Neil Warnock was relieved of his post this month as manager of Queens Park Rangers by chairman Tony Fernandes. Typically, Warnock did not go quietly claiming malevolent forces within the club conspired to “poison” his reputation in a way that was both unfair and harmful to the team. It is the latest in a long line of disputes the 63 year old manager has found himself in over the course of a 30 year managerial career which has been nothing if not eventful.
Never one to back
down from a challenge Warnock began his coaching career in 1980 after retiring from a playing career that had seen him play for eight different teams across the English league. Over the next three decades he guided 6 different clubs to promotions - Scarborough, Notts County, Huddersfield, Plymouth Argyle, Sheffield United and QPR - the last two of which were to the Premier League. It is, however, the various wars of words and off pitch disputes he has engaged in over the years for which he is most well-known.
One of the most storied of these came in the 2007 season when he accused Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate of fielding a weakened team against Manchester City, who were involved in a relegation battle with Warnock's own Sheffield Untied side. Warnock suggested Southgate's team selection was motivated by a desire to help out his ex-teammate and personal friend Stuart Pearce who was in charge of City at the time.
Warnock hasn't just kept his confrontational words to other managers and frequently it is opposition players who he has antagonized. A 2006 Championship match between Sheffield United and Derby County descended into chaos when Warnock reacted to a rash tackle from Derby player Michael Johnson by trying to get the opposition player sent off. This lead to Johnson and Warnock going nose to nose on the touchline, needing to be pulled apart by coaching staff and officials.
These are just two of many, many moments in Warnock's career where his confrontational style has seen him in trouble. Whatever he does next, one thing is for sure: it is highly unlikely to be without controversy.