Preston North End’s ‘advisor to the owner’ Peter Ridsdale thinks that Alex Neil will have no problems finding a new job very quickly following his departure from Deepdale today.
Neil’s time at the Lancashire club has ended after nearly four years after three straight losses – results which have left North End in 16th position and nine points off the relegation zone of the Championship.
The Scot had guided North End to within a few points of the play-off places in his first season at Deepdale in 2017/18, but two mid-table finishes followed although for a part of this season it looked as though North End could genuinely push for the top six.
But results collapsed in 2021 with North End losing nine league games and they are now looking over their shoulders, with a few more wins needed to guarantee survival and it will be Neil’s former assistant Frankie McAvoy who will be handed that task, with the 53-year-old not following Neil out of the door.
Ridsdale, who is employed directly by PNE owner Trevor Hemmings as his advisor, has praised Neil for the work he has done at Deepdale before things soured and believes he will be back in football very soon.
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“I have always believed in football never make key decisions after a match, it is too emotional,” Ridsdale said, per the Lancashire Post.
“It is best to sleep on it, have a reasoned discussion and think things through.
“I think Alex Neil did very well for us, he has pushed us on as a club.
“I’ve enjoyed working with him, he is a consummate professional and the hardest working manager I have worked with.
“I really do wish Alex and his family the very best and I think he will be back in football quickly.”
Ridsdale is probably not wrong – Neil will have absolutely no issues in getting another managerial role with a Premier League promotion on his CV and with the initial work he did with PNE.
He had North End within a whisker of the top six in his first season and then finished ninth two seasons later – despite the Lilywhites not having the biggest of budgets.
Some of his tactical decisions towards the end asked questions of him, but with a big change in personnel in January it was never going to be easy, especially when key players were sold.
But sometimes a managerial reign just runs its natural course, and it feels as though that is the case with Neil and North End.