SWANNY’S WORLD OF SPORT: Why Neil Warnock is a genius

Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock.
Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock.
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I would shut the curtains if a Neil Warnock side was playing on my front lawn.

I desperately wanted freewheeling Fulham to pip Cardiff to automatic promotion from the Championship last weekend.

Nathaniel Mendez-Laing in his Posh days.

Nathaniel Mendez-Laing in his Posh days.

But I can’t help but admire Warnock. He’s the perfect antidote to the curse of modern football coaching.

I don’t mean the brand practised by Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. Few have that gift, but watching teams make 15 passes without getting anywhere (the 15th pass usually ends up with the ball at a goalkeeper’s feet) is just as boring as Warnock’s hump-it-and-hope-to-get-a-goal-from-a-set-piece style.

I like Warnock because he does his own thing. I like Warnock because he doesn’t care what others think. He’ll ignore the snobbish pundits who prefer a serial loser like Arsene Wenger to a serial winner like his good self. Eight promotions and counting now and if West Brom and Stoke haven’t already made approaches for next season, more fool them.

Every club in the Championship should want Warnock, apart from Fulham whose own manager Slaviša Jokanović will hopefully get his reward in the play-offs. Surely the Premier League won’t have to suffer more boring sides managed by Tony Pulis or Steve Bruce next season?

Wolves boss Nune Espirito Santos has had an easy life.

Wolves boss Nune Espirito Santos has had an easy life.

Remarkably, given what Posh fans witnessed, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing will be playing in the Premier League next season which is further proof of Warnock’s genius. The man is more than just an amusing, and very rude, anagram.

Mendez-Laing was an overweight, often lazy, Posh substitute with a season ticket at Nando’s. Now he’s a key part in a promotion-winning Championship squad with just a brief stopover in Rochdale in between.

That’s a measure of Warnock’s ability. Let’s face it Wolves boss, the highly-paid Nuno Espírito Santo, had an easy life in comparison. Millions to spend and an all-powerful agent to help bring some gifted Premier League standard players to the club.

Warnock built his squad on comparative peanuts. Never mind the free transfer signings like Mendez-Laing, two of his first-team regulars didn’t even have clubs when the Cardiff boss came calling.

Many outsiders over-achieve at the start of seasons, but few are well enough organised and possessing of enough team spirit to withstand the sort of pressure Fulham put Cardiff under in the second-half of last season.

Of course Warnock will probably fail next season. There is every chance Cardiff will be relegated. Their manager has no track record of even modest success at Premier League level, but then if ordinary teams offering little in the way of entertainment like Brighton and Huddersfield can survive, Cardiff shouldn’t be too over-awed.