Neil Warnock admitted he was “gobsmacked” as the decision for him to leave Huddersfield came earlier than he expected but he insisted he has done the job he set out to do.
Wednesday’s game at home to Stoke will be the 74-year-old’s last in his second spell with the Terriers as the club’s new American owner Kevin Nagle wants to make a long-term appointment as they bid to regain Premier League status.
Warnock returned in February, 30 years after he was first appointed, and masterminded an incredible escape from relegation, subsequently signing a one-year contract to help oversee a revamp off the pitch but he was aware his tenure was unlikely to last the duration of his contract.
We can confirm that Neil Warnock's final fixture as Huddersfield Town Manager will be on Wednesday evening against Stoke City at the John Smith's Stadium.
Neil and Ronnie will depart with the eternal gratitude of all at the Club.
Comments from CEO Jake Edwards #htafc
— Huddersfield Town (@htafc) September 18, 2023
“We’ve actually done what we set out to do really,” he told a press conference.
“Kevin has a three-year plan to reach the Premier League. I thought it would be about Christmas time but once they told me they wanted to bring someone in I think they had to move on quickly.
“I was gobsmacked really but when Jake (Edwards, chief executive) told me why I understood why.
“If you’re not wanted you want to go straight away. I don’t mean that how it maybe sounds.
“I always told him I’d do it until they were ready and then if they let me know I’d go. I’ve not fallen out with anybody.
“I think it was the right thing that I came back, I don’t think it would have helped anyone to come in in pre-season but we’ve made a lot of progress.”
Warnock came out of retirement to help his former club but he has not ruled out restarting his career.
“My health is good, I’ve never felt better. If anything I’ve got the buzz again,” he added.
“You don’t know what the next knock on the door is going to be. I’m sure when February comes round people will be asking me again.”
Edwards said they hoped to have a new manager in place by the end of the week.
“We’ve progressed in a number of areas and brought that stability to a level and that’s thanks to Neil,” said the chief executive.
“We wanted to make the decision from a position of strength, which is unusual. When the right candidate is available you have to make the decision.
“Few management duos could have kept us in the Championship and they’ve solidified their legendary status.
“We feel we are ready to move forward with our long-term plans to drive the club back into the Premier League and to make a longer-term managerial appointment.”