The walls of the boardroom at Crystal Palace's Selhurst Park are adorned with slogans designed to inspire. Above the trophy cabinet where Neil Warnock was yesterday unveiled as the club's latest manager, the sign reads: "This is about success. This is about being among the elite. This is about the Premiership."
Warnock need not have looked around to get the message. Seated to his right was his long-time friend and new chairman Simon Jordan. The Palace chairman's objectives are hardly new to Warnock – the pair have had weekly phone conversations for a number of years – and their partnership was described by Jordan, with typical modesty, as being the "dream ticket".
Out of work since leaving Sheffield United following their relegation from the Premier League in May, 58-year-old Warnock, a columnist for the Independent, had turned down several jobs while he waited for the right offer to come along, for what he insists will be his last job in management.
Following the departure of Peter Taylor on Monday, who Jordan called a "dead man walking", the offer came, and while Warnock's wife suggested that he considered what effect it would have on his and Jordan's friendship, he felt it was too good an opportunity to pass up. "It's been a good relationship, but that shouldn't be a reason not to take the job," Warnock said.
The two first became friends when Jordan took offence at a piece he felt Warnock had placed in a Sheffield newspaper concerning a swap deal between Marcus Bent and Clinton Morrison. "We had a disagreement a few years ago and I think he threatened to sue me," Warnock explained. "In the end I went to see him and we cleared the air. I think we've respected each other from then on."
Warnock, who has signed a deal until May 2010, is the eighth manager of Crystal Palace since Jordan's reign began in the summer of 2000, but the frequency of those going through the exit door is not something that concerns him.
"It doesn't matter in my case because I'm not going to have another job," he said. "If he [Jordan] kicks me out, he pays me up and we get on with it. I think the time that I've got is enough to show whether I can do what we both want us to do. If I don't feel I'm doing it, then I won't hang about."
Jordan, however, defended his record. "A lot of the managerial decisions over the years were not mine," he said. "I didn't ask Steve Coppell not to get on with me. I didn't ask Steve Bruce to leave for Birmingham. I didn't ask Iain Dowie to do what he did."
The passion that Warnock brings to his teams is what Jordan is most looking forward to. "I can watch this team get beat 9-0 as long as they die for the cause, but I can't watch this team get beat 1-0 at Plymouth and not lift a leg," he said by way of a thinly veiled attack on Taylor, whose penultimate game was a defeat at Home Park. Neil Warnock cannot say that he does not know where he stands.Reuse content