You cannot love the game of football and have never heard the name Neil Warnock. It does not matter what you necessarily think of him as a manager, as after all, he has had spells at 16 different clubs and 74 year old also holds the record for the most matches managed in the English professional game.
He is also an incredibly marmite kind of character when it comes to his approach to the press, the only thing not in doubt is his passion. Meeting with the media recently, he has revealed he would love the chance to manage in the Scottish game, and at one point in his career, he almost joined Heart of Midlothian.
“I love Scotland – I’ve always wanted to manage in Scotland. I have never had any offers, although I think I was close to Hearts once, but they gave it to an idiot from Latvia! So they obviously didn’t want me.”
As Hearts fans will know, they have never appointed a Latvian manager (they have had a number of gaffers from countries that previously made up the Soviet Union) but many consider moments like that as part of Warnock’s charm, as he makes his point perfectly whilst nicely side stepping which particular manager he considers to be an idiot.
With strong ties to Scotland through his wife’s family, they already have property in Argyll and he admitted that when between jobs it is where he recharges and relaxes, so Scotland has pretty much always been in is thoughts.
“I applied for the Aberdeen job once and didn’t even get a reply, which I thought was bad manners I had a lad called Laurent D’Jaffo playing up there and I asked him what it was like and he said ‘gaffer, yes come, but it is the only place I’ve ever known where the seagulls don’t land – it’s that cold!'”
With Warnock recently parting ways with Huddersfield Town, he was even cheeky enough to barb.
“It was a great time to get the sack. The Ryder Cup was coming up, the Rugby World Cup was starting and it was the Cricket World Cup.”
It does seem to be his general outlook on life, and it is why so many like him. The interview even featured him talking about his skills as a chiropodist.
“I liked it and I was good at it, but one day Derek Pavis, my chairman at Notts County, was getting on my nerves and I used to do his feet. He had an ingrowing toenail and I could have done it out without hurting him, but I got the clippers right down the side and he screamed. I said ‘Derek, it might hurt a little bit but it’ll be better for it’.”
Love him or loath him, the game will not be the same when he is no longer involved.