Neil Warnock had a dream debut as Cardiff City manager, leading his side to a 2-1 victory over Bristol City.
The Severnside Derby is always a tense affair, but Warnock managed to stamp his authority on the match in the early days of his Cardiff City reign.
Goals from Sol Bamba and the late Peter Whittingham steered the Bluebirds to victory, beginning Warnock’s tenure that saw Cardiff reach the lofty heights of the Premier League.
While he tenure ended with near back-to-back relegations from the Premier League to League 1, Neil Warnock remains a legend at the Cardiff City Stadium, and is revered by the Bluebirds’ fans.
Neil Warnock now manages his hometown club Huddersfield Town, and is one of the oldest professional managers in the world today.
Let’s take a look at the players who featured in Warnock’s debut match as Cardiff City coach, and where they are now.
Ben Amos – GKEmbed from Getty Images
The former Manchester United keeper only played 16 times on loan at Cardiff City in 2016/17, going back to Bolton after losing his place to Allan McGregor.
He moved around clubs for years, until settling in as the number one keeper at Wigan Athletic, in League One.
Lee Peltier – RBEmbed from Getty Images
Lee Peltier started Neil Warnock’s debut match for Cardiff, and started many games under the manager during his tenure.
He left for West Brom in 2020, and now plays for Rotherham in the Championship. He scored his first goal for a decade in 2-1 defeat to Reading F.C.
Steve Morison – CBEmbed from Getty Images
The former City captain was released by the club in January 2023, following an ACL at the end of the previous season.
This ended a 9-year stint with Cardiff City, which saw him play nearly 300 matches for the club, captaining them in both the Championship and the Premier League.
Sol Bamba – CBEmbed from Getty Images
Signed by Neil Warnock just days before the manager’s Cardiff debut, Sol Bamba immediately slotted in beside Sean Morrison at the heart of defense.
After starring for Cardiff as they won promotion to the Premier League, Bamba left the club following an ACL tear in 2020. He joined Middlesbrough, but later returned to Cardiff City as Assistant Manager, following retirement.
In 2021, he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and began undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Four months later in May 2021, he announced that he was cancer-free
Joe Bennett – LBEmbed from Getty Images
The third of four players whose Cardiff City careers ended due to an ACL Tear, Joe Bennett will go down as one of Cardiff City’s best players of the 21st century.
He left Cardiff in 2021, and is currently a free agent. Joe Bennett most recently played for Wigan Athletic, but is currently without a club.
Joe Ralls – CMEmbed from Getty Images
Joe Ralls is the only player from Neil Warnock’s managerial debut to still play for Cardiff City.
The 29-year-old has played over 300 games for Cardiff City, and recently signed a multi-year contract extension to hopefully end his career with the Bluebirds.
Aron Gunarsson – CMEmbed from Getty Images
The former Iceland and Cardiff City Captain was known for his consistent performances in the middle of the park, as well as his incredible long throw-in ability.
Gunarsson left Cardiff City in 2019, joining Qatari club Al-Arabi SC in a move that wildly raised his salary to much higher than Warnock’s side could pay.
His contract with Al-Arabi expired in June 2023, and he is currently a free agent.
Craige Noone – RWEmbed from Getty Images
Scottish winger Craige Noone played in Neil Warnock’s first Cardiff City match, but left the club just one season later.
Noone moved to Bolton Wanderers after his release, before moving to Australia to play for Melbourne Victory. He now plays for Macarthur FC, in Sydney.
Peter Whittingham – CAMEmbed from Getty Images
Peter Whittingham played 457 matches for Cardiff City, in a glittering career that made him a legend at the club.
He spent one season at Blackburn Rovers before retiring, ending a career as one of the Football League’s all-time great players.
Tragically, Whittingham passed away on 18th March 2020 after suffering an injury in a pub in Barry, watching a Six Nations Rugby game.
Tributes poured in from teammates and fans alike, with teammate Michael Chopra proclaiming him as “Cardiff’s greatest ever player”.
After the release of Leandro Bacuna, Cardiff City retired the number 7 jersey, in honour of Peter Whittingham.
Junior Hoilett – LWEmbed from Getty Images
After leaving Cardiff City in 2021, Junior Hoilett joined Reading and began playing as a wing-back.
He provided an assist for Andy Carroll against Manchester United in the FA Cup, earning a contract extension by the club for 2023.
Rickie Lambert – STEmbed from Getty Images
Former Southampton and Liverpool striker Rickie Lambert had a disappointing spell with Cardiff, and did not last long once Neil Warnock took over.
Lambert’s contract with the club was cancelled in June 2017, owing to his high wages and poor performances.
He failed to find a new club after his Cardiff City release, and Rickie Lambert promptly retired from football.