Brentford chairman Matthew Benham confirmed this week that first-team manager Mark Warburton will be relieved of his duties at the end of the season. His assistant, David Weird, and sporting director Frank McParland will also be leaving Griffin Park in May.
Former Leicester City right-back Warburton ended his playing career at Boreham Wood in 1988 and moved on to a very different career as a trader. In the early 2000s, Warburton left his job and travelled around Europe to watch coaching sessions at world-class academies such as Barcelona, Ajax and Sporting Lisbon.
Warburton was appointed Academy Manager at Watford in 2006 following a spell as coach of the Under-9 to Under-16 teams. He left Watford in 2010 following a year as Assistant Academy Manager at Under-17 to Under-19 level.
Soon after, Warburton was appointed sporting director of Brentford FC, and it was around this time that his company, Cycad Sports Management, launched the Under-19 NextGen Series.
The series only lasted for two seasons due to funding issues and the emergence of the UEFA Youth League. However, the NextGen Series featured teams such as Barcelona, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Ajax to name a few.
In December of 2013, Warburton was appointed manager of Brentford after turning down the opportunity to accompany Brenford's previous manager, Uwe Rosler, to Wigan Athletic.
On 18 April 2014, the Bees were promoted to the Championship, as runners-up of League One, with three games to spare. As I write, the team currently sit one point outside the Championship play-off places.
What next for Warburton?
So what's next for Mark Warburton? The London Evening Standard are reporting that Queens Park Rangers and Fulham are interested in acquiring the 52-year-old's services.
Both of the clubs have managers on contract until the end of this season - Chris Ramsay and Kit Symons respectively.
However, Warburton could decide to step away from management and help a club's youth development program with his extensive contacts, knowledge and faith in English youth football.
His decision to start up the NextGen series, combined with the faith he showed in young players at Brentford, including Jon Toral, Alex Pritchard and Joao Teixeira on loan from Premier League clubs, confirms this.
Warburton would make a fantastic academy director for any category one club (or even any European club) in need.
Where will Warburton end up next? Have your say in the comments below!
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