Warnock’s the right man for Rangers
QPR are a good side playing badly. That’s why Neil Warnock could be the perfect man to get them going.
My old gaffer has taken temporary charge at Loftus Road, four years after leading them into the Premier League. So much for not wanting to be a manager any more!
Neil actually signed me for QPR in 2011, just after they’d won promotion. Unfortunately, the club was so chaotic that he found the Premier League very tough going.
The chairman, Tony Fernandes, was desperate for success and didn’t care what it cost. He was a bit naive and got taken advantage of by agents, signing sub-standard players on big money and long contracts.
A lot of those signings weren’t much to do with Neil. To be honest, I don’t think he wanted a lot of them.
But he was put under pressure to play the boys on big money when, really, he wanted to work with the lads who’d got him there – people like Clint Hill and Shaun Derry.
I think he also suffered from some of the new players not disrespecting him, but maybe questioning his methods and management more than he was used to.
You had players arguing and fighting, unrest and cliques in the dressing room.The core of the team had done really well to get QPR up, then suddenly they were seeing players come in to take their place earning three or four times the money.
Team spirit was destroyed and there was so much going on off the field that it was almost impossible to play well on it.
Neil eventually got sacked, but Mark Hughes and Harry Redknapp couldn’t deal with those problems either so I don’t think he did much wrong.
In terms of tactics, Neil’s no pioneer. You won’t sit through loads of team meetings. It isn’t one formation one week and another one the next. He’s very old-school in that sense.
But he’s a great man-manager who’s very good at getting you to play for him. It’s really hard to explain because he has a special way of doing things.
I remember during pre-season, he invited the whole squad down to his place in Torquay. He had a little pitch and putt golf course and we all had a game while Neil and his wife made dinner for everybody on the barbecue.
We were thinking ‘This is a bit weird’ but, looking back, it was a nice touch and perhaps explains why everyone wanted to do their best by him.
If you need to be rollocked, he can certainly do it. But if shouting and bawling won’t work, he’ll do something else.
Don’t forget, he managed to get the best out of Adel Taarabt, a big character who did things his own way. No other manager before or since has managed that.
A lot of managers these days underestimate that. It’s seen as old-fashioned. Everyone goes on about tactics and systems but, if you’ve got good players, it really can be just a simple case of keeping them happy and motivated.
If you look at QPR’s squad, they are underachieving. They are good players. They just need someone to galvanise them.
With so many games left, Neil could be the perfect guy to get the best out of players who simply aren’t up to scratch right now.
RETURN: Neil Warnock