Sewer rats! Monkey feet! Pinnochio! The wild world of Warnock
Neil Warnock once collared the author of this piece at an awards do, to moan about an item which had appeared my 3PM column.
"What you wrote about me was a fuckin' disgrace, terrible," he said.
Then he broke into a broad grin.
"What was it again?"
It's a typical moment in the colourful life of a m anager who is now back in football as boss of Leeds United .
Take our quiz below to find out how much you know about him... and relive some of his maddest moments...
Q1) Which Baltic country did Neil Warnock mention while insulting one of his own defenders during a 1995 half-time team talk?
A1) Latvia. Warnock's rages - which may have caused the end of his tenure at QPR - are legendary. Indeed, they're so volcanic they even cause a documentary team's camera lens to steam up in this aggressive-passive-aggressive rant, which features some 25 swear words and the memorable phrase to an errant defender: "You! You're in Latvia!"
Q2) What caused Warnock to swear uncontrollably in a televised post-match team talk last May?
A2) Winning promotion. Sixteen years on from the Latvia rant, the dressing rooms have got better and so has the mood, with QPR having clinched elevation to the top flight, subject to ratification by the FA. But the language hasn't improved much...
Q3) What is Neil Warnock's nickname?
A3) Thanks to an enterprising anagram lover, we all know him as Colin Wanker. "I’m not against anything that makes people laugh," says Warnock of the moniker. "I’m all for that. And I’ve certainly been called a lot worse."
Q4) Other than professional footballer and manager, what other jobs has Warnock done?
A4) A jobbing winger who played for eight professional clubs, none of them for more than two years, Warnock ran a market stall and worked as a chiropodist after retiring, while coaching non-league sides. The latter trade came in useful during an FA Cup run with Burton Albion.
He said: “The TV cameras came up and we did a story. I still had my surgery then… so I put my white coat on and got my scalpel out. We got one of the lads up on the table and I said, ‘This lad, he's had a problem with his feet for a number of weeks.’ So they started filming, right. Now I'm not saying the guy was thick, but the player had on a pair of monkey feet, I was taking the piss, and this guy just filmed it - hair everywhere and six claws. And he put it in! They showed it on telly.”
Q5) Which c-word did Warnock use to describe having a good 'goal' ruled out for not crossing the line in a 1-0 defeat for Crystal Palace at Bristol City in August 2009?
A5) "Cheated". Enjoy this typical post-match diatribe...
Q6) What led Joe Royle to say: "Neil could pick a fight in an empty room"?
A6) This tremendous piece of footage, which shows Warnock making friends with the officials...
Q7) What does Warnock write in his spare time?
A7) Not hate mail to refs but verse. "I love poetry and have kept everything I've written," he once said. "I cry during films as well. I like soppy films, sentimental stuff with children."
Q8) What did Warnock say after arriving at Loftus Road for the first time as QPR boss and spotting a sign reading 'Winners Only' on the home dressing room door?
A8) As seen on new documentary The Four-Year Plan, he quips: "We'll have to get rid of that."
Q9) Which player has Warnock sold twice, much to that player's chagrin?
A9) Warnock's many enemies in football include journeyman defender Peter Swan, whom he flogged at Plymouth, where the centre back had been captain. Swan moved on to Bury, only for Warnock to arrive and promptly sell within two months. “I hate Neil Warnock,” Swan once said. “He is a prick.”
Q10) How did Gerard Houllier desscribe Warnock after he fell out with Liverpool's Stephane Henchoz and Phil Thompson during a 2003 League Cup semi?
A10) It depends on what you read. The Observer reported a seething Houllier saying: "Neil Warnock does a good job at his club but sometimes he speaks a bit too loud. He had been winding up our players. If the FA do get involved, I hope they get involved in what he said about us. He said cheap things that were wrong about us." However this was reported on the Sheffild United website as: "Neil Warnock is doing a good job. He has got his own style and we respect that."
Q11) What did Warnock say to upset Thommo?
A12) "Fuck off Pinnochio. Get back in your fucking cupboard.".
Q12) To what animal did Warnock compare Blackburn's El-Hadji Diouf?
A12) A year ago, Warnock minced few words after claiming Diouf had abused Jamie Mackie while he lay on the pitch with a broken leg during their FA Cup clash. Warnock called the Senegalese spitter "a nasty little person", "a disgrace" and "a sewer rat"... then apologised to sewer rats everywhere for bringing their name into disrepute.
Q13) What is Warnock's favourite cocktail?
While managing Bury during the late 1990s, Warnock had a Friday ritual: No player could leave after training without downing a brandy glass into which he cracked a raw egg, then filled to the brim with sherry. "There would be players on their knees, heaving and gagging, but you'd make sure you got it down>" remembered keeper Dean Kiely.
Q13) Who does Neil Warnock support?
A13) Despite having played for and managed 18 clubs, Warnock has always been a fan of club No. 16, Sheffield United. "I remember the day when they sold Brian Deane and Jan Aage Fjortoft," he once said. " It was like when President Kennedy got shot."
