In 1968, after retiring, Neal was appointed manager of Wrexham, leading the club into the quarter-finals of the Cup Winners' Cup in 1972 following a Welsh Cup triumph. Two years later, Neal also took the club to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. He later succeeded Jack Charlton at Middlesbrough but left after a disagreement with the board over transfer policy.
Upon returning to the top tier, the club consolidated its position under Neal and for a time were challenging for a place in Europe (though the events at Heysel that season would have rendered European qualification immaterial anyway). Having finished a nonetheless impressive 6th, Neal retired at the end of the season due to ill-health and underwent heart surgery in 1986. He now lives in Wrexham North Wales .