Neil Warnock, who celebrates his 70th birthday on Saturday, has spent half his life as a manager at 12 different Football League clubs.
The Yorkshireman holds the record for the most promotions in the Football League – eight – having guided Cardiff to the top flight in May this year.
Here, Press Association Sport takes a look back at Warnock’s career in pictures.
Pilgrims’ progress – promotion number five
Warnock already had four promotions on his managerial CV by the time he guided Plymouth to victory in the old Division Three play-offs in 1996. He led Scarborough to the Football League in 1987 – the first club to be promoted rather than voted into the old Fourth Division – won back-to-back promotions to the top flight with Notts County in 1991 and steered Huddersfield to the second tier in 1995 via another play-off success.
Triple whammy bruises Blades
Following spells in charge of Oldham and Bury, Warnock was appointed as boss of hometown club Sheffield United in 1999. The Blades lost in the semi-finals of both the FA Cup and League Cup in 2003 to Arsenal and Liverpool respectively and that same season were also beaten by Wolves in the old First Division play-off final. Blades fans were left crestfallen after a thrilling season that had promised so much. It was Warnock’s first defeat in five play-off finals as a manager.
The ‘Battle of Bramall Lane’
Warnock has fallen out with a long list of rival managers down the years, including former West Brom boss Gary Megson following the ‘Battle of Bramall Lane’ in 2002. The Blades had three players sent off – goalkeeper Simon Tracey, Georges Santos and Patrick Suffo – and Megson accused Warnock of deliberately trying to get the match abandoned, a claim the latter refuted.
Hometown hero delivers Premier League
Sheffield United put their 2003 heartbreak behind them three years later when they celebrated finishing the 2005/6 season as Championship runners-up. The Blades were back in the Premier League for the first time in 12 years, while Warnock won promotion to the English top flight for a second time. It was his sixth promotion as manager in total and his first in a decade. But one year later his eight-year spell at Bramall Lane had an unhappy ending.
Tevez saga left bitter taste
A 2-1 home defeat to Wigan on the final day of the 2006/7 season, coupled with Carlos Tevez’s winner for West Ham at Manchester United condemned Warnock’s Blades to a controversial relegation on goal difference. The Hammers were later fined £5.5million by the Football Association for fielding Tevez as an ineligible player, but were not docked any points and Warnock quit Bramall Lane. The Blades later won an independent tribunal and the two clubs eventually agreed an out-of-court settlement, reported to have been £20m, in 2009.
Hoops make it Magnificent Seven
Warnock led Crystal Palace to within touching distance of promotion in his next job, but they lost in the Championship play-off semi-finals in 2008 and he was “let go” after the club went into administration in January 2010. Two months later he was installed as QPR boss and in April 2011 he sealed his seventh managerial promotion as the Hoops finished top of the Championship to reach the Premier League for the first time in 15 years.
Leeds job a poisoned chalice
The lure of attempting to become the man to take Leeds back to the big time proved too great for Warnock and little over a month after being sacked by QPR he was installed as the Yorkshire club’s manager in February 2012. New owners provided little stability though and there was little chance of Warnock emulating his previous successes at a toxic Elland Road.
Warnock works wonders for Millers
Following brief spells back in charge of Palace and QPR, Warnock returned to Yorkshire to take charge of Rotherham and was tasked with saving them from relegation to the third tier in early 2016. The Millers are the only club where he has been both player and manager and thanks to an 11-game unbeaten run from the end of February to late April, he saved them from the drop.
‘Old school boss’ tells it straight
BT Sport added Warnock to their punditry team in time for the 2013/14 season. Love him or loathe him, the straight-talking Yorkshireman always has an opinion and invariably provokes a reaction after spending over 30 years playing the pantomime villain. He has also been a regular on TalkSPORT radio alongside Alan Brazil on the Scot’s morning show.
Bluebirds’ triumph trumps the lot
Warnock said a record eighth promotion would be the “greatest achievement” of his career as Cardiff closed in on a top-two finish in the Championship last season and a goalless home draw against Reading on the last day sealed the Welsh club’s place back in the Premier League. Three other managers – Dave Bassett, Graham Taylor and Jim Smith – have won seven Football League promotions, but this latest triumph put Warnock out on his own in top spot.