‘Let’s have a little bit of fun’ – Warnock wants cup for Aberdeen

5 February 2024 0 By Total Football News

Neil Warnock while Huddersfield managerWarnock started his job at Aberdeen a week early so he could take charge against Rangers at Ibrox

Neil Warnock says he turned down jobs with three times the salary in order to take over at Aberdeen – and has set his sights on winning the Scottish Cup.

The 75-year-old succeeds Barry Robson, who was sacked last week, and will be in charge on Tuesday at Rangers.

“When you get to my age, you think twice about a job – but I got a good feeling about this one,” he said.

“In the last three weeks I could have got three times my salary, but it’s not the salary – you don’t come back at my age if something doesn’t tick the boxes, and Aberdeen does.

“When I spoke to Dave Cormack [chairman] and Alan Burrows [chief executive] it just seemed the right thing to do – it gives them a little bit of time to look for the right manager to take the club forward.

“And as I said to Dave, ‘let’s have a little bit of fun between now and the end of the season’. It sounds silly at my age, but I am excited.”

Warnock holds the record for the most games managed in English league football – a total of 1,626 – and has masterminded eight promotions.

He is targeting the Scottish Cup as well as “finishing as high as we can in the league” during his short spell at Pittodrie.

“I want to pit my wits against the teams we come up against – and I want to win a cup. I’ve never won a cup,” added Warnock, whose side will face Bonnyrigg Rose in the Scottish Cup last 16 on Saturday.

“I’d like to have a go in this league. And with a club like this. I want the pride back. Aberdeen is one of those clubs you kiss the badge and you mean it.

“It’s a big club and I relate to the type of fans the club have, as I did at QPR and Crystal Palace. When I say they are hostile, I don’t mean that in a nasty way – it’s lovely to have fans really behind the team. A one-club city.”

His assistant Ronnie Jepson has also joined Aberdeen, while Peter Leven, who took charge against Celtic last weekend, will continue as first-team coach.

Warnock has one session with the players on Monday before the game at Ibrox and joked that “if we get battered on Tuesday it is Peter’s fault, and if we do well I’ve been influential”.

“I get called a dinosaur but in my career nothing has changed. To be successful, 90-95% is man-management. If the players give me everything I’ll man their corner,” the interim manager added.

Robson followed Derek McInnes, Stephen Glass and Jim Goodwin in leaving the role, with changes made by the Dons around this time of the year for a fourth consecutive season.

Aberdeen say Warnock’s appointment gives them time to carry out their review of the football operation – including “benchmarking against similar teams that outperform us in Europe” – before making a long-term appointment.

Warnock feels the squad is “a little bit light in certain areas” but is just thrilled to be at Pittodrie finally – after a previous snub.

“I applied for the Aberdeen job a few years ago and never got a reply – and I used that to motivate myself,” added the Englishman, who came out of retirement a year ago and kept Huddersfield Town in the Championship before being sacked last September.

“It was a ‘I’ll show them what they’re missing’ sort of thing and I managed to get promotion that following year.

“I was going to start next week but the lure of taking over for a game like Tuesday night was too good.

“I like making people smile. The only pressure on me is that I want to win – because I can’t see me getting the sack in four months.”