Ex-Crystal Palace, Leeds United and QPR boss becomes first managerial departure of Championship season

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A former Crystal Palace and QPR manager has become the first managerial departure in the Championship this season

Former Crystal Palace and Queens Park Rangers manager Neil Warnock will leave his role at Huddersfield Town after the Terriers’ Championship clash against Stoke City on Wednesday.

Huddersfield had endured a tough start to the league campaign as they lost three of their opening four games while drawing the other fixture. However, they have turned a corner this month with back-to-back wins against West Brom and Rotherham United.

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The Terriers turned to Warnock late last season with the veteran manager guiding the club to a great escape which was sealed on the penultimate game of the campaign against Sheffield United. He was due to leave the club in May but agreed to extend his stay by another season to allow the West Yorkshire outfit more time to seek a long-term appointment.

Warnock had two spells at both Crystal Palace and QPR. He was in charge at Selhurst Park for 129 games between October 2007 and March 2010. He left the Eagles for QPR in March 2010 on a three-and-a-half-year deal but was sacked in January 2012 after leading the club into the Premier League.

He returned to Palace in August 2014 but was sacked in December 2014. He moved to QPR as a first-team advisor in 2015 and become temporary manager after Chris Ramsey’s departure.

Explaining their decision to part ways with Warnock, Huddersfield chief executive Jake Edwards explained the club are now in a position to make that longer-term decision.

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He said: “I must start this statement by, on behalf of everyone at the football club, expressing my huge gratitude to Neil and his assistant, Ronnie Jepson, for the incredible job they have done at the club over the last six months.

“Keeping this club in the Championship, given the position the team was in when they arrived in February, was nothing short of amazing, and built upon their already lasting legacies at this club as a management team and, in Ronnie’s case, as a player too. They are both, undeniably, Huddersfield Town legends, and have cemented their positions in this club’s history.

“Our owner, Kevin Nagle, and I were so grateful when Neil and Ronnie agreed to stay at the club for the new season. All parties were clear that this was not a long-term appointment, but that it gave us important stability on the football side whilst the change of ownership was completed, and the new regime established itself at the club.

“At this point, we now feel we are ready to make a longer-term managerial appointment. I’ve had detailed discussions with Neil and, alongside Ronnie, Carl Serrant and Ian Bennett, he’s agreed to step aside to allow us to do this.

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“Again, I cannot thank Neil and Ronnie enough for everything they have done for this club. I know they want to leave on a high with a result against Stoke City in midweek, and I’m sure they will get the send-off they deserve from the players and supporters.”

Of his decision to leave the club, Warnock said: “We’ve actually done what we set out to do really. As Jake said, Kevin has a three-year plan to reach the Premier League. When Dean [Hoyle] brought me back he pleaded for days and days and changed my mind and I said I’d come back and help while I was wanted.

“Once they told me they wanted to bring someone in...yes, I thought it would be about Christmas time, but once they told me that I think they had to move on quickly. If you’re not wanted you want to go straight away. I don’t mean that how it maybe sounds - we always said we’d be straight with each other and that’s what we’ve done, and Ronnie and I wish them all the best. I’ve told the lads there’s no reason not to push towards the play-offs now.

“My health is good, I’ve never felt better! If anything I’ve got the buzz again. I’m sure when February comes round people will be asking me again. I’ve always said to Kevin, it’s his club and that I’d go whenever he wants me to go. 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. I can’t tell you who the new manager is because they’ve not told me, so I assume it’s someone I don’t like!”

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