Neil Warnock has no regrets over turning down Chelsea job

Leeds manager takes on Blues this Wednesday

Leeds boss Neil Warnock believes there is no loyalty to managers in football, but has no regrets about turning down the Chelsea job in the early nineties to remain at Notts County for that very reason.

Ken Bates - Warnock's current chairman at Leeds - offered Warnock the job in 1991, but after guiding Notts County to the top flight following successive promotions, he decided to stay put. Warnock was sacked two years later.

Leeds face-off against Chelsea tomorrow night in the quarter-final of the Capital One Cup at Elland Road.

"I don't have any regrets really because your life shapes around decisions really and I was a northern lad and I thought going beyond Watford was the end of the world in those days," he said.

"I went down twice, once to the ground and once to Ken's farm in Beaconsfield and I was stuck on the motorway for five hours on both occasions and it didn't seem to be me really, so there are a lot of issues.

"I wanted to stay loyal to a group of players who had been fantastic for me.

"If it was a different way round, why do managers say loyal, you get the sack anyway, why not go and take the opportunity? Good luck to you. I've nothing about this loyalty thing now. My advice to young managers is if you get the chance, go.

"You get kicked in the teeth if you stay so you can't win either way."

After going through nine managers since Roman Abramovich bought the club from Bates in 2003, the Blues are seemingly the perfect example to illustrate Warnock's point.

Rafael Benitez is the latest man to fill the role and is someone who the Leeds boss has said in the past he would "never forgive" for picking what Warnock deemed a weakened team in Liverpool's final away game of the 2007 season against Fulham.

Managing Sheffield United at the time, the Blades needed Benitez's Reds to get a result against Fulham, who were in the relegation zone.

The Whites won the game 1-0, a result which saw them survive at the expense of United.

Warnock's criticism of Benitez led to the Spaniard's legal team sending an email warning of possible legal action were he to be mentioned again.

"Enough water's passed under the bridge," Warnock said." I don't want to give you any more ammunition than you've already got.

"It's one of those things that disappoints you in life and you have to get on with it really, but you get disappointments in every walk of life and I've made my feelings clear on how my feelings have been over the last few years and nothing will change that.

"I think it (the email) had his name on, I think it was his solicitor on who was threatening legal action and I've got it in a scrapbook at home.

"I've no idea (if they will shake hands), I haven't thought about it yet, I was too worried about Ipswich (last Saturday)."

Benitez has been hired as manager on an interim basis until the end of the season, but with the Spaniard being out of work since he left Inter in 2010 Warnock feels he was right to accept the role.

"I don't blame Benitez for taking the job," Warnock added before saying tongue-in-cheek.

"He'd been out of work for quite some time, if it were me I would be there like a shot.

"I wish I could have had Chelsea now, yes, I should have got it this time! After Roberto left, he hasn't had an Englishman in the job, has he?"

PA

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