Preston North End’s Alex Neil moving up the list of longest-serving managers

Preston manager Alex Neil during the victory over Blackburn at Deepdale
Preston manager Alex Neil during the victory over Blackburn at Deepdale

Alex Neil has been in post at Preston North End less than two-and-a-half years but he is now the 24th longest-serving manager in England’s top four divisions.

There was a shift at the top of that table this week when Jim Bentley quit Morecambe to take the AFC Fylde job.

He had been in charge of the Shrimps for eight-and-a-half years.

Replacing Bentley as the longest-serving manager is Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth – the former North End winger.

Ainsworth took the Chairboys job seven years ago and was recently linked with the vacancies at Sunderland and Millwall.

Neil took office at Deepdale in July 2017, replacing Simon Grayson who quit to take the Sunderland job – which proved to be a short-lived appointment.

The Scotsman is the fifth longest-serving manager in the Championship, with Lee Johnson, Neil Warnock, Tony Mowbray and Paul Cook in front of him.

Bristol City boss Johnson has been at Ashton Gate more than three-and-a-half years.

Warnock celebrated three years in charge of Cardiff City earlier this month. Blackburn boss Mowbray, who saw his Rovers side lose 3-2 at Deepdale on Saturday, took over at Ewood Park in February 2017.

Cook’s tenure at Wigan is a month longer than that of Neil at North End.

In terms of longevity, three Premier League managers come next after Ainsworth’s long service at Wycombe.

Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe is second in the list, with him having hit the seven-year mark earlier this month.

Sean Dyche has bossed Burnley for seven years, with Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino next with more than five years’ service. They are followed by John Coleman at Accrington, then comes Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.

North End’s victory over Blackburn was the 116th game in charge for Neil.

He has overseen 46 wins, 35 draws and 35 defeats in all competitions.

Previously, Neil had 108 games in charge at Norwich and 77 at Hamilton.

In his first campaign at the helm, PNE finished seventh in the Championship.

Last season they slid out of play-off contention to end in a disappointing 14th place.

North End have made a strong start to the 2019/20 campaign, heading into this weekend’s round of matches in second place. They face Charlton on Sunday.