Neil Warnock sacked as manager of Queens Park Rangers

Neil Warnock
Warnock led Rangers back to the top flight after a 15-year absence

Queens Park Rangers have sacked manager Neil Warnock after a run of eight Premier League games without a win.

The 63-year-old took charge at Loftus Road in March 2010 and led Rangers to promotion last season, but leaves with them lying 17th in the top flight.

A statement on the club websiteexternal-link said: "The board's commitment to retaining our Premier League status ultimately led to this decision."

Assistant manager Mick Jones and coach Keith Curle have also left the club.

Former Manchester City, Fulham and Wales boss Mark Hughes is interested in the vacant post and is seen as an ideal candidate by the club, BBC Sport understands.

Warnock took charge of QPR with the club lying 20th in the Championship, and, after steering them away from relegation trouble, returned the club to the Premier League 14 months later.

Rangers made an encouraging start to life back in the top flight and, after a 3-2 win at Stoke on 19 November, sat ninth in the table.

However, without a win since, Warnock's side slipped towards the relegation zone and needed a last-minute equaliser from Heidar Helguson to avoid an FA Cup third-round defeat by League One side MK Dons on Saturday.

QPR's Malaysian owner and chairman Tony Fernandes said: "This decision has been made in the best interests of the club and I can assure everyone that this is not a decision that was made lightly.

"Sadly, our recent run of poor form has seen us slip alarmingly down the table and the board felt it was the right time to make a change.

"Neil has acted with honesty, professionalism and integrity throughout his time at the club, and I would personally like to thank him for his significant contribution to QPR over the last 22 months."

Warnock, who left Crystal Palace to take charge of Rangers, added: "Obviously I'm very disappointed, but having achieved so much, I leave the club with a great sense of pride.

"The board at QPR are hugely ambitious and I wish them every success for the future."

Warnock, one of only 19 bosses to have taken charge of 1,000 domestic matches in England, began his managerial career at Gainsborough Trinity before leading Scarborough to the Football League and winning successive promotions with Notts County.

Promotions with Huddersfield and Plymouth were followed by spells in charge of Oldham and Bury, with Warnock taking control at hometown club Sheffield United in December 1999.

He led the Blades to semi-finals in the both the FA and League Cups and, after a play-off final defeat, promotion to the Premier League in 2006.

United spent only one season in the top flight before being relegated, a campaign ultimately marred by the Carlos Tevez affair,external-link and Warnock resigned in May 2007, arriving at Palace four months later.

Despite returning Rangers to the top flight after a 15-year absence, pre-season speculation suggested Warnock may be replaced, with names including Marcelo Lippi and Claudio Ranieri linked with the role.

When vice-chairman Amit Bhatia left the club more rumours circulated before new owner Fernandes took charge and assured Warnock of his future.

The former Chesterfield and Rotherham player said he would retire at the age of 60 before changing his mind and has also previously suggested that the Rangers role would be his last in management.

Warnock added: "I have enjoyed my time here more than anywhere else and the QPR fans have been brilliant with me - they deserve success.

"My biggest regret is that the takeover didn't happen earlier, because that would have given me the opportunity to bring in the targets I'd pinpointed all last summer and probably given us a better chance to succeed in the Premier League.

"I've been involved in the game a long time and I will be spending the immediate future with my family and friends before deciding my next career move."