The final hours

There had been growing speculation about his future, but Neil Warnock’s sacking came as a shock to him.

On Saturday night, amid rumours that he was about to be axed, he thought he still had the full support of majority shareholder Tony Fernandes.

Warnock was believed to be on thin ice, especially after recent Twitter posts by Fernandes stating that “no-one’s job is safe” and that Saturday’s display at MK Dons left him with “lots to think about.”

“Tony wants us to be at the other end of the table, but when you watch us over the last few weeks, we haven’t done bad.”

But Warnock, who expected to sign at least two players in the coming days, felt too much had been read into Fernandes’ musings.

“I’m not really a Twitter person so I can’t comment on his comments because I’ve not seen them,” said Warnock.

“But I know what Tony’s like and it’ll be something made out of nothing, because everybody tweets him and he replies to everybody.

“I’m concerned about getting players in, and on that he has been very supportive.

“I spoke to Tony, [vice-chairman] Amit Bhatia and the rest of the owners about six weeks ago and told them exactly why we need players and where we need them.

“Nothing has changed since then. If we don’t get those players we will struggle, and he [Fernandes] understands that.

“I can only tell you he’s been 100% supportive since he’s been at the club so I can’t comment on anything other than the fact he wants us to bring players in and do well.”

Warnock was adamant that Rangers’ poor recent results were a consequence of the Fernandes-led takeover being completed shortly before the previous transfer window closed.

It was all smiles to begin with.

It gave the club limited time to do business before the deadline, although big money was spent in order to sign the likes of Joey Barton, Anton Ferdinand, Luke Young, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Armand Traore.

The ousted manager believed more spending would move Rangers up the table, and argued it was crucial that new faces arrived sooner rather than later.

He said: “This next seven days is vital because we need two or three in before the Newcastle game on Sunday – not in two or three weeks. So it’s an important time for us.

“We need a bit of luck as well – you do with transfers. We’ve got our irons in the fire, we just need to get them over the line.

“Our aim is to stay up, and to stay up we need four or five players. We knew that in the summer but couldn’t quite get them so have had to hang in there with the squad we’ve got.

“If Tony had been in charge from the end of last season, I don’t think we’d have had a problem given the targets we had.

“There were some good players that went elsewhere and that scuppered all the hard work we did in the summer, so we’ve been catching up all the time.”

And Warnock defended his side’s recent performances, which he insisted have been much better than results suggest.

“Tony wants us to be at the other end of the table, but when you watch us over the last few weeks we haven’t done bad – we’ve done pretty well really,” he said.

“We can’t have had any more knockbacks than we’ve had over the last few weeks, with the Norwich escapade, then Arsenal where we played so well.

“We also dominated at Swansea, which not many teams do. We’ve had a lot of kickbacks, so I’m so pleased with how much effort the players have put in.

“We should have beaten Man City and West Brom – and Norwich too if things hadn’t gone against us. You’ve got to keep persevering and doing our best.

“If you eliminate the elementary mistakes I think we’ve played some good football and more than held our own.  With a bit of luck we could be 10th or 11th.”

Follow West London Sport on Twitter
Find us on Facebook