You would think that football management, with all the stresses it places on the mind and body, is a young man’s game.
But if you said that to Neil Warnock, he might give you one of his trademark dressings down.
Aged 74 years and four months old, Warnock has come out of retirement in a bid to guide his old club Huddersfield Town to Championship safety.
Warnock guided the Terriers to promotion in his first stint at the club back in the mid-nineties, and the board of directors that have appointed him will be hoping that lightning strikes twice given that they currently sit in the relegation places in the second tier.
“I’m really excited about this challenge,” Warnock said as he was unveiled as the club’s fifth permanent manager in less than three years.
“My first spell at Huddersfield Town had everything; we went to Wembley twice, moved into the new stadium and really built the club from nothing. It was a special time.
“I want to come back and put smiles on faces.”
The move has raised some eyebrows given that it was less than a year ago that Warnock confirmed his retirement at the ‘right time’.
“I’ve had a good run really. 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.
“I see some of my friends who are struggling health wise, [and] there comes a time where you have to let your family enjoy a little bit more of your time, in particular my wife Sharon.”
Who Is Football’s Oldest Manager?
It won’t surprise you to learn that a manager that took his first job in 1980 – at Gainsborough Trinity – is today the oldest active gaffer in English professional football.
He has prowled the touchline at 1,603 games (prior to his latest Huddersfield stint), having broken the previous English record set by Graham Turner of 1,601 outings back in 2021.
Warnock has managed 16 different clubs in his time in the dugout, winning eight promotions and guiding a number of other teams away from the relegation zone in ‘firefighting stints’.
He will perhaps best be remembered for his stint as Sheffield United boss; the club he supported as a boy and who he guided to the Premier League in 2005. Although Huddersfield Town fans will remember him greatly if he can save them from relegation this term….
Warnock joins the Terriers on a short-term contract until the end of the season, but if he can be persuaded to stay on into the 2023/24 campaign he will usurp Roy Hodgson as the oldest manager in English football in the modern era.
The likes of Sir Bobby Robson, Sir Alex Ferguson and Claudio Ranieri had all retired well before their 74th birthday, while the oldest manager in World Cup history is Otto Rehhagel, the 71-year-old who took the helm of Greece in South Africa back in 2010 before resigning after the tournament.
So Warnock is treading unchartered territory….perhaps you can teach an old dog new tricks, after all.