Neil Warnock has been appointed as Aberdeen interim manager until the end of the season.
The 75-year-old returns to professional football once again after leaving Huddersfield in September, with the Dons his 17th different club in British football – but his first in Scotland.
Warnock replaces Barry Robson, who following a successful caretaker spell was sacked less than nine months as permanent boss after a 1-1 draw at home to Dundee last week, which left the club eighth in the Scottish Premiership.
First-team coach Peter Leven, who oversaw the side’s 1-1 draw with Celtic at Pittodrie on Saturday, will remain as first-team coach with Ronnie Jespon joining Warnock as assistant ahead of his first game in charge at Rangers on Tuesday, live on Sky Sports.
Warnock’s recent spell at Huddersfield was his second at the club and he has spent time in charge of the likes of Sheffield United, Crystal Palace, Queens Park Rangers and Cardiff City in a managerial career that has spanned more than 40 years.
He announced his retirement from football in 2022 before taking over at Huddersfield and now extends his career even further in the Granite City.
‘I’ve always wanted to manage in Scotland’
Speaking after joining the club, Warnock said: “I’m really looking forward to the challenge here at Aberdeen.
“I’ve made no secret of the fact I’ve always wanted to manage in Scotland, so when I spoke to Dave and Alan and they asked me to help out, it just felt like the right opportunity.
“By all accounts there is a good group of lads here and it’s my job now to get the best out of them.
“Aberdeen is a big club with clear ambition and I’m hoping that during my time here the supporters will get behind the team and I can put a smile on their faces.”
Chairman Dave Cormack added: “From the moment we first spoke with Neil his enthusiasm for managing Aberdeen was infectious.
“He has had an incredible career in management, not only in terms of volume of games and winning promotions, but also of coming into clubs at short notice and making an immediate impact.
“We look forward to Neil, Ronnie and the team pushing hard in the remaining four months of the campaign as we still have a huge amount to play for both in the SPFL Premiership and the Scottish Cup.”
New manager appointed before next season
Aberdeen confirmed in a statement the appointment of Warnock will give time to complete a detailed review of the football operation which began at the end of last year.
That process will then inform and support the process of selecting and appointing a new management team ahead of the 2024/25 season.
Cormack said: “Ambitious clubs regularly invest in independent advice to support internal coaching, data analysis, recruitment, and medical teams with the goal of improving performance through continuous learning and development.
“The highly experienced team of independent advisors, who do this work with some of the best clubs across the globe, will make recommendations to allow us to understand what we can improve upon in terms of best practice going forward.
“The review will include benchmarking the club against similar teams that currently outperform us in Europe.
“With this work well underway, and due to be completed by early April, we are aiming to have a new management team confirmed by the end of the season.”
Aberdeen once rejected Warnock…
Warnock is no stranger to Scottish football, previously telling Sky Sports that he was a Rangers fan and that he had once applied for the Dons job, without much luck.
“I remember applying for the Aberdeen job once and I never got a reply at all,” he said.
“I asked Laurent D’Jaffo, one of my ex-players who was at Aberdeen, what it was like up there and he said ‘Gaffer, it is the only place the seagulls never land – it’s the coldest place on earth.’
“But I never got a reply to Aberdeen but you just don’t know what’s around the corner. I’m fascinated with challenges now.”
Boyd: Someone needs to get a grip of Aberdeen
Speaking on Sky Sports ahead of Aberdeen’s draw with Celtic on Saturday, Kris Boyd was critical of the Dons’ decision to appoint an interim manager – hitting out at owner Dave Cormack for not creating a succession plan after Robson’s sacking.
“They want to appoint an interim manager. I don’t quite know why they’ve got to that stage,” said Boyd.
“If you win games of football, you keep your job. It doesn’t matter how you play. Aberdeen, from where they are at this moment in time in the league, is an absolute disgrace. You can blame Europe but there are other games as well.
“Aberdeen, as a football club, need to get a grip of this situation. If you look at Dave Cormack, he wants to control everything. He has every right, he’s the owner of the football club.
“But there have been three managers sacked in the end of January and the beginning of February under Dave Cormack. Two heads of recruitment have been sacked. Where are Aberdeen going as a football club?”
Aberdeen’s next five fixtures
- Rangers (a) – Scottish Premiership – Tuesday – live on Sky Sports
- Bonnyrigg Rose (h) – Scottish Cup – Saturday
- Motherwell (h) – Scottish Premiership – February 14
- Hibernian (h) – Scottish Premiership – February 17
- Kilmarnock (a) – Scottish Premiership – February 24
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