Paul Warne hails ‘pretty special’ day as Rotherham win promotion
The Millers beat Shrewsbury 2-1 after extra-time at Wembley.
Paul Warne says leading Rotherham back to the Sky Bet Championship with victory in the League One play-off final is the perfect way to finish the season off.
The Millers beat Shrewsbury 2-1 after extra-time at Wembley, with captain Richard Wood scoring both goals.
It seals an instant return to the second tier after they were relegated in 2016-17 with a record low points total and is the fifth promotion Warne has been involved in with the Millers.
Warne said: “It’s up there, it makes it extra special that my kids are at an age that they know what is happening, my dad is ill and has hung in there to see it and if you go to work and work with your best friends then you are pretty blessed.
“So for those three reasons this is pretty special.
“We’ve had an amazing season, to finish at Wembley with a final is pretty special.”
Central defender Wood proved the unlikely matchwinner and caps off an impressive turnaround for him at the club after being sent out on loan three times and almost being sold in January.
And Warne is delighted things have worked out for Wood.
“He is worth a lot to me on and off the pitch,” he added. “I love him to death, and he epitomised what the club stands for, it gives me great joy for him to score two. He is a warrior, that is what he is.”
Wood opened the scoring for the dominant Millers in the 32nd minute, heading home from a corner after David Ball had earlier missed a penalty.
Warne’s men were pegged back when Alex Rodman converted a superb short free-kick but, after seeing his side spurn several chances, Wood did the job himself when he bundled home in the first half of extra-time.
Shrewsbury were not at their best but must consider themselves unlucky not to have won promotion, having spent over 200 days of the regular season in the top two.
But with several key loan players, such as Dean Henderson and Matt Godfrey, now set to leave the club, boss Paul Hurst, who has been linked with other jobs, knows next season will be difficult.
“My stomach is telling me I’m disappointed, my head is telling me to be very proud that we have come so close to promotion,” he said.
“When you see grown men cry and people question whether people care, these lads are committed and gave it all.
“The worry is if we’d have got promoted the gulf in terms of financial power would have made it a huge challenge but one we wanted to tackle.
“Maybe the bigger challenge is trying to get the team and squad together to get even close to replicate what we have done this season. That is the balancing act.
“Can we do it next season? That is the challenge.”