Soccer

Neil Warnock happy ‘weaning off’ football with short-term jobs

The veteran manager has earned a reputation as a late-season firefighter in the twilight of his career.

Neil Warnock is happy in short-term roles
Neil Warnock Neil Warnock is happy in short-term roles (Steve Welsh/PA)

Aberdeen interim boss Neil Warnock has insisted his days of immersing himself in a job for the long haul are firmly behind him.

The 75-year-old has become a specialist in short-term fixes in recent seasons and has no desire to overstay his welcome at a club.

Warnock has seen Roy Hodgson – one year his senior – come under fire from Crystal Palace supporters after deciding to stay on for the current campaign following his impressive fire-fighting spell in charge of the Eagles at the end of last season.

Warnock is content to continue in end-of-season interim roles like the one he has taken on with the Dons, even though such a scenario means he is generally unable to recruit players in his mould.

“I don’t put myself in Roy’s situation,” he said when asked why someone in their mid-70s would take on such a pressurised position.

“I’m quite happy when I’m not involved in football, I’ve got a lovely family and everything. But I just get challenges that crop up and I look at my last few years when I’ve retired about eight times, the challenges have always been there.

“The Huddersfield challenge was impossible but we came through it, then Cardiff, to get promotion with a group like that, and even Rotherham, those challenges were something I had to roll my sleeves up for.

“And I’ve always wanted to manage up here (in Scotland). Yes, I wish it was a few years ago because I’d have loved to have had the opportunity to build a Scottish club up and bring my type of players in.

Neil Warnock has had two matches in charge of Aberdeen
Neil Warnock Neil Warnock has had two matches in charge of Aberdeen (Steve Welsh/PA)

“Even though I’ve only had a couple of games, I can see what’s missing in certain areas. But that’s not going to be possible. I have to make the job as good as I can with what I have. It’s that buzz that I get but my wife does think I’m flipping my lid at times.”

Warnock has enjoyed his first week at Aberdeen as he continues the process of weaning himself off football management.

“When I’m at home and I’m fishing and going on little holidays and things, I don’t miss it altogether,” he said. “But I do miss the dressing-room banter and trying to improve players.

“I don’t miss hotels, air conditioning and motorways. That’s why I couldn’t do it long-term now because I don’t enjoy that bit but I still get a kick out of the games and trying to get the whistle to go when you’ve got a victory.

Neil Warnock has no plan to follow Roy Hodgson’s lead
Roy Hodgson Neil Warnock has no plan to follow Roy Hodgson’s lead (John Walton/PA)

“I don’t think there’s any better feeling than that. I’m gradually weaning off, it’s just taking a lot longer than I thought.”

If Warnock was to have a transfer window, he would look to add more leaders in the mould of Graeme Shinnie.

“I like my leaders at a club, I like people to stand up and be counted during a game,” he said ahead of his first home league game in charge against Motherwell on Wednesday.

“We haven’t got many, there’s only really Shinnie that does that at the club. But they’re a genuine bunch so I just have to move on with that.”

Neil Warnock views Graeme Shinnie as Aberdeen’s only ‘leader’
Graeme Shinnie Neil Warnock views Graeme Shinnie as Aberdeen’s only ‘leader’ (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Warnock has “one or two little knocks” to check on before naming his side for the visit of a Motherwell team bidding to bounce back from their Scottish Cup defeat at cinch Championship outfit Morton on Friday.

“I don’t think Motherwell will have any hangovers from Friday,” he said. “I think they might think they’re catching us at a good time. The games that are coming up now, I would imagine teams playing against us will think it’s winnable for them and we think it’s winnable for us as well.”