Neil Warnock and Mick McCarthy: 40-year friendship does not dampen rivalry

Neil Warnock and Mick McCarthy
Neil Warnock and Mick McCarthy question a decision in a game between Sunderland and Sheffield United in 2005

Cardiff City boss Neil Warnock has been friends with Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy for over 40 years, but insists that does not dampen their rivalry.

The pair were players together at Barnsley in the 1970s, with McCarthy serving as Warnock's apprentice.

Warnock's Bluebirds face McCarthy's Ipswich Town on Saturday hoping to end a four-game winless run.

"He's like me and doesn't worry about the sack, and if he left tomorrow he'd get a job the next week," Warnock said.

He continued: "And so would I."

40-years and 2,253 games in management have passed since McCarthy and Warnock's apprenticeship days, with the pair managing 17 clubs between them.

Warnock remembers McCarthy as an imposing figure, even as a teenager.

"I was about 25 when I met him, he was younger [McCarthy is ten-years Warnock's junior], and an apprentice," he recalled.

"He was the biggest 16 year old ever, I think he was shaving at 12, he is a tough nut but is also a great guy.

"We've had ups and downs in our careers, we've been at clubs and it's been like I've always said - be careful what you wish for - and Mick's been the same but come through it.

"We've had some good battles over the years. He's got a bit to do to catch me yet. I remember him cleaning my boots, I bring it up every time I see him."

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McCarthy has respect for Warnock

'He is like Wenger'

McCarthy has been speaking this week about apparent pressure on his position at Portman Road, but Warnock thinks he is merely a victim of his own longevity.

"He's a bit like Wenger, fans having a go at regular times, but Mick just doesn't worry. We are passed that aren't we?" he added.

Warnock says he feels sorry for other managers in the Championship who are less secure in their positions, with 14 bosses from that division having lost their job this season alone.

Neil Warnock and Mick McCarthy
Neil Warnock (left) and Mick McCarthy (right) pose for the Barnsley squad photo for the 1977-78 season

"The Championship has had 14 managers sacked, dear me, how can you talk about building a project," Warnock said. "You just hope you can do well.

"We want to do well next season, but you don't know in this game. We could be at the bottom end and sacked by Christmas, nothing is guaranteed, but as you get older you don't feel the pressure as much.

"You enjoy it more. Young managers have two or three games rather than two or three years. It's frightening for up and coming managers."

Money matters

Warnock thinks that the huge financial incentives on offer for promotion to the Premier League lead to a lack of patience in board rooms.

"I think it's about the money, especially the Championship. It was £100m when I last went up but I think it's more than that now and all the foreign owners have come in for that carrot of the Premier League," he explained.

"The clubs coming down the parachute payments they get will be phenomenal but that won't worry us, we've got bricks in place, we're looking for the icing on the cake.

"Although clubs come down they have the money, they lose two or three better players because they want to be in the Premier League. It won't be plain sailing for them."

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