At the start of 2020 Neil Warnock revealed that he was determined to add one more club to his CV, and in the process gain membership to the exclusive 1,500 Club.
"I have 12 league games to go to get 1,500 and that is really tempting to me,” he told BBC Sport at the time. “I would like to be able to contribute to a club, either saving it or getting it up.”
A couple of months earlier the veteran boss, who is now 71, had departed Cardiff City having managed a remarkable 1,488 league games and overseen eight promotions across 15 different clubs since he first entered the managerial arena with Gainsborough Trinity in 1980.
Warnock left it late to mark his return to the 2019/20 season, as he ventured up to the Riverside in June - one game into Project Restart - where he replaced Jonathan Woodgate, whose maiden season had hit the rocks.
Warnock inspired a win in his first game, then went on to register nine points from a further seven games to ensure that Boro stayed in the Championship: 17th, five points clear of safety.
So, with those eight matches added to his Managerial CV, Warnock, who signed a one-year contract in July, headed into the new season - remarkably his 41st in management - just four league matches shy of the monstrous 1,500 match milestone.
Warnock’s since made it to 1,499 following an opening day 1-0 defeat to Watford and back-to-back 1-1 draws against Bournemouth and QPR. However, he was absent from the touchline for the latter two games after he tested positive for coronavirus a couple of weeks ago.
"I was very fortunate I didn't get anything on my chest,” Warnock revealed in his first press-conference since returning from self-isolation. “I just started with a little niggly throat and then lost my sense of smell and taste, and for the first few days (I was) absolutely shattered and wanting to go to sleep every minute of the day.
"You've got no option but to look after yourself. My son was with me as well, so he had to isolate as well, so it was strange.”
Neil Warnock will overseen his 1,500th league match on Saturday
So, Warnock heads back into the Middlesbrough dugout this weekend in time for his landmark 1,500 league match as a manager.
The magic match will be at home to Barnsley on Saturday 3rd October (3pm), which is one of the rare Yorkshire clubs that have escaped his managerial radar, although he did play for the club back in the 1970s, and even opened up a greengrocers in the city.
Middlesbrough are priced at 23/20 (Bet Victor) to mark Warnock’s return and milestone moment with their first Championship win of the season.
“It’s a great achievement,” said Warnock on Thursday. “I’ve always loved the Championship and known that I’ve had the longest number of games, but to get to 1,500 it won’t happen very often now I don’t think because quite simply managers aren’t given that opportunity now.
“When I went to a club I used to say that I want to build for three or four years, now it’s three or four weeks, or months! Owners are a lot more demanding now I think and everybody wants success. It’s all your [journalists] fault!”
So what’s the secret to his longevity?
“I try and have a little bit of humour. Let’s be positive when we can.”