|Warnock confirmed as Leeds boss â weekend diary|
Sat 18th Feb 2012 22:29 by Clive Whittingham
Former QPR manager Neil Warnock has walked straight back into employment with Championship side Leeds United, just a month after leaving Loftus Road.
Warnock and his backroom staff were dismissed by QPR in January despite leading the club into the Premiership for the first time in 15 years just eight months previously. The decision divided the QPR fan base, and those camps will only divide further if Mark Hughes fails to keep Rangers up while Warnock succeeds at Elland Road.
Leeds climbed to tenth in the Championship today, three points off the play offs, after recovering from two goals down to beat Doncaster Rovers 3-2 at home. It’s a job that seems set up for Warnock, who won the seventh promotion of a long managerial career with Rangers in May, as he prepares to replace Simon Grayson in the hot seat. Warnock had been linked with the vacant managerial jobs at Wolves and his former club Huddersfield and has chosen to leap back in despite asserting that QPR would be his last job in football before retirement.
Leeds chairman Ken Bates, who once tried to appoint Warnock has Chelsea manager while he was with Notts County, told the Leeds official website: “We believe the appointment is arguably the most important we have made. The objective was to appoint a manager who had for a proven track record of getting teams promoted and in Neil we have a man whose record is second to none. We want to be in the Premier League and we will support Neil in the quest to get us there."
Warnock said: "I feel I have one big challenge left in me and believe Leeds is a club that should be in the Premier League. I want to be the man who is able to deliver this for a set of fans who never cease to amaze me with their numbers and their loyalty. Having met with Ken Bates it was an easy decision to take up the challenge and with his support, we share the same vision of getting Leeds United in the Premier League."
He joins on a contract until the end of next season.
Elsewhere QPR are facing a fight to secure the Warren Farm site in West London for their new training ground and youth academy. Rangers are preparing to submit plans to Ealing Council for a £6m development on the current run down sports fields but face a group of Asian businessmen who want to spend £20m turning it into a local community facility and home ground for Les Ferdinand’s first club Southall Town.
Charanjit Singh Gill, vice-chairman of Southall, told the Evening Standard: "Generally, British Asians have not fully embraced sporting culture and suffer many health problems because of bad fitness. Our plans for Warren Farm could help to change all this and make a real difference to the Southall community. We are also confident that a new facility will help us develop top-level Asian sports stars. "QPR are not interested in the people of Southall. Why should they be, they are a professional football club? If they take over Warren Farm, do you think ordinary people will be allowed to use the facilities there? We want to create something that will benefit the people of Southall and the surrounding area."
The squad may only be returning to England this weekend after a week of training in Portugal, but several of them will be back on a plane within a matter of days. Taye Taiwo has been called up for Nigeria’s African Cup of Nations qualifier against Rwanda on Wednesday February 29 – the trounament is usually held every two years but will take place again next January as part of a switch in its cycle designed to avoid clashing with World Cup years.
Akos Buzsaky is in the Hungary squad for a friendly with Bulgaria on the same evening. He told the QPR official website: "It's always a great thing to play for your country. I've managed to play 19 times and hopefully this will be the twentieth. You get called up if you play for your own team. If I can play at Premier League level, I'm going to get called up. That's what's happened. It's the highlight of your career to play for your country. Everyone dreams of playing for their country and every time I've been called up, it's been an honour. I'm looking forward to going there and playing."
Buzsaky was also one of the players lined up to tell the official site how valuable the week in Portugal has been for the team. He said: “We didn't play well against Blackburn and would have liked to have played another game to put things right. But now the squad is together and we can train together. We can get our shape and fitness better. We've got two massive home games to come against Fulham and Everton and everybody's going to be needed. I'm sure the players realise that we need to take as many points as possible. It's much better than training in minus temperatures in England - or anywhere else. I am enjoying it. Training is very organised - that's something that the manager is really known for. We've had very organised and good sessions. We need to do our best in training, get fitter and fitter and put in good performances, starting next weeekend."
Hopefully this isn’t all just the latest in a long line of examples of QPR talking the talk before they fail to walk the walk this season.
Finally young goalkeeper Elvijs Putnins has rejoined Conference South outfit Boreham Wood on loan. Putnins was released by QPR last summer but asked to stay on and train while playing for Boreham Wood, an arrangement that meant Rangers were unable to bring in an emergency loan goalkeeper when they lost Brian Murphy and Paddy Kenny to injury earlier this season.
Harsh sackings seem to be in vogue in League One with Notts County removing Martin Allen from his post today after a 3-0 defeat at Hartlepool. Allen joined County less than a year ago, controversially walking out on Barnet for a second time in his career, and successfully steered them clear of relegation before guiding them to eleventh place and the FA Cup fourth round this season. Today’s defeat at Victoria Park was County’s first loss in five matches.
Better news elsewhere in League One today for Danny Nardiello who scored his first goal in 13 appearances for Exeter in a 3-2 win against another of his former clubs Bury. Despite his recent drought Nardiello has scored nine times in 28 appearances this season. Martin Rowlands scored his first goal for Colchester today but couldn’t prevent them slipping to a 3-2 defeat at lowly Yeovil for whom Dean Parrett was also on the score sheet.
Leon Jeanne scored once as Afan Lido beat Newtown 2-1 in the Welsh Premier League.
- Former Sunderland boss Steve Bruce now seems to be the front runner for the Wolves job with Neil Warnock accepting the Leeds position and former Charlton gaffer, previously thought to be Wolves’ first choice, knocking back chairman Steve Morgan’s offer today.
- No vacancy available, just yet anyway, at Chelsea despite their form dipping still further in the FA Cup against Birmingham today. The Championship side were unfortunate to only come away with a draw and whether Villas Boas will still be in a job for the replay remains to be seen. He maintains he has the support of owner Roman Abramovic, while conceding he may lack the unanimous backing of his players. He reacted angrily to suggestions that striker Didier Drogba, introduced at half time today for the embarrassing Fernando Torres, delivered the half time team talk rather than the manager.
- Problems are also stacking up at Arsenal who were dumped out of the FA Cup at Sunderland today and lost Aaron Ramsey and Francis Coquelin to injuries. Per Mertesacker has already been ruled out for the season and Arsene Wenger is awaiting scan results on his fellow centre back Laurent Koscielny. The defeat all but guarantees a sixth successive trophy-less season for the Gunners.
- Tottenham midfielder Tom Huddlestone will not play again this season after undergoing further surgery on the ankle injury that had restricted him to just four appearances so far this campaign. Spurs play at Stevenage in the FA Cup tomorrow.
- Norwich were eliminated from the cup by Championship side Leicester today, days after CEO David McNally reiterated the club’s cautious approach to team building. McNally said: “It's our job to back the team as much as possible within the parameters we have. We won't gamble on the club's future. We don't have the right to do that. But we'll give Paul every spare penny."