NEIL WARNOCK believes former club Huddersfield Town offer the ideal blueprint for next season after he clinched a record-breaking eighth career promotion.
The 69-year-old steered Cardiff City into the Premier League on Sunday, in the process surpassing the achievements of fellow serial climbers Dave Bassett, Graham Taylor and Jim Smith.
His latest success came against all the odds, the Bluebirds having been second bottom of the Championship when he took over in October, 2016. Even last summer the bookmakers ranked Cardiff way behind the likes of Sunderland, Hull City and Leeds United in the betting for promotion.
Warnock has already promised to “shake up” the elite next season and he believes Huddersfield offer a great example of what can be achieved by a club fresh to the Premier League.
“Huddersfield Town have done brilliantly this season,” he told The Yorkshire Post. “We have got to follow their lead in terms of how to approach the Premier League as a newly promoted club.
“To me they have done unbelievably well. No one expected them to go up a year ago, but they did and now they are within touching distance of staying up despite being given little chance when the season started.
“Like us Huddersfield’s spirit has taken them a long way and it is important you don’t lose that after getting promoted. Too many clubs fall into that trap.
“When I was at QPR the owners wanted to spend millions on Joe Bloggs or whoever the moment promotion had been won. But by doing that, particularly with some of the signings that came in, we lost what had made us successful in the first place.”
Warnock’s first career promotion came when guiding Scarborough into the Football League 31 years ago. It set the Steel City native on a path that has since brought four elevations to the top flight along with lower division triumphs at the helm of Huddersfield, Plymouth and Notts County.
There have been other notable achievements, including the remarkable ‘great escape’ he inspired at Rotherham United in the Spring of 2016 and taking Huddersfield to Wembley in the Football League Trophy.
I really hope they do it. It would be great to be able to go back to Huddersfield with Cardiff for a Premier League game.Neil Warnock
His stint in charge at Leeds Road ended just days after promotion to the second tier had been clinched via victory under the Twin Towers over Bristol Rovers in the 1994 play-off final.
Warnock, however, retains strong feelings for the Terriers, who edged closer to safety in the Premier League on Sunday by claiming a point at the home of champions Manchester City.
“Getting a point at Manchester City was a magnificent result,” added the Bluebirds’ chief.
“I was really pleased when I heard. Huddersfield are a smashing club and I really like Dean Hoyle, the owner.
“Funnily enough, Dean (Hoyle) was one of the first people to text me on Sunday after we had won promotion.
“We have been in touch a few times, usually before a big game for one of us.
“I still think they possibly need a point to get over the line and I really hope they do it. It would be great to be able to go back to Huddersfield with Cardiff for a Premier League game.”
Warnock’s latest success came via a final day that saw his Cardiff side held to a goalless draw at home by Reading as Fulham, their only challengers, crashed to a 3-1 loss at Birmingham City.
“I didn’t even know the Fulham score until half-time,” said Warnock. “I did ask to be kept informed, but no one did so I just presumed it was 0-0.
“When I got into the dressing room and asked one of the staff what was happening in the Fulham game, they told me ‘2-0’ and my face dropped. It was only then I was told it was Birmingham who were in front and not Fulham.”
As for next season and the chance to pilot a fifth club in the top flight, Warnock added: “We will have money to spend, but it won’t be anything like £20m on one striker, like some clubs do.
“More likely we will spend that £20m on five or six players, who will all have to fit in to how we do things at Cardiff. Just like Huddersfield did with their signings.
“To be fair I believe we have a good back four anyway. What we need are more options, particularly from the bench. We need more strength in depth.
“The chairman will be the best I have worked with in the Premier League. We are 100 per cent on the same page, which hasn’t always been the case for me. In the past there have been problems in the Premier League. It is probably why this is my favourite promotion.”