Neil Warnock to Crystal Palace: Warnock the pragmatic choice for Palace return

Manager likely to follow Pulis model as he seeks to end lean top-flight record

Crystal Palace appointed Neil Warnock as manager on Wednesday, and in doing so co-chairman Steve Parish has made the pragmatic choice.

Warnock knows the club, having been in charge before, has recent experience of the Premier League, and will not radically overhaul Tony Pulis’s team or tactics. Which is a good thing because, after two Palace defeats this season, the 65-year-old veteran needs to hit the ground running, beginning with Saturday’s match at Newcastle United.

By a quirk of the fixture list Warnock’s second stint begins where the first one began to founder. On 26 January 2010 Warnock’s Palace boarded a plane to Tyneside for the next day’s match against then Championship leaders Newcastle. Palace were on the fringe of the play-off places and Warnock fancied their chances of promotion.

By the time they landed the Eagles were facing a relegation battle. While the team were in the air the club had been put into administration. The penalty, a 10-point deduction, sent them plunging down the table. Neil Warnock

The impact of administration was instant. The coach driver dropped the players at their team hotel, then turned to Warnock and told him he would not be returning to take them to St James’ Park the next day, or back to the airport afterwards, as the coach company feared they would not be paid. Faced with the prospect of arriving for a major game in a fleet of taxis Warnock handed over his own credit card.

Then the administrator rang and ordered him not to play Victor Moses as he was the squad’s most valuable player and they could not risk him being injured. The pair soon clashed as Warnock resisted attempts to sell players such as Nathaniel Clyne and Darren Ambrose for cut-price fees. He won those battles but the grind and insecurity of being in administration meant that when Queen’s Park Rangers came calling a few weeks later Warnock was receptive.

That is the history to Warnock’s return. To some Palace supporters he was a manager who, despite tight financial restrictions, took a limited team into the promotion play-offs once and threatened to do so again. To others he walked out on a sinking ship. First responses to the Croydon Advertiser included one fan writing “the legend returns”, another threatening to rip up his season ticket.

To judge from Warnock’s reception when he has returned to Selhurst Park with QPR and Leeds United, most fans will be welcoming. Many, though, will wonder if he is the right man to save Palace from the drop. Warnock has managed three times in the top flight: Notts County (1991-92), Sheffield United (2006-07) and QPR (2011-12). County and United were relegated while Warnock was fired by Rangers in the January with the team one place off the drop zone.

This is not very encouraging, but on each occasion the team was newly promoted and Warnock had been given little cash to strengthen. QPR never fell into the bottom three under Warnock, but were relegated a year later despite heavy spending by his successor, Mark Hughes.

The desire to finally keep a team up in the Premier League is one of the reasons Warnock has come out of what appeared a comfortable retirement in Cornwall. Another is that, having last worked 17 months ago at Leeds (where he was one of several managers to fall foul of budgetary restrictions and background politics), he has missed it. So much so he even came close to joining Huddersfield Town earlier this month.

Warnock has a young family, but not that young, His children are now teenagers – an age when many start spending more time with their friends than their families. This makes the thought of commuting from London to the West Country more amenable, and his family already have some roots around Palace’s Beckenham training ground, having lived there full-time during his previous spell at the club. Nevertheless, it is a surprise that he has agreed a two-year deal, rather than one to the end of the season.

Warnock will be given cash to spend, though finding the right players will not be easy close to Monday’s transfer deadline. He can be expected to buy British if possible, or at least players with experience of the English game who should settle quickly. Parish is known to be a big fan of former striker Wilfried Zaha. Julian Speroni and Paddy McCarthy remain from Warnock’s first time while peace has been made with another player, Jason Puncheon, who had a public, Twitter-related falling out with Warnock last season.

It is a sensible choice tactically. Warnock and Pulis have a similar approach. Both like teams who are organised, hard-working and do not take risks in defence. Unlike at Old Trafford, there should not be a long bedding-in period while the squad adapt to a radically different approach.

Glenn Moore is joint author with Neil Warnock of ‘The Gaffer: The trials and tribulations of a football manager’

--

Neil Warnock's managerial career

1980-81 Gainsborough Trinity

1981-86 Burton Albion

1986-89 Scarborough

1989-93 Notts County

1993 Torquay United

1993-95 Huddersfield Town

1995-97 Plymouth Argyle

1997-98 Oldham Athletic

1998-99 Bury

1999-07 Sheffield United

2007-10 Crystal Palace

2010-12 Queen’s Park Rangers

2012-13 Leeds United

2014- Crystal Palace

The 65-year-old has won promotion seven times as a manager, including twice with Notts County. He led Scarborough to the Conference title in 1986-87 and QPR to the Championship title in 2010-11. His Huddersfield side also reached the Football League Trophy final in 1994,  losing to Swansea.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions