Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock. Alamy Stock Photo
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'Marmite Man' set to break an English management record tonight

Neil Warnock will oversee his 1,602nd match when Middlesbrough take on Luton Town.

VETERAN MANAGER NEIL Warnock has shrugged off his “dinosaur” label as he prepares to take charge of a record-breaking 1,602nd match at an English league club.

The well-travelled 72-year-old, who started coaching in the early 1980s, equalled the record of former Crewe Alexandra boss Dario Gradi at the weekend, when his Middlesbrough side lost 2-0 to Birmingham City in the Championship. He will set the new mark for managing clubs in the English leagues when his side travel to Luton Town this evening.

Warnock, considered a promotion specialist, often divides opinion among fans. His aggressive staredown of a television camera before a 2018/19 Premier League game as Cardiff City manager became an internet sensation and showed his idiosyncrasies.

He acknowledges his status as a “Marmite” figure, referring to a yeast spread popular in Britain that is used to symbolise something that is either loved or hated, but defended his brand of football.

“I’ve been called ‘Marmite Man’ and all sorts — and that’s even your own fans. Some like you, some dislike you,” he said. “When you’re my age, you do get labelled — you’re ‘dinosaurs’ and all that lot, ‘long-ball merchants’.

“I look at some of the teams in our league and I’ve never been as long as them in a million years but because they’re young, they don’t get criticised.”

Warnock’s odyssey has taken him from non-league football to the Premier League, achieving promotion to England’s top flight with Sheffield United, QPR and Cardiff.

Middlesbrough are 11th in the Championship table but only three points off the play-off places after earning 21 points from 15 league games.

© – AFP, 2021

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