve tried to achieve and for that, I’m so grateful. I like to think he feels himself and my staff repaying his work ethic every single day and in the good times we’ve been able to give the club all the way. I hope he now feels that what seemed like a bold decision to hire me, now appears to be justified. My conversation with Tony about my leaving was difficult, but he offered me the utmost dignity and respect and took the time to listen and understand my thinking and I greatly appreciate it.
For the fans, the amazing Millers fans, I really don’t know where to start. I feel like at least 98% of you have received a video message from me to celebrate your dog’s birthday or something! Seriously, I feel like I know a lot of you personally and my phone was already exploding with so many of you wishing me well – which means the world to me. It has always been the case – in my experience anyway – that you appreciate the hard work of this football club, and this is an area that I will never sell you short. As many of you know, I have lived and breathed this football club for as long as I can remember, and when I took the job in the first place, my main fear was to let you down. It would break my heart. While there were ups and downs along the way, laughter and tears – and of course some guys yelling at me for leaving one of the corners! – She has never stopped supporting the cast and staff.
My goal here was to build a team that appreciates what the famous windmill logo means, and for every player who has ever worn a shirt for us, to do so with pride. I think 99.9% did. As a result, I’ve made many lifelong friends with the players and staff who walked through the doors at Roundwood and are in many ways like sons to me as a result of the bonding we’ve been able to create. To see the likes of Semi Ajayi, Kyle Vassell, Will Vaulks and Chiedozie Ogbene, to name a few, earn their first international calls while the Millers make me explode with pride. To see Ben Wills, a quiet young man with fine hair go from academy prospect to a top player who has played over 150 games for the club fills my heart with joy. With the support of the Chairman, we have been able to bring in players whose potential we have identified, develop and, in many cases, sell them for a profit to help ensure the club’s continued progress. For me, our ability to do this as an employee is among our greatest accomplishments.
Of course, I’d like to thank those same players – and that includes everyone who wore the badge when I was in charge. That first team I was in at the Burton fight tried their best, but couldn’t get the win I so desperately needed to validate it. Every group since then – from Joe Mattocks to the Conor Washingtons of this world – has been an absolute credit to this club and themselves.
My final message of thanks is to the Rotherham United staff, from Julie taking care of the laundry to everyone in the office on the field and, in fact, my first-team staff. I have had the privilege of working alongside some of the most talented people – and some of the most committed people in football, let me tell you. They are the beating heart of Rotherham United. From my medical and performance team who do a great job managing our high demands of player fitness to my equipment guy who ensures the likes of Dan Parlaser don’t show up on match day without their shoes. They were all absolutely wonderful and a pleasure to come and work with them every day.
We’ve always said our goal is to leave the football club in a better place than we found it when he took over six years ago, and I hope you’ll agree that we did. We leave behind an incredibly talented group of footballers, who are very confident and I know they will go on to achieve amazing things. At Rob Scott and his staffing staff, you have a team of committed individuals who will continue to uphold the best interests of this club in this department and ensure continuity for whoever comes next.
There were many laughs and tears – what can I say, did you know that I am a passionate man? — and while I think I removed my last remaining strands of hair, I loved the experience of being able to call myself the manager here. I leave with memories and friends that I will cherish forever.
From the bottom of the heart of a weeping certified Yorkshireman, and on behalf of the staff who will be leaving with me, I want to say thank you.
Once a miller, always a miller.