Derby fans weren't delighted I'm not ‘sexy name' but I can deliver – Paul Warne
Paul Warne accepts Derby fans might not have been “dancing a jig” when he was appointed as their new manager earlier this season.
Warne joined from Sky Bet Championship side Rotherham in September and was given the task of rebuilding the Rams after they nearly went out of business under their previous owner.
The 49-year-old says the Derby fanbase were perhaps hoping for a “sexier name” to replace Liam Rosenior having previously had the likes of Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard in their dugout.
But Warne is proving exactly why owner David Clowes made him his only target as he has transformed the Rams and propelled them into the League One automatic promotion race with a 13-game unbeaten run.
That goes on the backburner as they welcome West Ham in the FA Cup fourth round on Monday where an upset is on the cards.
Warne, with his backroom staff of Richie Barker, Matt Hamshaw and Andy Warrington, are at Pride Park for the long haul and the chances are there will be no doubters.
“It is pure paranoia. I haven’t read the fans think we are rubbish, but I am well aware that bigger clubs want bigger sexier names because that is what we have had,” Warne told the PA news agency.
“We have followed (Phillip) Cocu, Lampard, Rooney, Liam and then it is four lads from up the road.
“I can’t imagine that all the fans were dancing a jig if I am being honest.
“Each club has a fanbase that has expectations. For us, we are relationship people and slow burners.
“If you had six games left and needed to win all six to get promoted I don’t think you’d get us in. I’m not Neil Warnock or anything like that.
“But if you want us to build the club from in to out we probably are the right people but we are not as sexy as other people.
“I do know as well that my interviews are either very interesting or annoying in equal measure so I do know that I am a bit Marmite.
“But I don’t go hunting down Derby fans’ opinions. I am sensitive, no one likes criticism and if you read it in print it is even harder.”
Opinion polls are likely to be high given the run the Rams find themselves on.
They are unbeaten in any competition since a 1-0 defeat at Ipswich in October and have won their last six ahead of the Hammers’ visit on Monday.
“All I have done is come across really positive people, all the letters and emails I receive are really positive,” Warne added.
“But in fairness we could work hard as possible, do everything right and if the team don’t perform right we are not going to be popular.
“We are fortunate because we have got a good team, the lads have bought into what we want to do and we are winning games.
“I like to think the fans like what the team is doing and I’d like to think the fanbase and owners can see what we are trying to do.”