Neil Warnock retires after 41 years in management

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Neil Warnock announced his retirement from football on Saturday 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) and managed 14 different clubs across the top four tiers.

“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.

The 73-year-old 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.”

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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