Neil Warnock wrote himself forever into Q.P.R folklore by not only winning Promotion back to the Premier League after a 15 year absence but also managing to beat Chelsea once Q.P.R were back in the big time. In October every R’s fan was willing to kneel for Neil, a few months later he was handed his P45.
Let’s start with a simple statement, Neil Warnock is a Q.P.R legend. He took a club destined for League 1 with batshit mental owners and turned them around in less than a year. He made them Champions. He built a side around the most creative player to play at Loftus Road since the days of Bowles and Marsh and he struck gold. Q.P.R were irrepressible last year, sauntering to the title with a swagger. Warnock dealt with the maverick stylings of Adel Taarabt and managed to deflect the pressure of an FA investigation away from the players and onto himself. He also achieved all this with Clint Hill as first choice left back!
Then came the summer. Over the next few days Warnock will try and rationalize his sacking, he will perhaps point to a crazy few months after May as the reason. Not backed in the slightest by the board he was forced to bring in players on frees. Keiron Dyer, Bruno Perone and Danny Gabbidon do not a top flight side make. Even his striking gamble of Jay Bothroyd seemed a little left field. A 4-0 defeat at hoe to Bolton on the first day of the season and it seemed the writing was on the wall.
Until the White Knight arrived. Tony Fernandes came in with the transfer window about to close, he gave Warnock money and finally, finally some quality came in. Barton, SWP, Ferdiand, Young, Traore….. and Puncheon. The performances improved too, wins at Wolves and dazzling home draws against Villa and Newcastle when really we should have won. Then came the Chelsea game and one of the greatest afternoons in the history of Q.P.R. Warnock described it as the best win of his career, he would go on to win just one more game after that.
A scrappy 3-2 win at Stoke was as good as it got for Warnock. Losses to Man U, Arsenal, Liverpool and Man City were to be expected. Losses to Sunderland and Norwich (twice) coupled with draws against West Brom and Swansea were not. The performances started to dip as well culminating in a shambolic showing at League 1 MK Dons in the Cup. By this point the fan base was split, some calling for Warnocks head, others calling for time to be given to the manager. The Chairman had two options, stick with Warnock through the transfer window or gamble and bring in a new manager, a decision needed to be made by the second Monday of the month. The decision did not fall in favor of Warnock.
So now what? Well we at Q.P.R are used to this feeling, the limbo between old and new managers. However this time the appointment is crucial, Bhatia and Fernandes have made a huge huge call tonight they have gambled their entire business model for the club on sacking Warnock and bringing in someone else. Survival is key and perhaps Warnock wasn’t the man to achieve it, we won’t know until May. My personal choice would be Mark Hughes, he has achieved survival comfortably before with Fulham and Blackburn, clubs of a similar size to ours. I’m sure we will know the new man by Wednesday. For now though we doff our caps to Neil Warnock, a Q.P.R legend.