Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I've Got a Few Friends in the Game . . . but I Don't Want It Held against Them; the Jeers Don't Worry Warnock

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I've Got a Few Friends in the Game . . . but I Don't Want It Held against Them; the Jeers Don't Worry Warnock

Article excerpt

Byline: MATT HUGHES

MILLWALL fans are not known for extending the warm arm of friendship to visiting managers, but it will take more than a few jeers to unsettle Neil Warnock tomorrow.

The Sheffield United boss, an unlikely candidate for manager of the year, has had more rows than most in 17 years of continuous employment as a manager and shows no sign of mellowing with age.

Warnock's latest spat, or was that spit, with Liverpool defender Stephane Henchoz, is being investigated by the Football Association but the 54-year-old laughs off his portrayal as a belligerent head-case.

Warnock said: "I've learnt to deal with it. You listen to what's said and take it with a pinch of salt. I've been told I wind people up but I'm not aware of it.

"There are a few people in football I speak to, but I don't publicise that. We only talk about the ones I don't like.

"I've got quite a few friends in football, but don't want to name them in case it's held against them. The press make a lot of the arguments but they're not intentional.

"At the clubs I've managed there was no time for psychological mind games.

Things were more basic than that."

Warnock's CV reads like an A-Z of England's least-wanted football jobs.

After starting out at Burton Albion he led Scarborough into the Football League in his first season, before winning four promotions through the playoffs with Notts County, Huddersfield and Plymouth. Spells at Bury and Oldham were less successful, but as a lifelong Blades fan, Warnock is in dreamland.

He said: "It's been a dream come true. It's definitely the highlight of my career but we've not won anything yet. The playoffs take some beating. I've never lost a playoff game which is a good omen, but it depends which way you look at it. I've got to lose a game sooner or later."

Warnock's success at his hometown club is remarkable. When he took over three years ago they were second bottom of the First Division and in a dire financial position, but the Blades now stand on the threshold of a return to the Premiership. An unbeaten run of 10 league games has taken them to within six points of second-placed Leicester and, with two games in hand, Warnock's run of playoff successes may not even be tested. …

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