I’m not saying that he would have necessarily been the right choice and I’m not saying Steve McClaren is the wrong option, but I’m still surprised that there haven’t been at least a few mentions of whether Mark Warburton would/could have been an ideal choice for Newcastle.
I have to say that I think it is a bit of a coup for Rangers, getting somebody like Mark Warburton to come to Rangers considering what he’s achieved in a very short time as a manager – as well as his very interesting career path before that.
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Taking his management era first, Warburton eventually got his first chance at management at the not so youthful age of 51 in December 2013.
Uwe Rosler jumped ship to Wigan in the Championship and Mark Warburton accepted a contract as League One Brentford’s manager until the end of the 2013/14 season. The new boss comfortably guiding them into the Championship at the first time of asking.
Last season, he once again did a remarkable job despite shenanigans behind the scenes as the season progressed. Warburton had the team competitive all season and they eventually finished in fifth spot with a place in the play-offs, incidentally three spots higher than Steve McClaren’s Derby County.
Middlesbrough brought an end to their dream of successive promotions and a place in the Premier League but already Mark Warburton had announced that he wouldn’t be staying for another season of his one year rolling contract.
Brentford’s owner had decided to use ‘Mathematical Modelling’ based on statistics to make decisions on recruitment rather than the manager having the final say on transfers, with even rumours that choosing the team each week would see statistics take precedence.
Moving backwards in Mark Warburton’s career, he moved over from the post of Sporting Director (Director of Football) to take the manager’s job at Brentford, that newly created role in Summer 2011 saw Warburton become the first incumbent in a club restructuring.
In that role he dealt with agents, club finances and contracts, in addition to scouting young players and recommending them to the management.
Talking about his job, Mark Warburton at the time said that the much maligned Sporting Director (Director of Football) role can work in English football. Commenting that he would ‘row every other day’ with manager Uwe Rösler but that the pair never fell out and the manager had the final say on team selection and signings.
If you then go way back you would find that as a player, Mark Warburton played non-league football and then a bit in America before a cruciate injury finished his playing days.
Ending up as a successful City trader at the London Stock Exchange, Warburton made his fortune away from football, though he did some coaching part-time. Just after the turn of the century he made the remarkable move of packing in his Trading career and being financially secure, he told his wife he was going to give it ten years to see what he could achieve in football.
Financing himself, Mark Warburton travelled around Europe watching coaching sessions at clubs which included Sporting Lisbon, Barcelona, Valencia and Ajax. He then took on a number of coaching roles at Watford before eventually deciding to leave, saying later that he had been treated badly.
Already having a business relationship with Brentford’s owner, he was later offered the first team coaching job after a new manager was appointed in February 2011 and performed that role before being appointed Sporting Director that summer.
An unorthodox path to becoming a manager towards the upper end of English football, I know Rangers aren’t a typical Scottish second tier club but I still can’t help but think that they have done very well to persuade Mark Warburton to take the job, taking Rangers legend David Weir with him as his assistant.
Obviously he has only enjoyed a short, albeit successful, career so far in club management but I will be definitely keeping an eye on how Mark Warburton performs at Rangers.
He is obviously intelligent and talented, with plenty of initiative, plus likes his team to play technical free-flowing football.
Like every other prospective manager, you only really find out once they are given the chance and Newcastle are getting a manager/head coach who has managed the national team and won trophies both at home and abroad in club football.
Mike Ashley is ever the maverick and you could have imagined him taking on a manager with as short a career history as Mark Warburton, but I have a feeling that even if he had considered him then he would have written him off as somebody who seemingly has far too strong a character.
Something emphasised by not willing to accept what was happening at Brentford in terms of undermining the management role, plus of course the fact he had the strength of character to give up a successful career as a City Trader to pursue his football dream.
It would make some film if he does go on to ever greater things.