MILLERS chief Paul Warne was quick to pay tribute to his Rotherham United side, who secured an instant return to the Championship, at the first time asking, following an extra-time victory over Shrewsbury Town in the League One play-off final.
On a memorable day for all those of a Rotherham United persuasion, skipper Richard Wood proved an unlikely hero – with a well-taken brace, including an extra-time winner, which sent the travelling hordes from South Yorkshire into delirium.
Speaking to the assembled press corps afterwards, Warne believed the nature of their play-off victory epitomised their test of character following the disappointing nature of last year’s relegation.
“If you go to work and work with your best friends, you are pretty blessed so for many reasons, it’s made the win more special for me,” Warne enthused.
“It was tough last year. I questioned myself no end of times. It was the chairman, who convinced me I had the right attributes to be a good manager.
“It was really tough last season. The technical area is a lonely stand when things do not go your way and you are losing football matches. In the summer, I recruited players and personalities I wanted. I surrounded myself with really good people and tried to put a smile on people’s faces. We’ve had an amazing season and I’m immensely proud of what we’ve achieved.”
At a red-hot Wembley, Wood gave the Millers an interval lead with a close range finish. An equaliser from Alex Rodman took the game to extra-time before Wood popped up with the winner – to the delight of the Millers supremo.
“I call (Wood) the wrecking ball because every time it’s goes into the box, he’s prepared to head people,” Warne added.
“He’s a unique centre-half in today’s football. He’s my only player over 30. He’s worth a lot to me, on and off the pitch. He’s a respectful bloke and it gives me great joy that he scored two. He scored and then ran flat out for 60 metres. He’s a warrior and in today’s football, it’s pretty unique.”