Nottingham Forest: Neil Warnock rejects manager role

Neil Warnock has rejected the chance to take over as Nottingham Forest manager because he feared there would be too much interference from the owners.

The Reds had been in talks with Warnock after sacking Billy Davies and the 65-year-old former Leeds United boss was expected to be appointed on Monday.

But Warnock told BBC Radio Nottingham: "I felt that I have to do the job the way I see it being done.

"And I just couldn't totally see being able to do that, so it was difficult."


Neil Warnock was the hot favourite. He met the owner and chairman but did not feel it was quite right for him. He is 65, based down in Cornwall, and it would take quite a bit to lever him up out of that. It is not quite right for him so he will pass. That is a big surprise.

Forest's Kuwaiti owner and chairman Fawaz Al Hasawi told BBC East Midlands Today that Warnock was only one of a number of candidates.

But Warnock said he was offered the job.

"It's been a hectic 48 hours. It's a great club," he added. "I said I wouldn't have come back unless it was an opportunity to get success at a club. It couldn't have fitted the bill better with nine games - 12 including the play-offs - to get up.

"In the next 12 games it was a great possibility to get promoted. It got me excited but you have to look beyond that.

"The chairman is a lovely man. He loves the club. But I found it very difficult that there was nobody English around the club to speak to that had football experience. I felt it is area they need to look at.

"It's not knocking them because it's the way they do business. It's different cultures but it wasn't for me at this stage of my career. If I couldn't do it how I saw fit then I had better leave it."

But ex-Notts County, Sheffield United, Crystal Palace and QPR manager Warnock said he would be interested in a director of football role as part of a restructured set-up at the City Ground.

"It's something I would consider doing," Warnock said.

"I do believe that whoever they appoint long term, they will have to have a director of football/chief executive - somebody on the football side rather than the rules and regulations side.

"A club as big as that, I don't think it can be run along the lines it is being run at the moment and have long-term success. It has to have a bit more experience and knowledge of the English game inside the club.

Neil Warnock factfile

Neil Warnock
  • 1993: Guides Huddersfield to Autoglass Trophy final at Wembley in his first season
  • 1999: Appointed Sheffield United boss after spells with Notts County, Plymouth, Oldham and Bury
  • 2006: Manages in Premier League for the first time after the Blades win promotion
  • May 2007: Leaves Bramall Lane after controversial Premier League relegation
  • October 2007: Joins cash-strapped Crystal Palace
  • March 2010: With Palace in administration, Warnock takes over at QPR
  • May 2011: Takes the Hoops into the Premier League
  • January 2012: Leaves QPR
  • February 2012: Replaces Simon Grayson as Leeds manager
  • April 2013: Parts company with Leeds
  • March 2014: Rejects chance to take over as Nottingham Forest manager

"Forest are a great club and I hope they get up. I would love to see them back in the Premier League."

Academy manager Gary Brazil will be in charge for Tuesday's Championship game against Charlton.

And Al Hasawi, who has lifted all bans on media at the club, has called for "patience" from fans  before appointing the club's new boss.

Davies, 49, was appointed Reds boss for a second time in February 2013, but was fired in the wake of Saturday's 5-0 defeat against rivals Derby County.

The result left Forest a place and two points outside the Championship play-offs after an eight-game winless run following the victory over Huddersfield Town.

Al Hasawi, who has appointed Forest's two-time European Cup winning captain John McGovern as a club ambassador, told BBC East Midlands Today: "We contacted many managers but we want to choose the right one. All of them are great managers and I respect them but I should talk about the right manager.

"Billy Davies is a good manager and he did well since we started the season, but things didn't work. Sometimes even if you have a good manager it doesn't work. I respect him and wish him all the best.

"The last eight games hurt. We spent lots of money this season and we expected to be top of the league. I was really disappointed."

The Al Hasawi family bought the club in July 2012 and have already had four permanent managers.

Steve Cotterill was sacked within days of the Al Hasawis taking over, and Sean O'Driscoll and Alex McLeish have also come and gone before Davies' 13-month reign.