‘Dinosaur football’: How Middlesbrough fans should be grateful for Neil Warnock’s style

IT was Neil Warnock’s good friend and fellow Yorkshireman Mick McCarthy who perhaps summed it up the best.

Speaking to the media in the summer of 2019, the former Ipswich manager spoke about leaving his old club on the back of major angst from supporters of Town – who were relegated to League One in the season after he departed the Suffolk club.

“They needed a change,” he said before adding acerbically after a long, deliberate pause: “That went well...”

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Like his former Barnsley team-mate McCarthy, Middlesbrough chief Warnock has also had his dissenters over the years at his perceived outdated style of football.

Neil Warnock: ‘Dinosaur football’ is still getting results for the Boro boss. (Picture: PA)

Some grumbles have already emanated from a section of fans of his current club so far this season, not that Warnock – who turns 73 in December – is worried. Why would he be or should be at his time of life?

On the critics, Warnock – whose side quietened the social media trolls after Saturday’s defeat at Reading with an excellent victory over Sheffield United in midweek – said: “I think the disgruntled ones will be there if Gareth Southgate, Sir Alex Ferguson or anyone else is in charge of the team.. I think they will always have a problem.

“It is easy to say ‘dinosaur football’..I am going to be enjoying looking at you in the next few years watching all this fantastic football and results that come easy...

“And I am sure it will not be long before they are the same with the next manager.

Sheffield United's Jack Robinson (centre) battles for the ball with Middlesbrough's Matt Crooks (left) and Lee Peltier during the Sky Bet Championship match at Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough. (Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire)

“Luckily when I started, there was no social media. It was more enjoyable and it is difficult for managers now as they have their phone-ins and everyone is an expert and every fan, director, owner has an opinion now.”

The opinion of Warnock’s current boss in Steve Gibson is very rarely aired in public and the relationship the pair have is an old-school one based on mutual respect and trust.

It is something that Warnock, in these changing times, is grateful for at the end of his epic time in management.

He added: “I am very, very fortunate with Steve. I tell him how it is and before and after the game we speak and he is the most supportive one who I have ever had, really.

Middlesbrough's Marcus Tavernier (left) celebrates scoring their side's second goal of the game with team-mates during the Sky Bet Championship match at Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough. (Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire)

“He was dead chuffed in how we played the other night. He said that to sit in the stand and watch that with the crowd like that was an amazing night and he thanked me for that.

“I think every manager, if he tells you there’s no pressure, that’s how it is (always pressure). I have a good group of lads and I am sure if the time comes that Steve thinks it is time to change, he will tell me.

“All I can do is my best. I sometimes think it is ‘better the devil you know’ than you don’t know. The grass is not always greener on the other side.”

The fact that Boro have sold out their 3,500 allocation for today’s game in East Yorkshire should provide further vindication for Warnock and underlines that the bulk of supporters remain behind him.

He added: “All I know is that I do feel that the majority of fans are right behind me from what I can tell talking to people around the town and everything.

“In general, I think they know we have turned the club around in the time I have been here and we have got to enjoy it.”