I have to come up with anotherbig team talk today. We are playing Manchester City, probably the biggest mismatch in football – little Blackpool against all those millionaires.
If it was a boxing match, they would be giants and we'd be tiny people swinging and punching at their ankles. Hopefully we'll be able to leap up and occasionally smash them in the face but it won't be easy.
Then again Liverpool were expected to beat us and we won there so why not pull off another shock? A few of the players have mentioned my team talk before the Liverpool game. Ian Evatt, our big centre-half, said it made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. Good. That's what I'm after, and it obviously had the right effect.
I'm not going to tell you what I said because it is between me and my players but getting the team talk right can be vital.
The best I ever heard as a player was from Gerry Francis at QPR. He wasn't happy with us because we had forgotten what he had asked us to do as a group. He went round every one of us in the dressing room and asked what we were doing before we came to his club. People were mumbling things like "erm, I was at Brentford and it wasn't going well". He said, "Right, well shut up then." He then looked at all of us and said he wasn't trying to be clever but that we all had to learn together.He said his last gig hadn't gone too well either, he'd been sacked by Exeter. But the fact he came out with all this, and the way he said it, galvanised us and improved our game.
I think you play more for a manager you respect because you realise you are in it together. I hope my players realise that because we need togetherness more than anyone else. I'm just glad I can give a team talk. I am serving a one-match touchline ban after being found guilty of improper conduct. Thankfully I can go in the dressing room before the game, at half-time and afterwards, I just can't go anywhere near the touchline, so I'll have to watch it from the directors' box, which I hate doing. At my hearing in London on Monday I got told I broke rule E3 apparently, for some comments I made to the ref after our game with Blackburn. As well as the ban I got hit with a £9,500 fine, which is a lot of money.
But I have to swallow the medicine and get on with it. I know the rules and good God I'm a 47-year-old man so I should be able to keep my temper when I don't get what I want
But unfortunately I am still very childish – I blame my mum, she must have spoilt me as a kid! – and I've got to change. My wife Kim isn't very happy with me and I can understand that. It is incredibly hard not to lose your rag sometimes when you don't get what you want. I've been like that all my life. When I don't get what I want, I'm not very nice.
Some people call it small-man syndrome. Perhaps that is true. I'm a Jack Russell but I think I'm a Rott-weiler. I'm a little bloke with a lot to say. Sometimes I forget what I'm saying and to who, and the fact is we use industrial language in this business. I'm not proud of it but that's the way it is. Maybe I'm going to have to learn to change but it's not easy when you can't believe what you're seeing – and believe me that has happened a few times this season.
Is the odd swear word from myself really a crime when we have got things like simulation going on in the game? Apparently it is and so I have to learn how to behave.
I wouldn't want Mancini's job
Would I want to manage Manchester City? No, I am happy where I am. It is all right having loads of money but it doesn't mean you will be successful, and all the money they are spending means there is massive pressure on Roberto Mancini. If he leaves one of his big stars out and they don't like it and the team get a bad result, that star might mouth off and become bigger than him. But Mr Mancini wanted that challenge. He took the job and he knows the price to be paid if he isn't successful.
I respect him for what he has won in Italy and he has already proved he is a really good manager. I respect him for taking the City job and accepting the challenge but I wouldn'twant his job because I understand what it comes with.
What City can't buy is history. They have to deal with a new way of life and both the players and the fans have to deal with a new set of expectations.
The fans now want to beat Manchester United as soon as they can. They are almost expecting it. That brings pressure, and all that pressure has to go somewhere. It's a great story for us all to watch but who knows how it will turn out?
I'm just glad I'm not in Mr Mancini's shoes... although he has got a cracking pair. He has to be the trendiest manager in the game by a mile!
England were so boring that I went on eBay to buy a table!
I do not like saying this but the truth is I was so bored watching the England game the other night I went on ebay to buy a table.
I've not lost interest in the national team but it is so poor atthe moment. What I saw against Montenegro wasn't enjoyable at all.
I had to go on the computer to get away from it because if I hadn't, I would have got angry with what I was witnessing. I didn't like how we were playing and wondered why we weren't doing certain things. We looked very bitty and not a unit. To break anybody down you have to move and I was gutted with the lack of movement.
I was a midfielder and even I know you have to pass and move. I didn't see that from our midfield. It was a bad performance all round.
Bobby Gould has an autobiography out and I get a few mentions. He was one of the first managers I had at Bristol Rovers and he was great.
I probably owe him an apology because I was trying to get in the team and was a frustrated young fella so I must have been an absolute nightmare to manage. He was probably the most enthusiastic man I've ever seen in my life. I remember it snowing really heavily once and he walked in. It was a 10-mile walk and when he arrived he had a big pile of snow on his head.
Only four of us got in, and he was fuming that people were beeping him and yet no one stopped to pick him up. We were saying, "Why didn't you bring the car?" He said he couldn't get off the drive, so him being him he walked in. And when he got in he just said, "You can all go home because we can't do anything today." And I said, "Well why did you bother to walk in?!"
I'll never forget Gouldy screaming at Gary Penrice, who had come from non-League, saying: "You're going to run round this pitch, you're going to do it in 60 seconds and I don't care how long it takes." Penny kept swearing at him and telling him where to go. So in the end Gouldy was running round with him and as he got across the line he went "59... 60". We all knew it was nowhere near that time but he couldn't be seen to lose. That was just him.
We didn't have pre-match meals because we were skint but he never moaned. We all knew we were Rag Arse Rovers but we got on with it.
Even now he is the only person I know who calls me "Hollie". He used to get everybody's name wrong and I'm not sure he didn't do it deliberately.
Gouldy had to put up with my attitude, moaning about life being unfair. He must have despised me at the time, thinking about it. But it was all part of my learning curve and I'd like to thank him because he was a fantastic fella. He's grey as a badger now, and that is down to managing the likes of myself.Reuse content