Seven days ago, a thoroughly downcast Neil Warnock could hardly summon the energy to look out of the window to see what was on the horizon for Leeds United.
Fast forward to today and the long-awaited confirmation by GFH Capital of their takeover of the Whites has now enabled him to ‘open the curtains’ again. Potentially to a bright new dawn.
The mood in Warnock’s pre-match press conference yesterday was practically the polar opposite of the one he presided over at Thorp Arch a couple of days before the Millwall game, when he mulled over United’s increasingly stagnating campaign on and off the pitch and said that he would be “thick” even to contemplate promotion.
And the 63-year-old is the first to acknowledge the differing vibes.
Warnock, who has previously experienced his fair share of upheaval behind the scenes at a number of previous clubs, most notably United’s weekend opponents Crystal Palace, said: “I suppose seven days ago I was thinking ‘what a wasted opportunity’. But everything is positive this week and it is like opening the curtains. We have got to look at it now and say, ‘ let’s have a go.’
“The last two or three weeks have been as difficult as they come. You do start thinking it is you. Are you a Jonah with football clubs? Everywhere I have been in the last how-many years, they have all had new owners. But we still got success with that, so it is a matter of looking at the positive. What is that saying – look too much at the clouds, you forget about the sunshine?
“You’ve got to look at tomorrow now, not what happened yesterday.”
Heralding the concrete takeover news, he added: “It’s a fabulous step forward. It’s been a long time coming, but it is a progressive step for the club in general.
“All I am concerned about is that at last it gives us closure on the whole saga.”
While keen to draw a line under the countless frustrations endured while waiting for the protracted takeover to get over the line, Warnock is equally determined to move on and start a new chapter on the pitch.
The emphatic message from the energised Whites boss, who put several weeks of transfer angst behind him yesterday by bringing in Premier League pair Alan Tate and Jerome Thomas ahead of the emergency loan deadline – from Swansea City and West Brom respectively – is that the season very much starts now.
He added: “It is difficult for me at the moment with the family being in Cornwall. It is bound to be. But (wife) Sharon realised what an important year this is for me. Really, my year starts now. I don’t feel like I have been working; I feel I have just been doing a job that most people could have done.
“But my season starts now and I am almost feeling like I do when I come back for the first week of pre-season.
“Yes, we have lost a lot of players but it’s onwards now. Look to the future and be positive. Because in my eyes I have got five months to do another miracle.”
Having managed to secure two deals in double-quick time ahead of yesterday’s 5pm deadline, Warnock is envisaging more of the same and a bit more incoming activity of the permanent variety besides when the transfer window opens in January.
In terms of full-time transfers, the New Year window proved largely a write-off on the transfer front for United at the start of this year, with the only permanent deal that was finalised being the capture of Danny Pugh, with former boss Simon Grayson enduring a lorry-load of frustration otherwise.
Warnock will meet GFH Capital officials following tomorrow’s game with Palace and it is highly likely that January transfer business will be at the very top of the agenda.
Warnock, who plans to write a letter to the FA outlining what he perceives as an injustice for his improper conduct charge following events after the game at Millwall, said: “I will see them (GFH Capital) on Saturday after the game. I will know more then. But we have got four or five weeks and we will be working hard to put things in place, so we can move quite quickly rather than waiting until the end of January. We do not want to do that. We want to have signings in place.
“We are going to be looking at targets, talking to the new owners about who we want to bring in and getting the okay, so we can move quickly.
“We have got the best part of five months of fixtures and we have got to make sure we are ready as early as possible in January. In the meantime, we have got to pick up as many points as we can from a run of difficult fixtures and all the problems we have got.”
Having been afforded additional funds by GFH Capital to boost his transfer kitty following the takeover deal, Warnock wasted no time in completing the deals for Tate and Thomas and the Leeds boss admits it was a refreshing change to hear from agents, managers and clubs willing to do business, with it perhaps more than coincidence, given this week’s developments.
Warnock said: “For a change, I had a couple of good calls (on Wednesday). I counted 33 phone calls. I actually logged them so I knew how many I had done. Of which I got 24 answers and nine never even returned my call. I presumed they were a no.”
Last week, Warnock alluded to his hopes of a record eighth promotion of his distinguished managerial career slipping away. Defeat at Millwall was another dent to those prospects with selection worries compounded by a three-match ban for Luke Varney following his red card, with the striker joining the likes of Jason Pearce and Rodolph Austin in the stands tomorrow.
United reside in 18th spot in the Championship, but Warnock’s dream just about stays intact – Wednesday’s news certainly helped in that regard.
The United boss defiantly roared: “I am not giving up anything. I cannot give it up and I am not going to give it up. I am going to plan that once January comes we can have a right good go.”