It was only days after his appointment as Derby County’s new head coach and Paul Warne had something on his mind.
The coffee machine in the training ground cafeteria didn’t work and he couldn’t understand why. Derby had a huge training complex with excellent facilities including 17 pitches and a swimming pool, but a broken coffee machine.
“It drove me crazy, it’s a huge thing,” says Warne. “There was a beautiful large coffee machine there that winked at me. It was like, ‘Look how great Derby County used to be, but we can’t afford to plug it any more.’ My argument was either fix it, which was a huge amount, or get rid of it. Don’t leave it there.
“It wasn’t bad, but I fixed it. I tried to change some things and that was definitely an early win for me.”
Four months on, Warne has also got Derby’s team up and running and is dreaming of brighter days after a torrid time in the club’s recent history.
Derby stared to extinction last year, but will face West Ham in the FA Cup on Monday night after a 19-game unbeaten run, with six consecutive wins.
Warne was at the forefront of the revival and, to put it politely, he’s quite a character: funny, brutally honest, inspiring and emotional. You can see why he is so popular with staff and players.
“I like a clapping gif”
For 70 minutes in his office at Moor Farm, Warne gives a fascinating insight into his management style and methods.
“On the training field we have the ‘win wall’ and the ‘clean sheet wall’. I tried to give some color to photos of the boys scoring,” he says. “If they score their first goal for me, they get a mug. I did it at my previous club, it’s a quirky thing. At first the guys looked at me and thought it was a little weird, but it’s like a badge of honor.
“What’s amazing is that the mugs cost £12.99 in Derbyshire. In Yorkshire they are like a fiver.
“I would like to thank the players because success comes through them. To be successful you need everyone to participate, you need all of them to run through brick walls and take care of each other because everyone will be needed.
Warne enjoys a close relationship with his squad and points to the influence of seasoned pros including Curtis Davies, David McGoldrick and Richard Stearman.