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

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

Arts and Entertainment
Joe Cocker performing on the Stravinski hall stage during the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland in 2002
musicHe 'turned my song into an anthem', says former Beatle
News
Clarke Carlisle
sport
Sport
footballStoke City vs Chelsea match report
Arts and Entertainment
David Hasselhof in Peter Pan
theatreThe US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
News
Coca-Cola has become one of the largest companies in the world to push staff towards switching off their voicemails, in a move intended to streamline operations and boost productivity
peopleCoca-Cola staff urged to switch it off to boost productivity
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'