Neil Warnock has announced his retirement from football at the age of 73, bringing the curtain down on a record-breaking career spanning more than four decades.
Warnock, a former winger who started his managerial career in 1980, last managed second-tier club Middlesbrough before leaving the Championship side by mutual consent in November.
The veteran managed sides in 1,603 games and achieved promotion eight times in his career – both marking records in English professional football.
He also shares the record for most promotions to the top-flight (four) in a career which saw him manage 14 different clubs across the top four tiers of the English game, plus another two non-league sides.
“I just thought it was the right time, really, coming towards the end of the season, there’s not really a job you’re going to get before then,” Warnock told Sky Sports.
“I’ve had a good run really.”
After a string of appointments in the lower leagues, Warnock won promotion to the Premier League with boyhood club Sheffield United, before going on to manage Queens Park Rangers, Crystal Palace and Cardiff City in the top flight.
He was manager at Cardiff when they signed Argentine striker Emiliano Sala, who died in a plane crash flying over from France to complete his move in January 2019.
Warnock, who attended the player’s funeral in Argentina, spoke at the time of his anguish at the initial disappearance of Sala’s plane, describing it as the “most difficult week” of his career.
Warnock, a feisty character who was not universally loved in the game, said he had not lost any of the enthusiasm needed to manage another team but had decided he wanted to spend more time with his family.
“I’m enjoying things I’ve not done for years, I’m having a lot of time with the family, my dogs. And I’ve taken up cycling, too,” he added.
“I’m not saying the enthusiasm’s gone, I’ve not lost that.
“But when I see some of my friends who are struggling health-wise, there comes a time where you have to let your family enjoy a little bit more of your time, in particular my wife Sharon.”
Warnock’s clubs as manager:
Gainsborough – 1981
Burton – 1981-1986
Scarborough – 1986-1989
Notts County – 1989-1993
Torquay – 1993
Huddersfield – 1993-1995
Plymouth – 1995-1997
Oldham – 1997-1998
Bury – 1998-1999
Sheffield United – 1999-2007
Crystal Palace – 2007-2010
QPR – 2010-2012
Leeds – 2012-2013
Crystal Palace – 2014
QPR (caretaker) – 2015
Rotherham – 2016
Cardiff – 2016-2019
Middlesbrough – 2020-2021