Neil Warnock is the typical Marmite manager, you either love him or you hate him. He is outspoken, controversial, contradictory and honest - a lot of what modern day football is missing. He’s someone who puts the cat amongst the pigeons. But for some reason, unless he is your manager, he somehow seems to rub people up the wrong way. Fair play to the guy though, he has worked wonders at QPR this season, they have had a great year and possibly his biggest achievement was getting Taarabt to actually perform. There has been a lot of speculation recently that Warnock, despite his achievements, will get the sack.
Warnock is not experienced enough in top flight football. He has only been in the Premiership once with Sheffield United and was relegated at the end of the that season. We probably remember how he had beef with Liverpool after they fielded a weakened side against Fulham, only for Fulham to win and the blades to be relegated – but the fact was they weren’t good enough, probably a similar standard side to QPR’s team of this year, minus a Taarabt quality player.
Warnock is a specialist at getting clubs promoted in the lower leagues, this is what he should stick to. The Premier League is too big for him. He is good at getting the most out of average players that know of his reputation and play for him. But how seriously will older, established international players take Warnock? The ambitions of the board mean that they will want the playing squad littered with international players as soon as possible.
Therefore QPR need to think bigger than Warnock. A big time manager is what they need to help sell the dream at QPR. A Championship club has little worldwide exposure and can therefore only recruit a certain calibre of player most likely from other domestic sides. Yes they can attract the Wayne Routledge’s and Heider Helguson’s of this world, who can’t get a game in the Prem, but is that the quality of player to take them to the top half of the Premier League which is where the owners aspirations lie?
They need a manager with a European reputation if they are going to attract the players to take them forward. Tell a player from Spain, Germany or Italy that QPR are interested in signing them, they will probably ask who they they? Who’s the manager? ‘A London side and the manager is Neil Warnock’ Who’s Neil Warnock? Exactly. Answer with the names ‘Lippi’ or ‘Ranieri’ and they will be willing to listen, which is half the battle.
They could recruit a few more Premiership fringe players or the best from the Championship so they can survive like Hull, Newcastle and Stoke survived. I will say in the case of Stoke and Newcastle it is a fair point, they have done well. For me those two clubs are doing a ‘Charlton’ and the board and fans will be happy with that - pushing top half of mid-table. Look where Charlton are now with that mentality.
Doing a ‘Charlton’ will not be sufficient for the owners of QPR, they want to be challenging for Europe as soon as possible. Can they take a risk with Warnock for a season and see what happens? I don’t think so. If Warnock is in charge their best hope is survival. If he achieves that then the board will sack him as they want more. So why wait and do it at the end of next season when they can do it now? They are only prolonging the inevitable. If they start to build a squad of top players now, with an experienced top flight manager they have a chance that in 2 or 3 seasons time they can be at a point to realise the clubs ambitions.
Warnock just isn’t the man for the job. Players in this country will either love him or hate him, want to play for him or not despite the cash. International players could come in and not get on with him. This is a man that does not have the class required in the Premiership, both in expertise and also as a person. How far can he take QPR? There is your answer, sometimes you want to give someone a chance, you like them, you want to be nice … but this is business and that doesn’t matter.
There is no doubt Warnock has done well this year, but with that squad, who wouldn’t. He has gone in and installed discipline in the players. He pretty much adopted Taarabt as part of the family just to settle him down. It would be a kick in the teeth if he did lose his job as he probably deserves a shot. But the owners don’t want QPR to be a yo-yo club, they have to not only survive but progress. I like people voicing an honest opinion in this ‘PC’ world, but QPR don’t need an Ian Holloway type manager. In the words of Sir Alan … ’Neil, you’re fired’.