The return of the Championship old boys

by Jack Kitson / 13 October 2016, 12:21

This weekend three veteran English managers return to the Championship dugout following their respective appointments during the international break. Below we take a look at the prospects of these trio of gaffers - who between them have overseen a gargantuan 2712 matches - and what to make of each of their returns to the managerial arena.

Neil Warnock (Cardiff City)

In what has so far been a remarkable 36-year managerial career, Neil Warnock has accumulated a whopping 1338 matches at the helm of 14 different clubs, two of which he returned to for second spells.

Earlier this month Warnock made his eagerly anticipated return to the dugout as manager of Cardiff - one of the few clubs he’s never actually managed…which may come as a surprise to many.

Warnock was last seen at Rotherham, a club whose fortunes instantly transformed from the moment he came through the door back in February. In only 16 games Warnock managed to sprinkle his magic and conjure up a “Great Escape”, saving the seemingly-doomed Yorkshire club from the dreaded drop.

The 67-year-old will now be looking to utilize the “Warnock Effect” at 23rd-placed Cardiff, who have just eight points from 11 games. Warnock has already galvanised the Welsh club off the pitch, and on Friday night - live on Sky Sports - he’ll look to wave that Warnock wand during what promises to be a spicy Severnside derby with Bristol City.

Warnock’s first task will be propelling Cardiff out of the drop zone, and if everything starts to come together, then you never know…the play-offs could be within reach. Warnock has an eye-popping eight promotions to his name, and while a top-half of the table finish will be more than respectable given the club’s sluggish start under Pearson, what an achievement it would be if the Bluebirds soar up to the Premier League.

Love this:

Steve McClaren (Derby County)

Steve McClaren’s shock return to Derby County, 17 months after leaving the club, is without a doubt the surprise managerial appointment of the season so far.

After Nigel Pearson’s future was finally resolved over the weekend, it seemed for all the world that caretaker boss Chris Powell would be handed the job. But, it was not to be, as Derby’s hierarchy surprised everyone - even McClaren most probably - by rapidly appointing their former boss on Wednesday.

It’s fair to say that the reaction from many Derby fans has been underwhelming, with a number of supporters still holding negative memories from the torrid final two months of McClaren’s first tenure at Derby.

However, the fact of the matter is that McClaren is back at the iPro Stadium, with the aim of rectifying the wrongs and leading the Rams back up to the top-flight. The club undoubtedly played attractive football under McClaren, and if it wasn’t for the collapse at the end of the 2014/15 season, Derby could have once again been a Premier League club.

But, before Derby can begin dreaming, McClaren must first lift the club clear of the relegation zone following a stuttering start which saw them pick up just six points in nine games under Pearson, although they have since responded with a tally of four points in just two match under Powell.

This tweet sums it all up:

Steve Bruce (Aston Villa)

A couple of weeks ago Steve Bruce was, once again, in the running to become the next England manager following the disgraced departure of his buddy Sam Allardyce. However, the 55-year-old is now instead back in club management with Aston Villa, after becoming the club’s seventh gaffer (including caretakers) in the last year.

Bruce, who could easily have held on for a Premier League job, has a proven track record with a whopping four Premier League promotions to his name. The fact that two of these promotions were achieved with Villa’s bitter rivals Birmingham will erk some fans, but on the whole the reaction to Wednesday’s appointment has been very positive from the Villa faithful.

Villa may be down in 19th - with 10 points from 11 matches - but they certainly have the squad to bounce back and storm up the league, and with now with Bruce at the helm, you wouldn’t back against them making the play-offs.

Bruce’s first game at the helm is a spicy Midlands derby at home to Wolves on Saturday, with the hosts looking for only their second win of the season, while that blockbuster fixture with neighbours Birmingham is just over two weeks away on 30 October.

That is some transformation:


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Last man down

Mick McCarthy
(Ipswich Town)
10th April


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