Neil Warnock and Marcelo Bielsa will be hugely missed in English game – Sue Smith on Football

English football has lost two big characters in a matter of months with Marcelo Bielsa’s sacking at Leeds United and now Neil Warnock’s retirement from management.

I hope Bielsa manages again, just like I hope Mick McCarthy does after he was sacked by Cardiff City. Maybe his old Barnsley team-mate Warnock will change his mind after a few months in retirement.

It is always a shame when a big character leaves the game. You want them to stay because they are funny or a bit different. This week I could not wait to see the BBC’s documentary on another, Paul Gascoigne.

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There are certain characters and managers fans end up having an attachment with, and there will be plenty of people in Yorkshire who put Warnock in that category, just like there will be others who cannot stand him.

CALLING IT A DAY: Neil Warnock retired from football management this week. Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.

Warnock has always been Marmite but he makes me laugh – even when he was a pundit on Soccer Saturday last week.

I love doing that show but there were times last week when I wished I had been at home just watching Warnock.

I found it fascinating how he interacted with Clinton Morrison. Clinton is a big character but you could see his respect for his old manager in the studio.

Sometimes you meet people in football and even if at the time you do not see eye to eye with them, when you look back at the end of your career, you really appreciate how they helped you, that bit of advice they gave you which you really needed at the time.

MUCH MISSED: Former Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

You never forget that.

With a manager like that, you cannot wait to go into training.

I know a lot of former players are grateful for what Warnock did for them.

When John Buckley was my Doncaster Rovers Belles manager he always said he saw us as his daughters. You knew he always had your back and everything he did was to help you and further your career. Bielsa had a loyalty to the Leeds players he brought up from the Championship and maybe it was his undoing at the end but you want to win things for a manager like that.

Not just players, either. If you ask most Leeds fans now if it was the right decision to sack Bielsa now results have picked up under Jesse Marsch, they will say, ‘Not a chance’.

Maybe had Bielsa stayed he would have been able to turn the results around but what you cannot dispute is the connection he had with everyone at Elland Road.

You could see that same togetherness Bielsa’s Leeds had in Warnock’s teams.

You need to stay up-to-date with the other side of the game too, which all the long-serving managers do, but that ability to create a team spirit will always be vital.

What I find most refreshing about Warnock and Bielsa is I do not think either really cares what other people think about them. They just do what they believe in and say what they think.

I hope Warnock enjoys his retirement because I imagine it will be hard to adjust at times. At least he has had spells out of it before so he has an idea of what it will be like.

I never officially retired from playing but after I stepped away when my dad died, if someone had asked me to come back and play it would have been hard to resist when you have done it and loved it for so long.

Management is all-consuming so to suddenly have all that time on your hands must be difficult, and that pressure of playing or managing is like a drug.

That is probably why I went into the media, where if you make a mistake it is not just your boss who is going to tell you that you messed up.

I still feel nervous before every show because you are never quite sure what will be thrown at you but perhaps I needed that.

So maybe the answer is for Warnock to spend his Saturdays in the Sky studios.

I would certainly look forward to that.

I would just like to finish with a massive thank you to everyone who raised money for my ex-Leeds team-mate Stacey Daniels, who flies to Mexico later this month for life-changing multiple sclerosis treatment.