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Neil Warnock retired from football coaching at age of 73

Sat 09 April 2022 | 15:29

After 42 years of coaching, legendary football manager Neil Warnock has announced his retirement from the game, telling the press that it is "the right time" to move on.

Warnock declared his retirement from football on Soccer Saturday, having most recently coached

Middlesbrough

in the

Championship

, which he departed in November 2021. 

Almost the course of his managerial career, Warnock has overseen over 1,600 games, won a record eight Football League promotions, and guided

Sheffield United

,

Queens Park Rangers

, and

Cardiff City

to the Premier League. In addition, he holds the record for managing the most matches in English professional football.

"I just thought it was the right time, really, coming towards the end of the season, there's not really a job you're going to get before then," he told 

Sky Sports

. "I've had a good run really. I'm enjoying things I've not done for years, I'm having a lot of time with the family, my dogs and I've taken up cycling too.

"I'm not saying the enthusiasm's gone, I've not lost that, but when I see some of my friends who are struggling health wise, there comes a time where you have to let your family enjoy a little bit more of your time, in particular my wife Sharon.

"When you're a manager you're very selfish, you take your job home with you whether you're on a high or a low and it's very difficult for your wife and kids.

"It's hard to replicate the final whistle when you've won a game, there's nothing quite like that in normal life, and you have to realise you're not going to get that buzz again in that situation. But I'm doing a couple of evenings in the theatre, and I imagine I'll still be nervous before them!"

After his exit from Middlesbrough, Warnock had been in talks with a number of teams but was hesitant to drop divisions after management in England's top two levels for the previous two decades. 

He started his managerial journey with Gainsborough Trinity and Burton Albion before guiding Scarborough to promotion to the Football League in 1986/87. From then, he achieved back-to-back promotions with Notts County, advancing to the First Division in 1991/92. 

With Huddersfield Town in the play-offs in 1994/95, he earned his third Football League promotion, followed by a fourth with Plymouth a year later, capped with their first trip to Wembley Stadium. He first managed in the

Premier League

when he took his childhood club Sheffield United to the top division in 2005/06, and he returned in 2010/11 with QPR. 

In what would out to be his last duty before going to the Riverside at the end of last year, he achieved perhaps his most spectacular top-flight promotion with unfancied Cardiff City in 2017/18.

Moreover, the 73-year-old former coach was asked to describe his career in words.

Best Memory: 

"There were so many. I was lucky having eight promotions and you can't really pick one out. I'd always supported Sheffield United, getting them promoted was really special, but I enjoyed so many times - Notts County, Huddersfield, Plymouth, were all really good.

"I thought my biggest achievement was not even a promotion - it was keeping Rotherham in the Championship, when we were six points adrift with 16 games to go and eight out of the top nine clubs to play. We went on a fabulous run.

"What a great group of boys they were, they were limited in certain attributes but we got them believing in themselves and we went to places like Sheffield Wednesday and won, which was always special for me."

Biggest regret: 

"Only really Sheffield United losing to Wigan in our last game and getting relegated, and all the Carlos Tevez things. The bitterness is still there for me with Rafa Benitez playing kids against Fulham for Liverpool, I don't think half of those played again, and then Sir Alex Ferguson playing what was essentially a B team against West Ham.

"That was the sourest moment for me - we didn't deserve to go down. If it was the other way around, I think we would've been docked points."

Most memorable player: 

"I'd have to say Adel Taraabt because of how he was. When I turned up at QPR he was bombed out, I remember our first practice match the sun was out and he had black gloves on! I was still finding out who everyone was and someone told me, 'you don't want to know him, gaffer, he'll get you the sack'.

"But I liked him, there was something about him, and I built a team around him really. To see us get promotion was very special, he had an amazing season and I don't think he's had one like it since.

"He was the most talented, but there were also players like Victor Moses and Wilfried Zaha at Crystal Palace, the ability those three had was unbelievable. I've had some good midfielders and centre-halves, and struggled up front down the years!"

I wish I had worked with...: 

"There's a lot of players you look back at and think, 'blinking heck, I could've signed him'. At Sheffield United a scout recommended a second division player in France, and said he'd cost us £100,000.

"'£100,000 for a second division striker in France?' I said, 'we can't do that.' And his name was Didier Drogba - so you do make mistakes. There's been a lot of players I've tried to sign and couldn't quite do financially at the time."

Most memorable game: 

"The final games where we got promoted were very special. Sheffield United at Cardiff on Good Friday, where we won a great game and Leeds had to win the following day and didn't.

"Real drama was probably when Nottingham Forest came to Bramall Lane in the play-offs and we were 2-0 down, and we stormed back and won it. It's one of the most memorable halves of football I've ever been involved in. There was the Notts County cup final, taking 35,000 Plymouth fans to Wembley for the first time too - people still talk to me about that."

One piece of advice to a young Neil Warnock: 

"If you're going to be a manager long-term, you've got to decide what you want to do and be strong, believe in yourself. My one bit of advice would be to have a good chairman, it doesn't half help.

"Simon Jordan was mine at Crystal Palace, I had a few bad times and he was brilliant with me. Mehmet Dalman at Cardiff too was brilliant."

 


source: SportMob

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