Neil Warnock wasted no time in getting back into football with Leeds United just six weeks after being sacked by Queens Park Rangers. The move came as somewhat of a shock after the Yorkshire man had also been interviewed by mangerless Wolves and had become odds on favourite to take over at one of his former clubs, Huddersfield Town.
A swift but no less spectacular return to management, but is it one which will suit all parties? Shortly after Simon Grayson was sacked, Ken Bates announced that Neil Redfearn would be in charge for the next three games (against Brighton, Coventry and Doncaster). Despite overseeing a 3-0 win at Bristol City and being a very popular figure with the players at Elland Road, Redfearn only took one win from those three games, with that coming on Saturday in the 3-2 win over rivals Doncaster. Warnock’s name will have been right at the bottom of the list for the majority of the Leeds United fans given the history between them, however, with results hard to come by and the club seemingly in disarray, it was apparent that the West Yorkshire side was in desperate need of someone like Warnock, as much as it will pain fans to admit that!
The former QPR boss was appointed on Saturday morning after it came to the forefront that he had met Ken Bates and Shaun Harvey in Monaco on Friday. It was an appointment in which Bates described as the most important yet, he told the official Leeds website: He has a proven record, he knows what it takes, and he gets value for money out of players.” Neil Redfearn praised the appointment as he confirmed that Warnock himself had come to the dressing room at halftime during the match against Doncaster to speak to the players, a game that Leeds came from 0-2 down to win 3-2, thanks to a 99th minute goal from Luciano Becchio. It was a vital win for Leeds and one that keeps them within touching distance of the playoffs, and along with the new appointment, the mood has suddenly been galvanised at Elland Road.
Warnock himself is willing to put the past behind him as he looks to reach a personal milestone of getting eight clubs promoted – a record breaking achievement if he was to do so. He has been given a contract which runs until the end of the 2012/13 season, that gives him less than 18 months to try and get Leeds into the Premier League, something he feels he is certainly capable of: “I feel I have one big challenge left in me and Leeds is a club that should be in the Premier League. I want to be the man who is able to deliver this for a set of fans who never cease to amaze me with their numbers and loyalty.”
So with a new manager that appears to share the same hunger and passion as the fans to get the club out of this league, for the first time in a long time there is a sense of positivity surrounding the club. Love him, or hate him as most people seem to prefer, Warnock hasn’t been labelled one of the best managers in the Championship for nothing, but those seven previous promotions count for nothing at the minute, not until he reaches number eight and not until that is with Leeds United, arguably his biggest test yet.
Reporter Alex Mulvey
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