How about one more job, Sharon? Neil Warnock has been on his ‘last job’ for his past six roles but, when the call came from West Yorkshire, the 74-year-old had no hesitation.
There’s plenty of romance in this story. In cutting short a Valentine’s vacation to New York with wife Sharon, Warnock restarted a love story put on hold 30 years earlier.
Then in his early 40s, Warnock first took a pew in the home dugout at Leeds Road in 1993. Little did he know he’d be still sitting in the Huddersfield dugout three decades later.
He led them to play-off glory at Wembley and a photo of that day circulated this week. With the same cheeky grin and beaming eyes, not much has changed… except a few grey hairs.
Thirteen jobs and thirty years later, Warnock is back. Long time no see, old friend. What have I missed? Since he’s been away, Huddersfield have played in each of England’s top four tiers.
Neil Warnock is eager to keep Huddersfield in the Championship after his return to the club
With two training sessions under his belt, Warnock could not remember all of his players’ names during his debut match on Saturday. He is 74 after all.
‘I kept saying to Ronnie (Jepson, assistant manager), “Who’s that there? I don’t know his name!”,’ laughed Warnock. When asked about the performance of match-winner Jaheim Headley, he replied: ‘Which one is he?
‘It’s been a hectic week and it’s lovely to get a reward like that – everyone’s gone home happy. (Etienne) Camara had blood on his nose… I love that!
‘Every one of them did their jobs today. Some of them have never worked as hard in their lives before… now it’s got to be standard practice.
It certainly won’t be an easy task but Warnock is capable of helping Huddersfield stay up
‘We’ve got Burnley next week, I might leave that one… go visit my family or something. We’ve got an outside chance of staying up but we will give it a go.’
So far, so good, then. Can he keep them up? Of course he can – it will be tough but it’s more than capable. A better question might be: why are Huddersfield in this mess in the first place?
They were one match from the Premier League in May, losing the play-off final to Nottingham Forest in a game that, even Forest fans would admit, was tilted by poor officiating.
Manager Carlos Corberan departed for Olympiacos – he is now at West Brom, who are in a play-off battle themselves – and inexperienced former player Danny Schofield took his job.
‘Danny is a legend but he was out of depth in the job,’ says Lee Morris, a Terriers fan who writes for the matchday programme.
The Huddersfield fans showed their support for Warnock in the victory against Birmingham
Huddersfield then employed Mark Fotheringham, who had coached in Germany with Hertha Berlin and Ingolstadt, but that experiment failed drastically, too.
While fans respected Schofield, Fotheringham burned bridges early on. He spent half-time signing autographs and said he doesn’t do team-talks.
Through his lens, Huddersfield should have been top of the league… or at least according to his blind assumption that they ‘deserved to win’ every game, which he said in most press briefings.
‘For years I thought we had the best-run club in the Football League,’ adds Morris. ‘We got to the Premier League and spent loads of money, mostly on utter rubbish.’
Owner Dean Hoyle stepped away from the club during a bout of illness and a local businessman, Phil Hodgkinson, took over and soon became known as ‘Potless Phil’.
Sporting director Leigh Bromby was widely hailed on the Terriers’ run to the play-off final last term due to his slick recruitment. But that has since turned sour, with fans calling for his head.
‘It’s a combination of a severe hangover from the Premier League, a complete mess with an owner who can’t afford to run the club and a minority shareholder who just wants out,’ summarises Morris.
Huddersfield showed great spirit against Birmingham and such qualities will be needed
‘We have a recruitment policy of signing cheap lower-league players and former players, and an insistence on appointing inexperienced managers. The fanbase is starting to kick up a fuss.’
There is also a balance in the fan-base between expectations. When they were in the top flight, the club regularly spun the idea they were the smallest club to ever play in the Premier League.
They were relegated without a whimper and players were clapped off, with manager Jan Siewert conducting a seemingly-happy crowd.
Since the second tier rebranded as The Championship in 2004, just one play-off final runner-up has been relegated the next season: Leeds in 2006-07.
Across West Yorkshire, Huddersfield are staring down the barrel of joining Leeds on that unlikely list. Are there three teams worse than Huddersfield this season?
From the outset, the relegation fight will be fascinating. Of the bottom five, four have changed managers in the last month and all four of them avoided defeat on Saturday.
Wigan have improved drastically – especially defensively – under Shaun Maloney, while Sabri Lamouchi has recorded two vital wins in a row at Cardiff.
So it is a big mountain for 74-year-old Warnock to climb. But after 19 jobs, 43 years of management and a lifetime of experience, only a fool would bet against him.
Source of data and images: dailymail
The post ON THE ROAD: Neil Warnock can keep Huddersfield up after getting off to a winning start first appeared on Elrisala.
How about one more job, Sharon? Neil Warnock has been on his ‘last job’ for his past six roles but, when the call came from West Yorkshire, the 74-year-old had no hesitation. There’s plenty of romance in this story. In cutting short a Valentine’s vacation to New York with wife Sharon, Warnock restarted a love …
The post ON THE ROAD: Neil Warnock can keep Huddersfield up after getting off to a winning start first appeared on Elrisala. Sports – Elrisala