I have never been so disgusted at the scenes I have had to watch on TV as in the last week. Kids smashing up shops, nicking whatever they can. Society has a problem, and football has a part to play in sortingit out.
It is well documented how much money players are earning. They take home a wage the average man on the street cannot begin to comprehend. So when you consistently get footballers in the tabloids for all the wrong reasons and kids see their idols behaving in a certain way, it has an effect.
People within football need to be good role models and, in fairness, most of them are. You won't find a better one than Paul Scholes, who went through his whole career without even a whiff of an off-the-field issue. Wherever footballers go, they need to act in a proper manner and send out a message to young people: "That's how you behave."
I accept it is more difficult in this ridiculous era when the world has been taken over by social networking sites. Blimey, everyone has a camera in their hand, because even phones can take pictures.
So what these players have got to realise is that they are in the limelight 24/7, and they have to behave in the right way all the time. People look up to players. We hold the dreams of so many in our hands so we have to lead and set an example. But we haven't been doing so for years and it is driving me crazy.
The media don't help, though. Why the hell do we need 24-hour coverage of the riots, showing the same clips on repeat, time and time again? If the TV cameras weren't there and we didn't know about it I don't think the rioting would have sparked up anywhere else.
When I was growing up there was the news at 6pm or 10pm. If you missed it, tough. Now you can watch it all the time. It makes it easy for the criminals to plan. They know where the police are, so they go somewhere else!
The media is more intense. Look at Amy Winehouse. When she started having problems, what happened? They highlighted it. It was the same with Princess Di. The paparazzi chased her and they had a crash. For God's sake, why? I didn'twant to know what she was doing at that minute of the night.
At the end of the day, though, it comes down to individuals taking responsibility. That's how my mum and dad brought me up and if I had ever done wrong, they'd have dragged me down to the police station themselves.
No one should disrespect the law because without the law there is nothing. Without discipline there is nothing. I try to do my bit at Blackpool. I demand my players behave. After we had been away to Portugal in pre-season, the hotel sent a letter thanking us for the behaviour of my players. That's pleasing, but it shouldn't even be in question. My lads know that if they don't behave, they won't be here. I don't care what sort of footballer they are, or how good they are, they'll be gone.
When we came back from Portugal and I gave the squad a day off, one of them went on Twitter at twenty past three in the morning, like a complete lunatic, saying, "Wow, what a town Blackpool is." I dealt with that and he now knows what I expect.
He took responsibility for his actions, and if more people in this country did the same – and I include politicians and bankers, as well as the kids – then we wouldn't have half the problems we have.
Early workload is too much
How on earth can you expect playerswho have just returned from their summer holidays to play 120 minutes of football?
My Blackpool lads were out on their feet the other night after our Carling Cup tie at Sheffield Wednesday went to extra time. A load of other teams were in the same boat and in my opinion it is dangerous and shouldn't be allowed to happen.
If I was in charge I would scrap extra time in the League Cup.
It's the second game of the season. We've only just finished pre-season, when everybody makes 11 subs at half-time, so the lads are barely ready to play 90 minutes, never mind 120. If you run a racehorse in his second race of the season, it would be stupid to say: "Well, it was a draw so can you carry on running?"
I don't mind penalties – and well done to Wednesday for keeping their cool and taking their spot kicks nervelessly – but just cut out the extra time.
Don't get me wrong, by the way – I love the League Cup. But it needs modernising. And while we're about it, the suits in charge also need to look at admission prices. I found it embarrassing at Hillsborough. Three sides of the ground were empty and it felt like a reserves game. Fans have to shell out so much money throughout the season, so why not bring the prices right down for the League Cup? It might give the competition a bit of a shot in the arm as well.
Small is beautiful at Blackpool
Keep your fingers crossed for my lads today – we play Peterborough in our first home game of the season.
I was quite amused, watching some presenter on a football show during the week talk about how the teams who were relegated from the Premier League last season had made a bad start. Yet we won at Hull. He was obviously on about Birmingham and West Ham, because he saw them as bigger clubs.
But that doesn't bother me. Let people still think we're a little club. I'd prefer to creep under the radar and hopefully give everyone a shock again come May.
Best of luck to promoted managers – believe me, they'll need it
I can imagine how excited Brendan Rodgers, Neil Warnock and Paul Lambert are about the season ahead in the top flight. All I've got to say to them is all the best and I hope it goes well for you – but good luck, too, because you will definitely need it. Their clubs – Swansea, QPR and Norwich – will not be set up properly because they won't have had time to do it yet. You are literally on a wing and a prayer.
I hope their players respond the way my Blackpool lads did this time last year. I hope they believe in what they are doing and go out there determined to pass the ball and keep hold of it.
It is really important you hit the ground running because the sides they will be up against hit you in all sorts of manners, they throw punches from different angles and it is unbelievably tough.
As a promoted side, you need to grab at people in the summer transfer market and hope the deals come off. And if you get to Christmas, just remember that wherever you are in the table, however well or however badly things are going, it doesn't matter because it is the run-in that counts.
Basically, you have to scrap and fight and do whatever you can to stay up in the first season, and then get your hands on that next bit of money which arrives at the end of it. But then the second season will be even harder. That's when most clubs go down, if they haven't been relegated first time round.
If you can get through three years, like Stoke have, then you will have enough money, confidence and time to strengthen. Then you will be adding some top-quality players because the money and your pay structure will have gone up gradually.
But that is a distant pipe dream for Swansea, QPR and Norwich at the moment.They have to take a ginormous step and hope that, unlike us, they make it without falling. But I wish them well and I will be watching their progress with interest.
If anyone knows how hard it's going to be, it's me.Reuse content