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Aberdeen: Neil Warnock steps down as interim manager as Dons start interviews for new boss this week

Neil Warnock left his interim role at Aberdeen after 34 days; the Dons will hold interviews this week as they search for a new manager; Pittodrie club hope to make an appointment during the next international break; Warnock departs after guiding Aberdeen to Scottish Cup semi-final

Neil Warnock has left Aberdeen after his inteirm spell is over
Image: Aberdeen are searching for a new manager after Neil Warnock's interim spell ended early

Aberdeen will hold interviews with various candidates this week after finalising a shortlist of who they want to takeover the club, following Neil Warnock's exit.

The 75-year-old - who replaced Barry Robson on February 5 in a move designed to last until the end of this season - departed on Saturday after guiding the Dons to the Scottish Cup semi-finals with victory over Kilmarnock.

An appointment could be made later this month, with Neil Lennon emerging as an early contender after declaring his interest in the job.

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Aberdeen fans discuss who they would like to see appointed as the club's new manager - with Neil Lennon emerging as a contender

Following a host of interim, caretaker and permanent appointments - whoever takes over will be the eighth different person to step into the Pittodrie dugout in three years.

First-team coach Peter Leven will be in charge for Wednesday's Scottish Premiership clash at Dundee - with Aberdeen now 10th in the Scottish Premiership, just four points above the relegation play-off spot.

Chief executive Alan Burrows said: "Clearly, the number one priority is the engagement of our new first-team manager.

"The club, working with our partners, have compiled a shortlist with a combination of individuals we have identified that meet the key criteria we have agreed, and individuals that have expressed serious interest in the role.

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"We plan to conduct a number of interviews this week and, in certain cases, seek permission to do so where managers are under contract elsewhere.

"Our aim is to appoint a first team manager during the upcoming international break. In the meantime, Peter Leven will continue in interim charge, assisted by Scott Anderson and Craig Samson."

Warnock: Aberdeen need an overhaul in summer

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Neil Warnock confirms that he will step down as Aberdeen interim manager with a replacement close

Warnock said in his final post-match press conference: "I said I'd try to help them out and give them my advice. My advice is to get a new manager in as soon as possible now.

"They're well down the line and it needs an overhaul in the summer. There's no use waiting until then and they've listened to me.

"I think he needs to have a couple of months looking at the squad now in depth. Because I think to be successful - and you can be successful with the right recruitment - they need a couple of months to assess it.

"I'm glad I've been able to get the fans to the semi-final and we deserved it because we were superior in every department. It was a really good way to end.

"I'm disappointed I won't lead them out at Hampden but some lucky man will come in to do that.

"The lads know what they're doing now. I felt it was the right time. I wanted to win and finish like that."

'Who knows' - Warnock on managing again

ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - MARCH 09: Aberdeen Manager Neil Warnock celebrates at full time during a Scottish Cup Quarter Final match between Aberdeen and Kilmarnock at Pittodrie Stadium, on March 09, 2024, in Aberdeen, Scotland. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Image: Warnock's move to Aberdeen saw him take charge of his 17th professional football club

Warnock will now possibly spend time at his holiday home in Dunoon and stated he might go to watch Morton in their quarter-final against Hearts on Monday, while he promised the Aberdeen players he will go to Hampden "for the final".

But he would not rule out one last job, having come out of retirement last season to steer Huddersfield away from relegation danger.

When asked if this was the end, he said: "I've just been asked that and I said, 'look, it's the 16th time I've retired now'. I would say yes but who knows, when you get to my age you don't know what's around the corner - you just hope that you keep living."

How Warnock left Pittodrie with a win

Aberdeen beat Kilmarnock in Warnock's final match in charge of the Dons
Image: Aberdeen beat Kilmarnock in Warnock's final match in charge of the Dons

Warnock had faced questions about his future ahead of Saturday's Scottish Cup quarter-final at home to Aberdeen after failing to net a win in six league matches to leave the Dons third-bottom of the league.

It turned out his mind was made up regardless of the quarter-final outcome as he left on a high after Jamie McGrath's double saw the 75-year-old record a second win in eight matches, having overseen a win over Bonnyrigg Rose in the previous round.

McGrath hit an early opener and rounded off the scoring during a comfortable second half for the home side at Pittodrie.

Graeme Shinnie had put the Dons two ahead and Kilmarnock could not make the most of the lifeline afforded by Danny Armstrong's strike late in the first half.

Killie have taken nine points from Aberdeen this season but the Dons had not lost in 13 previous Scottish Cup meetings between the teams. The cups continue to be a bright spot in Aberdeen's difficult league campaign, with the victory sealing a third trip to Hampden so far.

Aberdeen football review results revealed

Aberdeen's match at home to Dundee is one of six off due to Storm Babet
Image: Aberdeen have been advised to appoint a new technical director following a review of the club

Aberdeen also provided an update following their recently commissioned football review - with several changes recommended.

Former Hamburger SV sporting director Bernhard Peters - who was also director of high-performance at Hoffenheim - headed the process.

In a statement, the club stated the report "validated a lot of very good policy, practice, and robust processes already in place within the club's academy and wider football department" before outlining "several key areas of opportunity":

  • Implement certain structural changes within the football set up
  • Implement new and additional policy, practices, and processes that will further strengthen all levels of player training and development, player pathway, scouting and recruitment and football performance
  • Assist in the recruitment of a new first-team manager and the addition of a new technical director to support the director of football

The Verdict: Did Warnock improve Aberdeen?

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Sky Sports News reporter Mark Benstead analyses Neil Warnock's 34-day stint at Aberdeen

Sky Sports News' Mark Benstead at Pittodrie Stadium:

"Neil Warnock's 34 days in Scottish football was certainly eventful, certainly entertaining. Look at his pre-match press conferences, they were always good value. We got tales of his trips to the supermarket bumping into Dons supporters, we got seemingly weekly mentions of his wife Sharon as well. But ultimately the results on the field just didn't come.

"Aberdeen picked up just two points in the league during his time and conceded 13 goals in the Premiership as well - and it leaves them sitting 10th in the table and out of touch it seems of a place in the top-six, post-split.

"What didn't work for him? I mentioned the defensive issues they had - he bemoaned all the mistakes they made at the back. I think if you speak to supporters they were critical of the way he spoke about players in post-match interviews. The feeling was that at times he threw them under the bus and that maybe didn't help get the squad on board.

"It seems a strange time for him to depart given the fact that they booked their place in the Scottish Cup semi-finals today with a good win against Kilmarnock and he has spoken about the fact that he never won a cup in his managerial career.

"But he says he went to the board on Thursday to tell them what he wanted to do, and urged them to get the new permanent manager in place as soon as possible to give them the chance to assess the squad properly ahead of the summer and ahead of next season.

"Peter Leven is in temporary charge at the moment. Listening to Neil Warnock though, he was stressing the fact that the club were a good way down the road towards getting a permanent manager in place. So you do feel Leven's time in charge will be brief.

"What next for Neil Warnock? Well, he says this is the 16th time that he's retired, so he's not ruling out potentially making yet another comeback. For the here and now though, he's going to head down to his place in Dunoon for a bit of R&R.

"How will we look back at his time here? I think what he did when he first came in - the enthusiasm he brought was great, it was to be applauded. But in football terms, did he improve Aberdeen? Probably not."

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