Neil Warnock replaces Jonathan Woodgate as Middlesbrough boss

Neil Warnock
Neil Warnock won 59 of his 144 games in charge at previous club Cardiff City

Middlesbrough have sacked head coach Jonathan Woodgate and appointed Neil Warnock as his replacement.

Boro are 21st in the Championship after losing 3-0 at home to Swansea City in their first game since the season restarted on Saturday.

Former Leeds, Real Madrid and England defender Woodgate, 40, was appointed last summer but oversaw just nine wins.

Warnock, 71, has been without a club since leaving Cardiff City after more than three years last November.

He now has eight matches to try to keep Middlesbrough in the second tier, with the Teesside club level on points with 22nd-placed Hull City.

His first game in charge will be away at fellow strugglers Stoke City on Saturday.

Boro will be the 16th club of Warnock's managerial career, which started at Gainsborough Trinity in 1980 and has seen him win promotion to the top flight on four occasions - most recently with Cardiff in 2018.

Kevin Blackwell and Ronnie Jepson, who have worked with Warnock at numerous clubs, will be part of the coaching team.

Woodgate, who he replaces at the Riverside, was in his first managerial role having previously been in the club's backroom staff.

His assistant boss, former Republic of Ireland and Tottenham striker Robbie Keane, has also left.

In a statement, Boro said it "would like to place on record its thanks" to Woodgate, who had guided them to victory at Charlton Athletic in their final game before the season was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.

He signed a three-year deal when he was appointed as head coach following the departure of Tony Pulis.

Capped eight times by England, centre-half Woodgate's playing career included a £13.4m move from Newcastle United to Real Madrid in August 2004 and promotion to the Premier League with Boro in 2016.

Another 'final' challenge for Warnock?

Jonathan Woodgate and Neil Warnock
Jonathan Woodgate's Middlesbrough lost 1-0 to Neil Warnock's Cardiff last September

Speaking in January, Warnock said he was looking for one last job before retiring because he only needed to take charge of 12 more games to reach 1,500 in management.

However, that was not the first time he had sought out a "really tempting" final challenge.

He vowed to retire at the end of the 2005-06 season but, after leaving Sheffield United in 2007, he said "there is another club, chairman and group of fans out there who would relish me taking over" for one last shot at management.

Then, in 2012, he promised Leeds United supporters he had "one big challenge left in me" after his arrival at Elland Road.

Last summer he described the current season as "absolutely" his last in football - but will he want to be stuck on 1,496 matches?

Around the BBC iPlayer bannerAround the BBC iPlayer footer

Top Stories

Explore the BBC