I can't really think of anyone I despise more in the game than this fool.
Jan 25 2010 David Randles Liverpool Echo
WHAT short memories some people have. Or maybe selective would be a better word. Take Neil Warnock, the former Sheffield United manager now of Crystal Palace.
After seeing his side come within minutes of gleaning the full benefit from Wolves boss Mick McCarthy’s decision to make seven changes to his team for their FA Cup tie on Saturday, Warnock commented: “Don’t give me all that bull about weakened teams.
“They can’t pick on Wolves can they?
“Mick’s doing a great job and they’ve got a great chance of staying in that league, make no mistake. He’s not going to jeopardise that.
“I hope he gets a great result on Tuesday now and the lads who haven’t played play really well for him.”
Tuesday, of course, being Wolves versus Liverpool at Molineux, the Premier League fixture that forced McCarthy’s hand at the weekend.
Now here’s what Warnock said in May 2007 after Rafa Benitez exercised his right to make changes to his team that travelled to Fulham, one of the club’s battling with the Blades for top-flight survival at the time.
“I didn’t even know two of the players that played for Liverpool at Fulham last week.
“I’d never heard of them but when you are a foreign manager like Rafa Benitez, you probably don’t give two hoots about what Sheffield United think.
“It’s a long journey to Fulham, so the players are probably better off at home with their feet up.
“You are bound to feel bitter about the circumstances in our relegation but it’s not going to get us back in the Premier League.
“You just have to get over the bitterness and move on but it’s difficult at the moment.”
Getting over it proved a problem for Warnock as he later – a year later, in fact – added to his rant when he said ‘personally I hope Liverpool never win another trophy under Benitez.’
Given his public support for Wolves tomorrow night, Warnock’s stance on Liverpool appears to remain the same, despite his apparent change of heart on a manager’s prerogative to field a weakened side.
The difference, of course, is that three years ago, Fulham’s 1-0 win over Liverpool helped the Cottagers stay up while Sheffield United were relegated.
With at least fourth spot and a place in the Champions League final secured, Benitez gambled at Craven Cottage and lost, just as Manchester United did that season when they also lost to West Ham at Old Trafford a week before their FA Cup final against Chelsea.
Like Fulham, the Hammers stayed up, although Warnock went somewhat easier on Alex Ferguson. One shan’t upset a knight of the realm now.
In Warnock’s world, it seems squad rotation becomes a problem only when it impinges on his team’s fortunes.