Exclusive: Neil Warnock 'furious' over Nottingham Forest 'racism' accusations, saying claim stems from a 20-year-old grudge

The former Leeds United and QPR manager turned down the opportunity to manage Forest until the end of the season

Neil Warnock has angrily rejected John McGovern’s claim that the veteran manager made ‘racist’ comments about the Kuwaiti ownership of Nottingham Forest and suggested the club ambassador’s comments were motivated by a 20-year-old grudge.

Warnock recently turned down an offer to become Forest manager until the end of the season fearing owner Fawaz Al Hasawi would interfere in team selection. While negotiations were continuing Warnock said he wanted to sign Lee Peltier on loan from Leeds. Forest rushed through the signing believing Peltier needed to be recruited by Monday lunchtime to play in a Tuesday night fixture.

This turned out to be mistaken and when Warnock pulled out Peltier was left in limbo. Warnock subsequently said in his Independent column that “the situation with Lee’s transfer showed Forest need a chief executive type who knows the English game to run the club day to day”. He expressed similar sentiments on Nottingham local radio stating 'there was nobody at the club English-wise that knew about football'.

McGovern, who captained Forest to their European Cup-winning triumphs of 1979 and 1980, and recently returned to the club as an ‘ambassador’, said: "I was amazed by what Neil said. I thought it was racist actually, what he said about the club and the interference by the chairman. It annoyed me."

John McGovern John McGovern  

In his Independent column tomorrow Warnock says there is “a bit of history” between him and McGovern. He explains: “About 20 years ago I took over as manager at Plymouth Argyle after he had been working there with Peter Shilton. It seems he has never forgiven me as I’ve not been on his Christmas card list ever since and we’ve had a few run-ins. So while I was furious to read that he had accused me of racism I wasn’t entirely surprised.”

 

McGovern was Shilton’s assistant when the pair left Argyle with the club heading for relegation to the fourth tier. The following season Warnock won promotion back to the third tier. While Warnock went on to manage Sheffield United and QPR in the Premier League McGovern had two years at Rotherham followed by spells at non-League Woking and Ilkeston being sacked by the latter in 2001. He has subsequently covered Forest for local radio.

Warnock added: “After the fiasco that surrounded Forest’s signing of Lee Peltier I’d said that Forest needed someone with experience of the English game.

“According to McGovern this is racist. It is an awful thing to say. As well as insulting me, this also belittles the victims of genuine racism, which is still far too prevalent.

“I can only assume McGovern hopes his ambassadorial role will soon lead to a more substantial job at the club and is seeking to get some brownie points with his chairman.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border