Former manager Neil Warnock claims his reputation was slowly being 'poisoned' at QPR
Neil Warnock, the former manager of Queens Park Rangers, has aimed parting shots at the club’s captain Joey Barton and owner Tony Fernandes, blaming influences within the club for "slowly poisoning" his reputation.
Warnock was sacked by the Premier League club 12 days ago, with Mark Hughes being appointed in his place just two days later.
The 63 year-old claimed that a “lack of football experience” on the board at Loftus Road led to his dismissal, and attacked Fernandes for not informing him of the decision personally because he was “always tweeting”.
In a pointed criticism of Barton, he went on to say in an interview with the BBC that he did not want to discuss the player he signed from Newcastle United in August because “I just want to talk about positive things at the club”.
Warnock wished Hughes luck in the job but also said he “wished he’d had his agent at times over the last few years”, a reference to Kia Joorabchian.
Warnock also defended his record at the club over the past two years, during which he earned promotion from the Championship. He said it had been “a big part of my life” and was unsure when he would return to management.
After being ousted from the QPR hot-seat, it was only a matter of time before Warnock broke his silence, and having spent a few days in Cornwall with his family, he returned to the airwaves on Thursday to do the media rounds.
Appearing to be in a good temper, Warnock again expressed his regret at leaving the club halfway through the season, in the middle of the January transfer window.
But he saved his sharpest criticism for Fernandes, the owner of the Caterham Formula One team and airline Air Asia, and the man who sacked him.
“I received a text saying the owners had been talking long into the night, and Phil Beard, the new chief executive, asked if he could come and see me,” Warnock remembered. “The disappointment for me was that if you’re going to sack somebody, you should tell them to his face. That’s how I’ve been brought up.
“You get used to a certain way of doing things, but he is so far away, all over the world. I’m not a communicator by tweet, so I was always going to be the last to know.
“I don’t think Tony will mind me saying they [the board] are not football people as such. I look at Bolton and Wigan, Phil Gartside and Dave Whelan, and they’re football people. You don’t panic when you’re like that.”
Referring to Fernandes, he added: “I know the influence he’ll have had from certain people over the past few weeks. It would have been difficult to resist, because people get on the phone and tweet, and it’s like slowly poisoning somebody from outside the club, and no doubt from within the club as well.
“It’s a dangerous precedent if you let players talk to the chairman but you can’t stop tweeting.”
When asked about Barton, Warnock replied: “I don’t want to get into talking about Joey Barton. Joey talks about himself enough. I just want to talk about positive things about the club.”
Warnock later appeared on Sky Sports News, revealing that he had received 4,500 messages of support from well-wishers.
Barton responded on Twitter: “Actually embarrassed at what I’ve just seen on Sky Sports News.”
Warnock said of Hughes: “I want Mark to do well, he’s got a good agent too, and between them they’ll bring some good players into the club.
“Some of the players they’re going to get in are the ones I wanted anyhow.”