Hence, Warnock dislikes the Blades' local rivals. Asked by FourFourTwo magazine what he would do if he ever became Sheffield Wednesday boss, he is said to have replied: "“As long as the whole of my salary was paid within 28 days, I would buy so many tosspots – although, come to think of it, their current squad would do – and fuck ‘em up so badly. Then I’d retire to Cornwall and spend the rest of my life laughing my fucking head off.”
Warnock later claimed to have been misquoted, although that was slightly undermined when United chairman Derek Dooley apologised to the Owls.
Q14) Which rival manager threatened to pick Warnock up and throw him back in his team's dugout during a touchline row?
While managing Notts County, Warnock was so animated during a game against Wednesday that he unwisely squared up to rival boss 'Big' Ron Atkinson. But that was only the start of it a beautiful friendship, as the silly old duffer recounts here...
Q14) Which former Premier League and current Championship manager says Warnock tried to deliberately injure him?
A14) Paul Jewell, who said: ““I first came across Neil when I was a striker at Bradford, and Neil was manager of Huddersfield. Neil was asking someone to do me. I went over and told him to handle it himself. He ended up under the piano with the lid down."
Q15) How many players did Sheffield United have left on the pitch at the end of their famous March 2002 game against West Brom?
A15) Six, after Warnock's team, having used all their subs and had three players sent off in what became known as the Battle Of Bramall Lane, mysteriously saw Michael Brown and Robert Ullathorne limp off, reducing them to six men and leaving ref Eddie Wolsthenholme with no choice but to abandon the match under FA regulations.
Warnock claimed to have had no knowledge of the rule, somewhat surprising as he is a Class One qualified referee. "Disgraceful," said Baggies manager Gary Megson, of whom Warnock would later say "I wouldn't piss on him if he was on fire."
Said Warnock, six months after the 9/11 attacks: "The way it has all come out so far, you would think I was guilty of committing more crimes than Osama Bin Laden." You can make your own mind up by watching this...
Q16) What lengthy song do West Brom fans sing about the Battle of Bramall Lane?
A16) It begins: "There were 11 on the field/And Warnock squealed: 'fall over, fall over'/So they all fell over and one was sent off". You can guess the rest
Q17) Which other manager does Warnock say he wouldn't douse with urine were he ablaze?
A17) Stan Ternent. "I detest him," says Warnock. The antipathhy stems from a 2001 incident in which the former Burnley boss accused Warnock of having assistant Kevin Blackwell eavesdrop on his half-time team talk. He said: "At half-time we were one goal down and as I was asking how much my players wanted it, I thought I heard a noise on the other side of an emergency door. I motioned for them to keep quiet and launched myself into a two-footed kung-fu kick against the door. It exploded outwards and I saw a figure scurry away.
"I then took one of my players to see the referee and show him a wound and heard a voice behind me say, 'Come off it Stan - you are always at it.' I turned to see Warnock's No2 Kevin Blackwell and I shouted, 'Let's have it now.' I ran up, smacked him in the face and nutted him for good measure. He hit me back and my nose ruptured. I jumped on him and we fell to the floor shoving the door to the referee's room wide open.
"Stewards and United staff pounced on my back and eventually dragged me away. I'd given him a few cracks and a couple of follow-ups.
Warnock's version of the incident? "I’d told Kevin to keep an eye on Ternent. I knew he’d be trying to put pressure on the ref. So when Ternent came round the corner, frothing at the mouth, Blackie told him to leave it out. That was all the encouragement Ternent needed. He launched himself at Blackie and butted him. Blackwell swung a right hook and smacked him on the nose. He sploshed him good and proper. In Ternent’s autobiography he tells how he gave Blackwell a good hiding. But we saw the incident differently. Blackie had a little cut on his lip. Ternent was in bits."
Q18) Which Ternent sideman did Warnock fall out with in January 2007?
A18) Wally Downes, who accused Warnock of making a leg-breaking gesture when Sheffield United played Reading. Both men were sent from their respective dugouts, and Warnock ended up serving a touchline ban after it was revealed he was already serving a suspended sentence, partly for aiming a V-sign at Nigel Worthington when the then-Norwich boss refused to shake his hand.
The Warnock version? "I made the kicking gesture to tell the referee that Steve Sidwell's tackle on Chris Armstrong had been the worst of the game. Because he worked with Stan Ternent Downes gets a bit carried away. I don't think he was coherent - his head and eyes were bulging."
Q19) Which Hollywood star caused Neil Warnock's resignation from Sheffield United?
A19) Sean Bean. Warnock left the Blades in bizarre circumstances - after claiming the actor fan had stormed into his office and sworn at his wife and children following United's relegation in 2007. He said: "He was obviously the worst for wear... 'It's your fucking husband that got us relegated,' he said, pointing at her. 'He's a fucking wanker'. That's Sean Bean, the tough guy actor. Some kind of tough guy, eh, reducing a five-year-old kid and his mum to tears.” Bean denies the incident took place, calling Warnock "bitter".
Q20) What surgery did Warnock recently undergo?
A20) The notion that Warnock's sacking at QPR must have been caused by a row with Tony Fernandes is all the more impressive given that the manager has just had a mouth operation which required 20 stitches, making conversation extremely painful. But if anyone's still going to shout after going through that, it's only going to be Neil Warnock.