Neil Warnock says his reputation was 'slowly poisoned' at QPR

Neil Warnock says he lost his Queens Park Rangers job as his reputation was "slowly poisoned" by critics both inside and outside the club.

He claimed a "lack of football experience" in the hierarchy left QPR open to "manipulative" people.

The 63-year-old said he was unhappy fans and players were able to talk to owner Tony Fernandes through Twitter.

Warnock told BBC Sport his achievements at the club were "almost a miracle" given what "I've had to contend with".

"Even the owner Tony... I know the influence he'll have had from certain people over the past few weeks," Warnock said.

"It would have been difficult to resist because people get on the phone and tweet and it's almost like slowly poisoning somebody from outside the club and no doubt from within the club as well.

"It's a dangerous precedent if you let players talk to the chairman but, you know, you can't stop tweeting."

QPR sacked Warnock 11 days ago and he has spoken about his dismissal at length for the first time, saying:

  • he was disappointed Fernandes did not sack him face-to-face - instead chief executive Philip Beard delivered the news;
  • he was surprised at the decision but has no bitterness towards QPR;
  • his successor Mark Hughes is a "good manager", but Warnock "wished he had [Hughes's] agent" [Kia Joorabchian];
  • football had become "immoral" because of players' wages, and the manager's role was not as enjoyable anymore;
  • he did not want to discuss midfielder Joey Barton as he "just wants to talk about positive things at the club".

After guiding the London club to the Premier League during the 2010-11 season, the former Sheffield United and Crystal Palace boss was initially backed by Fernandes.

But, despite a poor run of results, Warnock says that "he didn't see [being sacked] coming," and believes the Caterham F1 team boss should have told him personally.

"I received a text saying the owners had been talking long into the night and Phil Beard, the new chief executive, asked if he could come and see me so I told him to come to our house and when I saw him I felt sorry for him and said, 'don't worry - it's nothing to do with you, this'.

"I think you get used to a certain way of doing things but he [Fernandes] is so far away, all over the world. I'm not a communicator by tweet, I'm afraid, so I was always going to be the last to know," he added.

Warnock, who spent 22 months at Loftus Road, believed he was on track to keep the club up. "The club will need restructuring over the next few years and there are a number of owners now and there's not a lot of football experience around," he said.

"When you have a run of results like we had and you're not involved in football and you get people in your ear - agents, for example - tweeting him and speaking to him and talking about players... there's some clever and manipulative people. I've no bitterness towards it. It's just how things go.

"I love this club and always will. It's been a big part of my life even though it has only been 22 months and it's been the biggest career success I have had in my life."

Warnock also went on to rue the fact he "wished [he'd] had [Hughes's] agent at times over the last few years," referring to Hughes's representative Kia Joorabchian - who also represents Rangers targets Alex of Chelsea and Manchester City's Nedum Onuoha.

"I want Mark to do well. He's got a good agent too, and between them they'll bring some good players into the club," Warnock said.

However, the Yorkshireman does not envy young bosses coming into the game and said that, from a manager's point of view, the game was no longer enjoyable because "players are the ones with all the power now".

He added: "My chairman tweets a lot and some of my players tweet and players only look after themselves so it's quite easy to start rumours with this new modern media and I don't think it helps anybody."

Warnock signed Joey Barton from Newcastle in August on a free transfer and promptly made him club captain, but the 29-year-old has been scathing about his former boss since his exit from Loftus Road, calling him "embarrassing" on Twitter and suggesting that he did not prepare the team tactically.

When asked about the influence of captain Barton on the team, Warnock would not be drawn: "I don't think I want to get into talking about Joey Barton. Joey talks about himself enough and I think we'll let Joey talk about Joey.

"I just want to talk about positive things about the club and I think there are too many positive things to talk about without going into detail on individual players."

He refused to respond to a question on Football Focus as to whether he would sign Barton again.

"He is a great player, and a great trainer, but no comment," he said.