The Football League Paper - - CHRIS DUNLAVY -

WHY do man­agers in­sist on stand­ing pitch­side? Is it for show? To clap their hands and yell in­struc­tions? Or sim­ply force of habit?

I’ve al­ways found a seat in the stand of­fers a much bet­ter pic­ture of shape, sys­tems and tac­tics. Down low, there’s no per­spec­tive, just a mael­strom of move­ment.

But last week’s visit to see Paul Warne, Rother­ham’s in­terim man­ager, pro­vided a fresh per­spec­tive.

“Up top, the game looks re­ally slow and easy,” he said. “I can con­vince my­self I can still play. You think ‘Why didn’t he pass it over there, it’s a piece of p***?’ “I think that’s why fans abuse play­ers.

“But, when you’re down there, you re­alise he can’t see that bloke be­cause there are three peo­ple in the way and an­other one com­ing to snap him in half.

“When you’re down on the touch­line, you see how fast and hard it re­ally is. How peo­ple are cop­ing with pace and power, how quickly they think. It’s a dif­fer­ent game.”

Warne was ter­rific com­pany – in­tel­li­gent, self-ef­fac­ing, de­void of bravado. He doesn’t see a fu­ture in man­age­ment, so he can es­chew the chest-puff­ing false con­fi­dence other coaches use to mask frailty and self-doubt.

I learned more about what be­ing a man­ager feels like in an hour with Warne than I have in a hun­dred other in­ter­views com­bined and gleaned sev­eral in­sights like the one above.

In a game in­creas­ingly rid­den with cliche and dou­ble­s­peak, the Millers have a man who cuts through the c--p.


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