Neil Warnock reaches a remarkable 1,500 games as a manager today – and has revealed the secrets of his longevity.
Warnock is in his 41 year as a boss, having taken 18 jobs at 16 clubs, and won a record eight promotions.
The 71-year-old is eighth in the all-time lists of games managed, topped by Sir Alex Ferguson (2,155 games) and Arsene Wenger (1,701).
He is just ahead of Sir Bobby Robson, Brian Clough and Harry Redknapp, and reckons young bosses won't get close to his tally because of impatience and short termism.
But Warnock, now bidding to turn around Middlesbrough's fortunes, says his staying power is down to a “drive” for the cut and thrust of football, and staying positive, with a bit of humour.”
Asked about his milestone, Warnock said: “It is a great achievement. To get 1,500 won't happen very often.
“When I used to come in I'd say I want three or four years to build a club, now it is three or four week, or months. Owners are more demanding.
“I still enjoy it. I enjoy having a bit of humour. There is enough around to make you unhappy. Let's be positive when we can.”
Warnock has a love and hate relationship with supporters around the country, but always fights for his club.
The ex-Sheffield United boss added: “Sir Alex Ferguson did it from a different perspective, a higher level.
“When I have left a club the accolade is being appreciated by your fans. They have often said: I have never liked you, I didn't want you here, but I am glad you are here.
"It's simple: I want the fans to be pleased I've been at their club.”
He remembers his first game in the dug-out – a 2-2 draw against Wolves on an August bank holiday in Scarborough.
He said: “Wolves fans were sleeping everywhere, on the beach, shop doorways. A fan fell through the roof drunk, nearly killed himself.
“I have loved every club, and going back talking about my time there”
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He once turned down Chelsea in 1991. “The traffic, the motorway, working for Ken Bates, London…. didn't feel right,” he explained.
“The biggest was not going to Sunderland at the right time under Bob Murray.”
Favourite games? “The play off games… four out of four at Wembley! I am lucky to have had that. They are the big ones.
“But I remember the struggles, more than the euphoria. The ones where it was vital. The ones that make you feel sick.
“Games that were pivotal that were big in my career, where if they hadn't gone our way something else would have happened in management. ”
Will he get to 2000 games in the dug-out? “Give over! I don't look beyond this."
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