New Cardiff City manager Neil Harris addressed the media for the first time this morning at Hensol Castle and discussed everything from the Academy to the potential playing styles we’re likely to see. Harris, who resigned as Millwall manager in October 2019, was the early frontrunner for the man to replace Warnock – who’s time at Cardiff had to come to an end.
His announcement as manager was met with waves of uncertainty from Cardiff fans, who longed for a manager with a more attacking style of football. But Harris has a wealth of Championship experience, both as a player and a manager at Millwall, where he has spent the last 2 years.
Throughout the press conference, Harris’ determination and drive was clear to see.
Speaking to the media, Harris was evidently excited to get started at the club.
“It’s a privilege to be here, what a great opportunity. I left Millwall 7 weeks ago. I’ve had a good rest, to be honest, I’ve recharged my batteries, and this is a wonderful job to come into, following Neil, who’s done a fantastic job here over the last three years. It’s a challenge, obviously, following in his footsteps, but I’ve got a wonderful group of players, who have achieved individually and collectively, that I can put my own stamp on, and it’s certainly a privilege and honour to manage this football club.”
There are similarities between Harris and Warnock in terms of play style, but the new manager wants to make sure he makes the team his own, but acknowledges it will be a slow process.
“Off the field I manage with humility, to help manage the players. On the pitch, I want to be a manager just like I was a player, wholehearted, aggressive in attitude. I certainly want to play on the front foot, but a mix between passing the ball and getting the ball forward at the right times is ultimately the aim. It wont be a revolution overnight, certainly not. We have to build these things, I want to put my own stamp on things.”
Since being announced as manager on Saturday, many fans have taken to social media to say how underwhelmed they are at the appointment, but this is something Harris partly understands:
🗣 "I'll always do what I feel is best for #CardiffCity.
"I played at Ninian Park… And they want to see their players have a go." 💙
— Cardiff City FC (@CardiffCityFC) November 18, 2019
“I know that’s football, I’m a huge football fan myself, everyone wants a big name who’s won the World Cup, or the Premier League and I understand that. I come from a club that’s at a slightly different level to the one Cardiff is at. I have to win people over, and I’m prepared to do that. What won’t change is my mentality or my work ethic, the fact that I’ll always do what I feel is best for Cardiff. I’ve played at Ninian Park, and against a lot of Cardiff teams, they want to see their players have a go, and I can promise them that we won’t fall short of competing and trying our best.”
Of course Harris spent a brief spell at Cardiff as a player, but he admitted he always knew he would come back to the Welsh capital.
“I had a wonderful time down here, and I played with some wonderful people – [former captain] Kav and Peter Thorne, I made a family decision at the time not to stay, and its one of the only things in my football career that I regret. I was only here a month and the fans were brilliant, I wasn’t always the best player but I played with heart and passion and my management will be the same.
“It’s a wonderful club. When I left a long time ago, I knew I had unfinished business. Every time I’ve played against Cardiff City there was passion at games, and that’s me, I’m a passionate guy.”
Another question is the now uncertain future of players like Vaulks, Madine, Tomlin, Paterson, Glatzel and even Bobby Reid. The boss had this message for them.
“It’s a fresh chance for everybody. Ultimately, I want to work with everybody who wants to be here and wants to follow me and my ideas. It’s going to take time, but we want to hit the ground running straight away. Anybody who proves they want to be in the team and deserves to stay in the team, not just because they played the last 10 games or because they played well last season. There has to be an element for players who haven’t been as involved as much, it’s a new start for them as well to have a go. Earn your right to be in the team, earn the right by training well and being good pro’s. But ultimately results and performances will dictate team selection.”
Harris will meet the team and the staff today, and will surely have his eyes fixed on his first game as Cardiff City manager against Charlton this Saturday. Neil Harris seems extremely excited to be City manager, and is keen to relight the Academy which has arguably dwindled over the last few years, but also wants to ensure that hunger, grit, and passion we saw under Warnock is returned to the squad.