Neil Warnock: 'I'm so proud. A generation have grown up never seeing QPR in the Premier League'
The QPR manager and Independent columnist looks back on the great day which saw his club return to the top tier of the English game
Monday 02 May 2011
Of all my promotions none has made me prouder than this. A year ago we were fighting relegation to League One, now we've won promotion to the Premier League, and done it with a great set of lads.
Saturday at Watford typified our season. Paddy Kenny, who's been magnificent all through, and often played with strains and bruises, came in from the warm-up to say he'd injured his shoulder and couldn't make it. We had to change the team-sheet. Radek Cerny came in for his first league game of the season – and kept a clean sheet.
Twenty minutes into the game Fitz Hall came off injured. We were already without Clint Hill who looks like he'll have to go in for a wash-out of his ankle. When he saw the surgeon at the start of the season he was told it needs an op, but might last two weeks, so see how it goes. He's played 43 games. That epitomises the whole club.
We've been top most of the season, and in the top two for all of the season, which means we've been there to be shot at, but the players have thrived on the pressure. They've not been afraid, they've gone out and enjoyed it. And I've loved it. There's been some difficult moments, but there always are in this job and I've loved being in charge of these players. We've had a bit of luck at times, but the players have earned it. The old saying about "The harder I work, the luckier I get" comes to mind.
When I took over last March, though I did say I wanted to get promotion, I never imagined we'd turn it around so well, so fast. We changed a lot in the summer, and not just the playing staff, but we gelled straight away. One of the new signings, Jamie Mackie, set us off with a run of goals and I was delighted he was able to join us at Watford despite being out since January with a bad leg break. Then everyone else chipped in.
Now I can't wait until next season. It's going to be so exciting having clubs like Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal coming to Loftus Road. The fans deserve it – there's a whole generation grown up who have never seen QPR in the Premier League.
I have a number of players I'd like to bring in. I know some will cost money. I don't tell the owners I want X million pounds. I think I've got to be sensible - and I think they'll be sensible if I am.
I don't think it's all about finance. Blackpool have more than held their own this season without paying big transfer fees or wages. I'd love Ian Holloway to keep them up. They've gone about things the right way. They haven't feared anybody. I think seeing Blackpool has educated me.
You do have to go to some places and see if you can just keep the score down – I don't want to get battered anywhere – but at the same time I want to enjoy it.
And I'm sure we'll give a good account of ourselves. But that's for the future. For me we're just enjoying the feeling of being champions.
Warnock's seventh heaven
QPR's promotion on Saturday is Neil Warnock's seventh as a manager, with six different clubs:
* 1986-87 Scarborough
Wins the Conference title
* 1989-90 Notts County
Promotion from Third Division
* 1990-91 Notts County
Back-to-back promotions take County into the top flight.
* 1994-95 Huddersfield Town
Takes Town out of the Second Division.
* 1995-96 Plymouth Argyle
Fourth play-off victory in six years.
* 2005-06 Sheffield United
Second place ensures promotion to the Premier League with his boyhood club.
* 2010-11 with Queen's Park Rangers
Guides Rangers into the Premier League
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